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Council leader gives ultimatum to Ron Martin with Southend to discover fate by next Friday

Council leader Daniel Cowan gives an ultimatum to chairman Ron Martin with Southend United to discover their fate by next Friday.

A due diligence check has revealed that a property development associated with the sale of the National League side didn’t meet the necessary requirements.

Daniel Cowan, the leader of Southend-on-Sea City Council, has issued an open letter, expressing concerns about the plans for new homes at Fossetts Farm, and states that they were not in the best interest of the council or taxpayers.

He has given Citizen Housing, the developer, until the 21st of June to get respond to new proposals that are financially viable and don’t pose a risk to public funds.

The council has also reached out to Southend United and the Conservatives, who have a significant presence on the council, for their comments.

A consortium, led by Australian businessman Justin Rees, entered into contracts with the current owner, Ron Martin, in December, however the takeover has yet to be finalised, much to the frustration of supporters, staff and its players.

While Rom Martin intended to relocate the club to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm, the prospective buyers want to renovate the ground.

The proposal included the construction of up to 1,300 homes on Fossetts Hall land, which could potentially release £20m for improvements.

The consortium, which calls itself Custodians of Southend United (COSU), say that the property deal is crucial for the future of the club.

Cllr Daniel Cowan said: “Yesterday, I said we’d be working over the weekend to get an update out for Monday. Council officer’s great efforts means I can update today. In my 23rd May 2024 statement, I set out the three possible outcomes of due diligence:

• Green flag; the deal has been cleared to progress, and should proceed to external audit

• Amber flag; the transaction is very close to being cleared subject to minor adjustments, and further negotiation will be needed to see if these matters can be resolved

• Red flag; the transaction is not in the council and taxpayers’ interest and should not proceed

“To improve transparency, I have continued to give updates throughout the process in the 27 days I have been Leader of the Council, and at the mid-stage of the due diligence, we were somewhere between an amber flag and a red flag. It was agreed that we would continue to progress the remaining due diligence.

“Due diligence on the proposed Fossetts Farm deal that was negotiated by the former Leader of the Council and presented to the Policy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on April 24th has now completed, and it is with regret that I inform you that the proposal did not pass our due diligence.

“I said on the 7th June that we would revise the proposals and put something forward that:

• Is financially viable
• Does not put public money at undue risk
• Can make it through planning (which is the release trigger for funds for COSU to redevelop Roots Hall)
• Gives COSU and the club the confidence they need to start preparing for next season

“Today, we wrote to Citizen Housing, setting out a proposal that meets all of those aims and we believe can be made to work. The summary of those aims is that we are largely seeking to return to the model that was agreed in 2021 minus the stadium. We have given them to Friday 21st June to respond.

“We have made it clear that these requests must be satisfied for the Council to continue negotiations and it is the only scheme that can be made to work. We have also made it clear that our involvement is contingent on COSU acquiring the club. In short, if COSU walk, so will we and we will not return for any future negotiations.

“This is a crucial juncture for the club and we remain committed to seeing the right deal through. The terms we have set out are workable, achievable, and deliver on the aims and demands of COSU and the Council.

“I understand that fans will want their voices heard and that protests have already been planned. As a proud Labour councillor, I treasure the right to democratic protest, however I want those involved in responding to our letter to be completely focused on making this work, so I would urge restraint at this point to minimise distractions and maximise our chances of getting an agreement.

“This may feel like a negative update but I believe this is the most positive to date. No more time will be spent on unworkable schemes and a scheme that can work is now on the table to be considered by the current owners of the football club.”

This is the social media reaction as the council leader gives an ultimatum to Ron Martin with Southend to discover their fate by next Friday…

@trevk37: The latest update on Southend Utd, it is now 100% in the hands of Wrong Martin if the club survives or not if I’ve read this right? There is no margin either side, we’ll know in less than 7 days.

@davethephoto: The utter greed of RM has put him in this situation. Could we get our club back and RM not get what he wants!?! The perfect scenario!!!

@stevecaton66: This is a line in the sand. Take our deal or you get nothing.

@cheith_eugene: Pleased Ron Martin cannot pull the wool over the eyes of the current council

@raw1001: take party politics out of this…interesting when self-interest is removed and constituents put first, a firm and decisive plan is delivered. @CllrCowan 👏👏👏 for looking after those that truly support and taxpayers who don’t need council to bankrupt to put money in 🐀 pocket

@d1versity3: 🚨 TIMES UP RON! This arguably will be the deciding point as to whether Ron really does “ love the effing club”. Well done @CllrCowan 👏🏻

@BadgerAlmighty: Great work from the council here. The Martins needed to be backed into a corner to stop them messing everyone about.

@iamwilloldham: It’s about time the Martins were put down a peg or two. The council and COSU will fire the shots from here on in and if our club goes, you also get nothing. Terms and a hard deadline are set, we find out our fate within a week

@NoNamePS: Sounds like hardball from the Council. 👏🏽

@Andrew_Shrimper: So basically the Martins either accept the proposal or they can wave goodbye to their millions. Time’s up, Ron.

@m_sexton97: So if the consortium walks, so will the council? Meaning Ron won’t get the fosset land ever again? Huge pressure on Ron now to get the deal done & get his payday he has been killing the club for

@SmiffySUFC: Good update @CllrCowan. Finally some pressure being applied. Thank You 👏🏻

@LabourLydia: It cannot be underestimated how much work is going on behind this – I know Daniel has had 7am calls all the way up to 11pm. And the officers have worked flat out too. They’ve now placed a viable deal on the table for Ron. No more messing round, no more wriggling, get it done!

@BookerDeWitty: THANK YOU! Finally someone has given the rat an ultimatum that means do it our way or go bust. Well done those involved with this and the labour personnel that have taken over.

@Raycrud: Squeaky Bum Time

@HuishHugh: Looks like (new) council has had enough of Ron and is calling his bluff. (Question then becomes is Ron bluffing or would he rather let Southend United die than concede his money making scheme is collapsing around his ears?)

@_JamesWood_: Now or never. No complaints with the stance, an ultimatum and pressure being put on the family of rats is long, long overdue.

@KetchleyShane: The ball is well and truly in the 🐀 court. Let’s see if he fucks it up or not! Must also say @CllrCowan has done more in 27 days than @cllrtonycox ever did. Tony Cox is as incompetent as Ron

@LukeDeann: Least if Ron Martin holds us to ransom and the club dies he can’t build property on fossets farm…

@euniesufc: Take it or leave it you fucking rat. If we go down, you’re coming down with us! 🫡

“They walk, we walk”
Take the deal you slimy cunt #MartinOut

@JacckCFC: Just accept Ron and let the club move on and you can have your houses… both parties can be happy and have what they want… If you don’t accept you will have nothing but hell coming your way, and you won’t have your houses either

@Kaylalula: Tick tock, Martin family, tick tock #SouthendUnited

@finnmooro7: Is it just me that has a little more hope than before that the takeover will go through ?

@NormalNeco: At least it’ll be easier to save for uni with us gone 😐

@Jasonsnell17: Take the deal Ron

@T4ST3TH3R41NB0W: No options now Ron. Get the fucking deal done! #MARTINOUT

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