The late Saints stalwart Bryn Elliott was once asked who was the trickiest opponent he had faced. His answer was simple as it was understandable - a gunman.

His playing days over, he and his wife Sheila ran an off-licence in Waterloo Road, Southampton, where he was targeted in 1958. It was not the only time he was faced with violence, knife-wielding thugs confronted him in 1991 and masked intruders threatened him a year later.

"I think the best thing I can do is to get a rottweiler but I don't like dogs," he admitted, following the last episode. "We've been here 36 years and it's the third time. If you look at it like that, it's not so bad. If it's every 12 years, I'll be retired by the next one!"

Dorset Echo: Brynn Elliott of Saints.

The midfield maestro was an inspired purchase by Saints manager Sid Cann. Joining the club in 1949 from Nottingham Forest for what now seems an absurd £1,000, the half-back made more than 200 appearances for Southampton before moving on a part-time basis to Poole where he retired.

By then, the couple had opened their Freemantle, Southampton, business. However, within months, he was menaced by a teenage gunman demanding the contents of the till as Elliott stood behind the counter. He took no chance and handed over a handful of notes to the thug who began backing towards the door.

"I was thinking of ringing the police and moved towards the telephone on a shelf on the other side of the shop, but he unexpectedly came back and told me to pull the wires out.' Let me see the ends,' he shouted. Elliott calmly obliged.

"Don't you move," he again barked. "I've got the boys outside' He then turned and ran off."

Of his terrifying ordeal, he observed: "When someone points a gun in your face, your first reaction is shock. Then you start worrying about what he's going to do with it."

Dorset Echo: Ex-Saints player Mr Bryn Elliott and his wife Mrs Sheila Elliott enjoy their Diamond wedding

But Elliott saw the funny side of it when he turned up for training the following day after the drama had made headlines news in the Echo. "I got trainer Jimmy Gallagher to tie a bandage around my head to wind the other players up!"

Being held-up, he declared, was an occupational hazard, as he was twice more to discover.

On the first occasion, two masked men burst into his shot as the then 66-year-old emerged from his lounge behind the shop. One, knife in hand, leapt the counter and made a demand which he couldn't comprehend because of the stocking mask he was wearing.

Dorset Echo: Ex-Saints player Mr Bryn Elliott and his wife Mrs Sheila Elliott enjoy their Diamond wedding

Though an accomplice stood by the door, he remained remarkably cool by shutting and locking it! The stunned pair however grabbed the till and bolted, threatening passers-by, before getting into a dark saloon car which was driven off at speed.

Police commended his extraordinary bravery but Elliott regarded the episode as "a fact of life. I just don't know what made me react in the way I did. It's just one of those things."

Dorset Echo: Ex-Saints player Mr Bryn Elliott and his wife Sheila enjoying their Diamond wedding celebrations in

In 1993, after 37 years of ownership, they passed the business on to their daughter and son-in-law but six years later they put it on the market.

Elliott, who continued playing golf at Stoneham into his nineties, died in 2019, aged 93.