The leader of Southend Council gave a shock update on the status of the deal to save Southend United at the weekend - revealing the Fossetts Farm plan had failed.

The club and its army of loyal fans were waiting on the council to complete the final “due diligence” stage that would unlock the sale of the club to the consortium and rubber-stamp controversial plans for 1,300 new homes.

On Saturday, Labour leader Daniel Cowan issued the devastating update saying the plan “did not pass”, despite previously saying there would be no news on the progress of the deal until today.

Instead an alternative plan has been made to Citizen Housing and a decision is expected by Friday.

The new plan would seek a return to the 2021 deal minus the stadium – with the 2021 deal seeing homes split between Fossetts Farm and Roots Hall.

The latest proposal involved allowing the construction of up to 1,300 homes at Fossetts Farm to allow the sale of Southend United to the consortium spearheaded by Justin Rees.

In an update letter issued on Saturday, Mr Cowan said: “Due diligence on the proposed Fossetts Farm deal that was negotiated by the former leader of the council and presented to the policy and resources scrutiny committee on April 24 has now completed. It is with regret that I inform you that the proposal did not pass our due diligence.”

Earlier this month, Mr Cowan said he was looking to revise plans and put a financially viable proposal forward that “does not put public money at undue risk”.

He said: “Today we wrote to Citizen Housing setting out a proposal that meets all of those aims and we believe can be made to work. The summary of those aims is that we are largely seeking to return to the model that was agreed in 2021 minus the stadium. We have given them to Friday, June 21, to respond.”

Mr Cowan has also called on restraint from fans to “minimise distractions”.

He said: “I want those involved in responding to our letter to be completely focused on making this work, so I would urge restraint at this point to minimise distractions and maximise our chances of getting an agreement. This may feel like a negative update but I believe this is the most positive to date. No more time will be spent on unworkable schemes and a scheme that can work is now on the table.”

The Blues are due in the High Court on June 26 to face a potential winding-up petition from Stewarts Law and an ex club sponsor believed to total about £500,000.