IT appears to have started as a tongue-in-cheek prank.
But builders who hid a Pompey shirt at Saints’ training ground are understood to have lost their jobs.
It comes after footage appeared online of workers at the club’s Staplewood development sealing over a Pompey shirt and scarf into a wall partition.
The 47-second video starts with a man panning a camera across the pitch at the training ground.
It turns to the balcony area of a building under construction where a colleague is standing by a wall partition.
Beneath some foam a Pompey shirt is revealed. The cameraman says: ‘Oh look what we have gone and planted inside the wall.
‘It’s a bit dirty because I used to use it for work. A nice little surprise.
‘Hide it behind the insulation and board that wall up.’
The worker gives the thumbs-up sign to the cameraman.
The footage was uploaded to YouTube before it was removed by the person who originally posted it to the site.
The Leadbitter Group, which was appointed to carry out the Staplewood redevelopment, sub-contracted a firm to carry out the dry-lining work.
David Cook, regional director of the Leadbitter Group, stressed the workers were employed by the sub-contractors – not by the Leadbitter Group.
He said the builders’ behaviour was ‘unacceptable’. He said it was understood they had been disciplined by their employer and ‘basically sacked’.
A Leadbitter spokeswoman added: ‘We have taken this incident very seriously.
‘The individuals involved were not directly employed by Leadbitter.
‘They are no longer working on the project, and the shirt and scarf have been removed from the site.’
Some Saints fans described their actions as ‘unprofessional’, while others said it was a light-hearted joke.
Pompey fan Basher Benfield, of Lynn Road, Buckland, said: ‘Personally I think it was just a laugh.
‘The shirt is just going to rot away anyway in the brickwork.
‘But on the other hand if it was the other way round and they did the same at our stadium, we would probably not like it. To me, it’s a storm in a teacup.’