‘Touch wood it all comes off’ – Millwall midfielder keeping close eye on plight of his former club Southend United

Millwall midfielder Ryan Leonard is keeping his fingers crossed that his former club Southend United see a takeover go through.

The Shrimpers, now in the National League, were the subject of a winding-up petition earlier this month but a High Court hearing did not go ahead after a tax bill was paid.

Australian businessman Justin Lees is leading a group who are in due diligence to buy the Essex club.

Southend lose their EFL status in 2021.

Leonard, 31, made 213 league starts for Southend United before a free transfer move to Sheffield United in 2018.

He told the South London Press: “It’s obviously a situation I’ve been keeping a very close eye on. It’s a club that is quite close to my heart, I still live local to the area and I played there for seven-and-a-half years. I love the club and I love the fans as well.

“Touch wood it all seems to be going in the right direction. It’s a real shame where the club have gone in the last four or five years. I never thought I’d see them bottom of the Conference, when I left we were toe to toe with Millwall at the top of League One.

“It’s been a sad few years but I’m hoping the recent news means it is going ahead. I hope they can get it all sorted and get back on the up, which would be amazing.

“I know the manager there, Kev (Maher), from my time at the club. He’s doing a great job. If he can keep doing that and the club picks up then it is only positive news, really.

“My two brother-in-laws still go to the games whenever they can as well. So I can see the effect it has on the community because I drive past the stadium on a regular basis.

“If the club is doing well it brings the whole town and place on an up. If they are not doing great it can drag it down as well.

“For the likes of Southend and Scunthorpe to be in the situations they are is a real shame. They are big clubs – far too big to be in the leagues they are in.”

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