Just four years ago, the 2003 FA Cup finalists were thrust into administration and teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
In came the late Markus Liebherr to save the club and set off an incredible rise from the third tier to the Premier League.
Saints, unbeaten in their second season back in the top flight, have lofty ambitions and Europe has been mentioned as a goal for the not so distant future.
Such plans formed part of the exciting project sold to Fonte when he dropped down from Championship side Crystal Palace to join Saints in January 2010.
"This was 100 per cent what I was promised," he told Press Association Sport.
"I stepped down from the Championship, where I had offers from other clubs and there were rumours of something else.
"When I came here, it was always with the thought of playing in the Premier League.
"The chairman had a vision, had the resources and the ambition and it was an easy decision for me to come here.
"I am just pleased that I managed to step my game up a little bit. I feel comfortable now and I am just happy to be part of this club, this team and I hope we can keep moving forward.
"This has been a great story and it is not over. We need to keep going higher and higher and that is what the manager and chairman are looking for.
"I am pleased to be part of this group and I hope we can keep moving forward."
There are banners around St Mary's saying 'It's happening' and 'Our dream is real', pointing to big plans reflected in the big-money summer acquisitions of Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama and Dani Osvaldo.
"Three signings costing 30-something million pounds," Fonte said with a smile. "Great, quality players.
"For us players that have made the transition from League One, it is good for us because they make us work harder, make us improve as players, as a team.
"It is a pleasure to be part of this club, to share a dressing room with those players.
"We have a great team spirit, the club is fantastic with the resources we have. The training ground is being built.
"Everything is in place for us to be successful and we need to do the job on the pitch."
As well as success in the league, Saints are hoping to impress in the cup competitions.
Having seen Swansea and Wigan triumph last term, Mauricio Pochettino's side will look to follow in those footsteps when their Capital One Cup campaign kicks off at Barnsley tomorrow.
"Last time we were there we won 1-0, a good memory," Fonte said.
"I know it is a hard, hard ground. I played there many times. I know it is going to be hard but we need to go there with the mentality of winning because we want to have a go in the cups as well.
"We want to win every game we are involved in because we have the team for that.
"We have 23, 24 excellent players so the manager will pick a strong team and we will go there to win."
- Sports & Recreation