Southampton Football Club is deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of its former chairman, Leon Crouch, aged 70.
Mr Crouch was a lifelong Saints supporter, twice serving in the role of chairman, while also helping to keep the club afloat during one of the most troubled times in its history.
Born in Lymington in August 1949, Mr Crouch was also raised and educated in the New Forest town, before going on to carve out an incredibly successful business career.
In 1978, he founded the Fullers Group, which comprises a series of companies that specialise in the manufacture, inspection and supply of precision-engineered products, and which established itself as one of the biggest employers in the area.
His love of Saints meant he was a regular at the club’s matches, and he became a significant shareholder in 2006, before becoming chairman in March 2007, initially on an acting basis.
Following a few months in that role, he would return to the position in a permanent capacity in December 2007, serving through to the end of the 2007/08 season.
After the club went into administration in April 2009, Mr Crouch contributed a significant amount of his own money to help keep the business running and cover the wage bills while a new buyer was sought, which eventually resulted in Markus Liebherr’s takeover that summer, sparking an incredible rise back into the Premier League and as far as Europe for Saints.
Mr Crouch also funded the Ted Bates statue that has stood proudly outside St Mary’s since 2008, in memory of the club’s legendary former player, manager, director and president, after the initial one was deemed not to have been suitable.
Mr Crouch was a familiar face at St Mary’s even after his time on the board came to an end, and could regularly be seen watching the team’s games with family and friends in his executive box.
Outside of his business interests and love of football, he was also an active member of his local community, having been a town councillor and also serving as a trustee of the League of Friends of Lymington New Forest Hospital, while helping to raise funds for Lymington’s Oakhaven Hospice.
Everyone at Southampton Football Club would like to pay tribute to Leon for the commitment and passion he brought to the club throughout the years, and our thoughts go out to all of his loved ones at this time.