RYAN Leonard has no problem being Millwall’s ‘Negative Man’ – and it goes down a treat with his “weird” team-mates.
Leonard, 29, has been allocated that role by club skipper Alex Pearce, and hovers like a dark cloud over any positivity after a good performance.
Jed Wallace is often in his sights, as is another beacon of positivity, Tom Bradshaw.
Leonard is there to take them down a peg or two if they are getting carried away.
“Pearcey gives everyone a job. My job is to keep everyone a bit more realistic when we win a game,” Leonard explained on Millwall’s podcast Wall Talk recently.
“I’m very positive on the pitch, all of that, keep the lads going. After the game, if we win, do well, it’s not to bring the mood down, it’s just to keep everyone grounded, level-headed.
“I like to bring a little bit of negativity. For example, Jed is very, very positive. So if Jed says something positive I just say something slightly negative to even it out. That’s how I would describe it.
“People really enjoy it. Bradders likes it. I think it was after we beat Bristol City last year, and we hadn’t won for something like 15 games.
“We got into the changing room – and we’d played really well, to be fair – and we were all buzzing. I said, ‘listen, lads, it’s the first game we’ve won in fifteen, let’s just relax’.
“That kind of thing. Which isn’t negative, it’s a fact. We’ve got a weird group of lads, to be fair. Everyone really, really enjoys it.”
Leonard amusingly revealed he has to keep up the role or he could be hit in the pocket.
He said: “It’s difficult, because I can get fined if I say something positive off the pitch. I’ve got to be careful!
“So if I say, for example, ‘we can beat them Saturday if we give it a right good go’, I could get fined for that. Sometimes it does work the other way, so sometimes I don’t say anything. It’s best for me to be quiet.
“It keeps everyone involved, keeps everyone in the group. Some of the jobs you’ve got are ridiculous, but it keeps everyone on their toes.”
Leonard revealed who has the most unusual role, as Jon Dadi Bodvarsson’s responsibilities riff off English being his second language.
“Jon Dadi’s got the best one, he hates it,” Leonard said. “He’s ‘The Announcer’. Jon’s Icelandic, he can speak English fine but he’s not fluent. So whenever anything happens he has to stand up in front of the whole group and go, ‘excuse me, excuse me…’ and shut everyone up.
“And Jon’s very quiet. He’s got it wrong a few times and says the wrong English, but everyone just laughs.
“If one of the lads goes, ‘by the way, we’re training later,’ Pearcey will say, ‘no, no, that’s not your job’. So he has to go to Jon and whisper, ‘we’ve got an announcement, we’re training half an hour later’. So then Jon has to stand up in front of everyone and shush them. It’s funny.”
Image: Millwall FC