Leon Legge to be get chance to say goodbye at Cambridge United's clash with Port Vale
U's centre-back to make Abbey Stadium departure
Leon Legge will be bidding farewell to Cambridge United supporters when they host Port Vale at the Abbey Stadium in Sky Bet League Two tomorrow (Saturday).
It has been announced that the 32-year-old defender will be released at the end of the campaign after three seasons at the U’s.
Given Legge’s standing as a fans’ favourite, the club made the decision to reveal the news of his departure early in order for him to be able to say goodbye to supporters at tomorrow’s game.
“At this time of the season, when you get towards the latter stages, you have the conversations around all of the squad players and decisions on whether we would look to retain or not,” said head of football Ben Strang.
“Leon, arguably, was one of the most difficult conversations that we had to have. It certainly wasn’t easy when you consider the impact he’s had at the club.
“He is well regarded from the fans’ perspective, his team-mates and the staff so it wasn’t an easy decision in that sense at all.
“However, those situations do create difficult decisions to make and this was one of them.
“The reasoning behind the decision was that Leon is going to be 33 this summer, his game time has decreased recently and we just looked ahead to next season with plans for the squad and really questioned whether we would be able to provide him with sufficient game time that he would require at this stage in his career.
“Ultimately, I think it is the right thing for Leon now, but it is the right thing for the club as well to part ways but also to recognise the contribution he has made in the three seasons he has been here.”
Legge moved to the U’s from Gillingham in 2015, has made more than 100 appearances and has captained the team during long spells.
“He was a high profile signing at the time and one that made the outside world sit up and take notice a little bit,” said Strang.
“He came with good pedigree and he has proven in the last three years that he is a very capable League Two centre-half. He will have no problem getting employment.
“The impact he has made in the past three seasons has been very noticeable. On the pitch, he is aggressive, dominant, there are probably not too many more dominant centre-halves in League Two football.
“He plays with his heart on his sleeve and I think that’s what warms him to the fans so much because he puts his body on the line for Cambridge United.”
Legge has also played an active role in Cambridge United Community Trust’s work in the community.
“He does the ambassadorial work for Young Epilepsy and has really ingrained himself in the club and going into the community to attend events and things we have going on through the Trust,” said Strang.
“On and off the pitch, a first-class professional that shouldn’t be undervalued at all and should be appreciated.
“It’s why we want to make sure fans are aware of it before the end of the season, before Saturday, so they can say goodbye to him formally.
“They will get the opportunity to thank him, as we wish to as well.”