THE leader of Southend Council hopes the new owners of the Blues show it the “level of love and investment it so desperately needs” for the club to have a thriving future.

A consortium of business owners - being led by Australian IT millionaire Justin Rees - has agreed terms of a deal with chairman Ron Martin and are hoping the sale is completed this month.

The news followed weeks of discussions between Mr Rees and Mr Martin, alongside Southend Council leaders and Southend West MP Anna Firth.

In his council leader’s blog, Southend Council leader Tony Cox welcomed the deal as he looked towards a positive future for the club.

He said: “The club is such an important cornerstone of our city.

“I hope the new owners show it the level of love and investment it so desperately needs to make sure the club thrives and to make sure it is never in the uncertain and turbulent times it has found itself in recent years.”

The terms of the deal were agreed last Tuesday, the day before the Blues faced being wound up at the High Court over an unpaid HMRC debt.

It was confirmed as part of the announcement that the £170,000 debt was paid in part by Mr Martin and by the consortium.

Mr Cox confirmed that Southend Council did not have to contribute “a single penny” to the takeover, debt, or discussions, after council bosses were urged to step in with financial support if needed.

Mr Cox added: “As much as people look towards the council to step in and help with complex community situations or crisis such as with Southend United, we are sometimes limited in what we can do to support.

“We can lend our experience, expertise, and time in advising, however, when it comes to cold hard cash, the current financial climate, and the unprecedented financial challenges the council is facing, makes this difficult.”

However, he said the fans of the club are “dedicated, passionate and caring, not about the club and its future, but preserving the history and legacy of everything Southend United has achieved in the years”.

The leader went on to admit the task of sitting around the table with all those concerned “was not an easy task, but the deep involvement demonstrates the importance of the club to the city”.