JOHAN MJYALLBY has opened up about the deal which nearly took Henrik Larsson, Tommy Johnson and himself to Southend to try and build up the failing side.

The former Celtic defender and assistant manager has been looking for a new challenge and when his pal Henrik gave him a call a couple of months back – the chance to work together again was a very exciting proposition for Johan.

However, with the deal in place, meetings and a tireless amount of negotiations, everything looked in place – or so Johan thought.

At the very last minute, Tommy Johnson, another former Celt, pulled out of the deal which hinged on him coming in with his knowledge of the English lower leagues to scout players and bring the best possible players to the club.

Johnson had agreed but changed his mind and moved to become the head scout of Blackpool instead.

Henrik and Johan were angry after putting so much work into making the deal possible.

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Speaking about it to the Sunday Post, Johan admits he and Henrik are still looking for an opportunity within the UK and says he has finally cooled down after Johnson’s last minute change of heart.

“As you would expect, Henrik and I have kept in touch over the years and we trust each other fully.” Mjallby told the Post as cited by SunSport.

“Our recent conversations have been about how we’d both like to work abroad, maybe in the UK. And that included doing something together.

“I think Henrik has the ability and mentality to be a top manager, I really do.

“So a few weeks ago I got a phone call right out of nothing from Henrik, asking me if I’d be interested in being his assistant manager.

“Conversations were taking place with Southend United, and we also had Tommy Johnson as part of our set-up.

“Tommy knows that level of English football very well, and he was an important part of the move.

“I met with Ron Martin, the Southend chairman, and I was happy with things from my point of view.

“I love football and love a challenge. And going to Southend was going to be a major challenge, but one that I was up for.

“We felt we could improve things and get the team up the league table, away from danger.

“But it all broke down in the dying seconds. Tommy decided to accept something elsewhere, and we had to take a step back.

“We felt we needed Tommy because of his knowledge of that level of English football.

“Had we been in the Southend job six or seven weeks, then it would have been fine for him to go. But we didn’t want to go for it without him.

“The Southend chairman wanted the three of us as a package, and that was understandable.

“But I don’t have any bad feelings towards Tommy.

“I was disappointed and frustrated at the time but I respect he has to look after his family and his career and do what is best for him.”


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