The fire broke out shortly after 11.00am on Saturday morning, just before the City squad were set to sit down for their pre-match meal and briefing.
With alarms raised, the travelling party immediately congregated at the meeting point in the hotel car park where it soon became evident that the fire, which resulted in a subsequent explosion, was a serious matter with 55 firefighters from eight stations quick to attend the incident.
The pre-match briefing duly took place on the team coach as it travelled to a nearby supermarket so that the players could get some food on board but with things not looking promising at the hotel, referee Chris Powell and Eastleigh FC were quickly advised of the situation.
Although our playing kit was already at the ground following a morning visit, the enforced evacuation meant that the majority of the squad were unable to retrieve their boots and other match day essentials, including medical equipment, which had been taken into the hotel on the Friday night as a matter of course.
With the fire authorities initially stating that the hotel would remain out of bounds until 2.00pm at the earliest, the kick-off was delayed until 4.00pm but with the City squad and management relocated to another hotel for safety reasons, it soon became apparent that it would be a lot later before anyone would be allowed back to retrieve their possessions.
A further update came at 2.15pm with hotel management informing us that it would be at least another two hours before members of the public would be able to access the hotel so a phone call was made to Eastleigh's club secretary who, following consultation with the match referee, agreed to postpone the fixture.
The City party, along with other guests, were eventually allowed back into the hotel at 5.45pm and with some of the players' rooms being located close to where the fire broke out, a number of belongings have been damaged due to fire and smoke.
Fortunately nobody was hurt in the incident and the Club would like to place on record their thanks to the staff of The Hilton Southampton and members of Hampshire Fire & Rescue, plus referee Chris Powell and Eastleigh Football Club.
We would also like to thank our supporters who had made the long trip down to Eastleigh for the game, especially with the fixture coming on the back of last week's FA Cup tie and the midweek journey to Gateshead.
We fully understand your frustrations but, as you can understand, public safety at times like this is far more important than a game of football.