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Huge news confirmed over Southend’s future as club announce agreement with consortium

Huge news has been confirmed over Southend’s future as the National League club announce an agreement has been made with the consortium.

The Shrimpers have agreed a takeover deal with a consortium headed by Australian businessman Justin Rees.

The sale has been announced with under 24 hours before the club are due in the High Court to face an HMRC winding up petition.

Southend had been warned at a previous court appearance they would be put out of business unless the debt was paid.

But the takeover ends the 25-year tenure of Ron Martin, who announced in March he was putting the club up for sale.

STATEMENT:

We can confirm that an agreement for the sale of the Club has been reached with a consortium led by Justin Rees. Everyone is working towards a completion date of 1 November 2023, that is when the consortium will formally take control of the Club.

The collaborative approach to agreeing this deal would not have been possible without the support of creditors and the assistance from the Leader of Southend City Council.

We recognise that this has been a stressful time for all associated with the Club. We would like to thank our staff for their incredible loyalty and also thank all our stakeholders for their patience.

This takeover offers hope for the future with Rees delighted to get a deal done, saying as per Echo News: “We are very pleased to have reached an agreement to become the new custodians of Southend United FC.

“Whilst our advisors conduct due diligence, we will be working with Tom Lawrence, John Still and Kevin Maher to ensure we hit the ground running once the transition has formally completed.

“We would like to thank Ron Martin, Tom Lawrence, Southend’s creditors and the Southend City Council for helping us reach an agreement in time to avoid administration.”

The sale of Southend United is now confirmed, an agreement is in place with a consortium led by businessman Justin Rees, after HMRC debts were paid in full.

The deal is all but done, but it should be completed on the 1st of November, and the club face a winding up order over a £275,000 debt owed to HMRC as they’re due back in the High Court, however, the statement confirmed this had “been paid in full”.

The club and chairman Ron Martin were told that the debt must be cleared before the hearing or the Blues would be wound up by the court.

A joint statement released by the club, Justin Rees’ consortium, and Southend Council, said, as per Echo News: “We can confirm that an agreement for the sale of the Club has been reached with a consortium led by Justin Rees.

“Everyone is working towards a completion date of 1 November 2023, that is when the consortium will formally take control of the club.

“In the interim, the petition debt to HMRC has been paid in full.

“The collaborative approach to agreeing this deal would not have been possible without the support of creditors and the assistance of the leader of Southend city Council.

“We recognise that this has been a stressful time for all associated with the club. We would like to thank our staff for their incredible loyalty and also thank all our stakeholders for their patience.”

Tony Cox, the Tory leader of Southend Council, who also attended a meeting with Rees, and Martin in London, said: “Over recent weeks and following intensive discussions, I’m delighted that the Conservative administration were able to help facilitate a deal for the sale of Southend United.

“The deal ends months of agony for fans over the future of the club.

“The agreement reached is a good deal for the club and will help secure it’s sustainable future.

“I wish the outgoing chairman well in recognition of 25 years financial support of the club”.

Anna Firth MP wrote: “Following today’s welcome announcement from Ron Martin and Justin Rees, I wanted to take this opportunity to share my own thoughts.

“I am delighted to read that a deal has been agreed between Mr. Martin and Mr. Rees in time to avoid any further punishments that disproportionately affect fans more than anyone else. Whilst I understand there is still parts of the deal to be finalised, the agreement of Heads of Terms is undoubtedly a pivotal moment for the future of Southend United. For the first time in well over a year, there is light at the end of the tunnel and realistic prospects of a future where Southend United not just survives but thrives.

“Given the profound effect this saga has had on all supporters, I would like to pay tribute to the incredible work done throughout this period by the Shrimpers Trust and all the other associated fan groups. The dedication and commitment that has been shown by all has been exemplary. I would also like to give special recognition to the “working group”, who I have had the pleasure of working alongside for well over a year now. Despite the current situation, to see so many fans turn out to support Southend on a weekly basis has been truly humbling and a constant reminder of what the club means to so many people within the community. It is also appropriate to recognise the extraordinary work done by all the staff at Roots Hall, including Tom Lawrence who has been instrumental in keeping the club operating.

“As we begin to look to the future, it is clear to me that the Government needs to safeguard football against belligerent and unscrupulous owners who may not have the best interest of their clubs at heart. The recently released White Paper regarding the future of football governance is undoubtedly a step in the right direction however, the proposed Independent Regulator for English Football (IREF) must be given the strength it needs to be effective at all levels of the pyramid, not just the top.

“I once again call on the Government to guarantee that the introduction of the IREF will be included in the King’s Speech this year and to ensure that some form of ‘Shadow Regulator’ is in place by the end of this year. I look forward to working with the Government on this flagship piece of legislation to ensure that fans remain at the very heart of what the IREF stands for because as we all know, football is nothing without the fans.

“Finally, the job Kevin, Darren and the entire team have done on the pitch throughout this period has been nothing short of miraculous and they deserve all the plaudits they receive. I hope that today’s announcement will act as a catalyst for Southend’s season, and I have no doubt that some stability off the pitch will greatly improve already brilliant performances on it. I cannot wait to take my seat in the West Stand when my schedule allows and to get behind the boys as we begin our inevitable (hopefully) march up the table.”

Here’s how fans reacted to the huge news confirmed over Southend’s future as the club announce an agreement with the consortium…

@Handbags82: Congratulations Southend. Genuine pleasure at seeing you lose Martin. Only seems like yesterday you guys were in L1 with Cox & Mooney banging them in. Orient the club to aspire to I’d imagine?

@aaron55599: Chuffed to bits for you guys have a soft spot for Southend wish we could get out of the mess we are in wish you all the best

@KeirSawbridge: Brilliant news for Southend fans, players, staff and football! No club should have to go what they’ve gone through. A new chapter begins for you, Southend!

@EthanMuggers: Absolutely massive news. Hopefully everything goes to plan and the fans will rest knowing their club will still be here

@sufc_mike: Brilliant news, really pleased for the Southend fans!

@Dazingram89: Fantastic news… so happy for all the Shrimpers fans. Onwards and upwards I hope for your club 👍

@tinkzox: What a fantastic day for Southend today! Their club has been through the worst and they’ve stuck by their love of their club and they’ve still played top football. That’s one SUFC sorted, surely there’s enough days this week to sort another 👀😊

@saintsman2320:
Hahahahakdojcnckdoekbejdidkdjrjrbebididbrbr
GET THE FUCKKKKKKKKK IN THEREEEEEE
IM SOUTHEND TILL I DIE

@sieuro: Finally!!!! Southend United, the club I have supported my whole life have been saved at the 11th hour after years of debt and neglect. #southendunited

@aaron_challoner: That’s one major situation now sorted! I’m really preying Justin Rees and his consortium brings every bit of success for the fans, Maher, the players and the community of Southend 💙🤍 The footballing world’s hearts are Blue and White for United tonight! #SUFC #Blues

@JFCTom2001: Well done to all Southend fans for making this possible, a genuinely good footballing story from the lower leagues for once

@FidgeEd: Thank goodness. #MartinOut

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