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!”

Daily 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.”

Daily 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.

Daily 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.”

Daily 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.