Connect with us

Non League

Consortium issues update as Southend face new winding-up petition and transfer embargo

A consortium looking a taking over Southend United issues an update as the club face a new winding-up petition and transfer embargo.

Southend’s most recent winding-up petition has been adjourned for the second and final time to allow for the completion of the prolonged sale of the National League side.

Initially adjourned for four weeks in April, an additional six weeks have now been granted to reach an agreement with creditors or face liquidation.

The club’s long-time owner, Ron Martin, had entered into a contract with a consortium led by Australian Justin Rees for the club’s sale on 23 December 2023.

Despite expectations for the takeover to be finalised in early 2024, the process has extended to 144 days.

The delays are attributed to the local council’s thorough examination of housing contracts related to Roots Hall, the desired location for the consortium, and Fossetts Farm, where Martin had planned to build a new stadium.

Southend United, continued to face financial challenges, something which has dragged out in recent years, in in that period, have summoned to the High Court multiple times, received their latest winding-up petition in April and have now been hit with another unexpected transfer embargo.

The consortium have now said in a statement sent to Southend Echo

“Despite well publicised delays to the takeover’s formal completion, the consortium has been working hard with SUFC staff to ensure that the club operates as normally as possible in the interim period.

“The announcement to place the club under a transfer embargo was unexpected, and we are now seeking to resolve it as a priority.

“We feel it’s important to stress that the current winding up petition relates to historical debts that were incurred prior to the consortium’s involvement with the club.

“It remains the plan to resolve these debts once the takeover is complete.

“With this in mind, we reiterate the need for Southend Council to complete their diligence process as soon as possible so that all stakeholders understand where we stand well in advance of the next scheduled hearing.

“We appreciate how unsettling this is for everyone associated with the club and would like to reassure fans of our commitment to resolving it promptly and returning everyone’s focus to preparing for the new season.”

Anna Firth MP (Member of Parliament for Southend West) said: “Following the immensely disappointing news today, I wanted to share a short update with fans and supporters.

“A number of people have already reached out to me either on Twitter, Facebook or email, and I hope you will understand that I will not be able to reply to you all individually. But please know I have seen them all and truly understand the strength of feeling and share your frustration.

“It seems almost unimaginable that we have again found ourselves in this situation. However, when it comes to Southend United, matters are rarely straightforward. Whilst for obvious reasons I cannot comment on proceedings, I can share that I have been in discussions with all parties on this deal, including a meeting at the Civic Centre just last week. I challenged officers about the delay and was assured that this was due to the complexity of the deal. But I do believe there is a genuine willingness from all sides to get this deal done as soon as practically possible.

“I have seen much anger directed towards Southend City Council and various councillors from all parties, largely due to a perceived opacity surrounding the deal. However I would like to assure fans that senior officers at the Council, Councillor Cox, and others are all working assiduously to ensure everything that could possibly be done to protect the club, is being done. The multi-faceted nature of the takeover, which includes a housing element at Fossetts Farm, rightly needs to be properly scrutinized and unfortunately, this takes a considerable amount of time. I know all parties are keen to complete as soon as possible, whilst no date has been set yet, I have no doubt that will be shared with supporters as soon as possible.

“I will continue to champion Southend United and the entire National League set-up in my role on the Football Governance Bill Committee, because events like today only highlight why the Bill is desperately needed. The Bill aims to put fans where they belong, at the heart of their clubs. Southend United is just two days away from it’s 118th birthday and for every single second of that, it has been a huge part of the community and City.

“Whilst it may feel so very far away at the moment, I look forward to being back in the West Stand with many of you in August, cheering on Kevin and the boys for what I hope will be the first page of a new chapter to the history of Southend United.”

Fans gave their reaction as the consortium issues an update after Southend face new winding-up petition and transfer embargo…

@JB_Allen: The council has no plans to speed up the process at all as they would’ve done it by now and we wouldn’t be 5/6 months down the line still waiting

@Hoid1990: @Anna_Firth will you put your words about supporting Southend United into action??

@DavidWa18425508: You have to feel sorry for the consortium. It’s to their credit that they’ve been so patient. But for how much longer? All legal stuff takes ages but this must be record breaking.

@NicaraguaVisit: We now risk being wound up if deal not done in 6 weeks, not to mention another possible punishment from VNL in terms of point deduction. I am not optimistic. Other clubs gave done deals within weeks or at most a few months.

@Leeharlow8: Still no clearer is it

@NormalNeco: Proper shit that the only group of people who’re trying to get the sale completed are powerless to speed it along

@harrisufc: I feel like I’d be better off having a whole break from all things SUfC. I can’t be having all this again, going to home games, in an atmosphere. Yes I support & love Southend but football is my place I go with family to just watch football. Enjoy it. It no longer gives me that

@lew32323: Haven’t enjoyed football for a few years now

@MarkHunt271278: Seems ron and the council only care about themselves…. both in it together for there own benefits… the consultants have been proper used in all of this while putting there money in… seems whats delaying things is planning permission… obviously nothing been agreed

@shrimperjon: Another pre season ruined although I doubt we would have made any signings until the takeover was completed which in theory we hope is 6 weeks time. At the same point the embargo will be lifted so maybe nothing has changed in that respect

@antsk: 6 weeks is too long before Ron is gone! Get out of our club now you absolute cretin

@ShrimpersTalk: Southend Council are as much to blame on this!

@antsk: What rule are we supposed to have broken Chris? Or are they making it up as they go along again?

@hughesy_alty: Might make for an interesting conference AGM at the weekend. Will Southend have the funds in place to be allocated a place in the national leagues top division? So many curve balls thrown at these AGM over finances in the last two decades

@bmwsmiler1: @CllrDent I think we are owed some sort of update

@pinkywheeler: Looks like it’s due to the accounts being overdue, no one else to blame for this apart from Ron, the accountants probably want to be paid before they file them

@bookkaz: And still no actual punishment for those causing these issues

@YeattsMatthew: surely if the club goes bust Ron will lose everything including being allowed to build houses on the old training ground

@jb181076: “It’s the hope that kills you”. Just read this now. Feeling sick to the stomach, again.

@southendandy: This saga is really doing my mental health no good. I’m having more ups and downs than a seafront rollercoaster 🎢

@mattysufc: Too much now, not healthy for fans, players, staff, management, new owners. Wouldn’t blame anyone for walking away.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Non League