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Ron Martin speaks with Southend fans protesting outside his home amid fears for club’s future

Chairman Ron Martin speaks with Southend United fans who were protesting outside his home amid fears for club’s future.

The National League side, who would have made the 2023/24 playoffs if it weren’t for the 10 point deduction (for failing to clear a £275,000 HMRC debt), could go out of business later this month with prospective buyers expressing “urgent” concerns about their protracted takeover attempts.

A gathering of fans turned up again outside Martin’s property, making their feelings known in Benfleet on Saturday morning.

Chris Phillips of Southend Echo detailed what was said by Ron Martin.

Questioned who would pay the petition, Martin said: “We don’t know yet but someone will have to pay it.

“It will be the last hearing, it’s been marked final.

“I think we will find a solution.

“We’ve found many solutions.

“I don’t think it will be the end of the club.”

Martin won’t pay the winding up petition of roughly £500,000 claiming the consortium agreed to when they’re in charge.

“The deal is they pay for the operational costs on a day to day basis,” said Martin.

“Historic costs like Stewarts Law and PG Site Services will be paid when they complete.”

Martin regarding talks with the council over the property plans for Fossetts Farm.

“It’s entirely between the council and us.

“The conservative administration were happy and then labour took over.

“They wanted more houses and we don’t object to that.

“Yesterday we put to them a new proposal for them to consider and I think we’ll hear back next week.

“I’m not blaming the council. They’ve got to go through their processes. It’s only fair Labour review it and I get that. “It’s reasonable and they’ve now come back with what they want to see.

“Actually, it’s a complete flip from where we were and we’ve agreed it very quickly.

“We wrote to them yesterday agreeing to flip to houses from flats.

“That’s the main issue between us and everything in between we actually agree with.

“It’s now for them to do a financial analysis which I think we’ve done for them in yesterday’s email.

“They will come to a decision quite quickly.

“I’ve agreed in principle to everything they want.

“I spoke to Daniel Cowan yesterday and the council officers.

“They will come back to us but we have to give them time.

“We will come to terms I’m sure.

“I’m not stressed.

“I think the deal will be done and it will take four to five weeks.

“Daniel Cowan is a good guy and he’s trying to do the right thing, we all are.

“I want to see the club succeed but if we don’t get the council to approve it then the consortium will not want to buy Southend United.”

“I’m not going to give them security,. They are contracted to pay the debt, that’s their purchase price.

“They’ve paid £1.2million of it and they’ve got £1.3million to go.

“It’s a balanced agreement and Justin and I get on quite well.

“It’s gone on longer than he wanted and he feels exposed because he’s got less security for his debt other than the contract so I said look trust me.

Martin after being heckled: “I feel that’s pretty unfair. “Have it your way but you’ll look back one day and you’ll see.”

Here’s the social media reaction as Ron Martin speaks with Southend fans protesting outside his home amid fears for the club’s future…

@Simontimofish: More bullshit from prat martin oh its not my fault its Southend City Council and cosu fault I’m innocent in all this and the winding up order is because of the team not getting promoted blaming everybody else accept himself I’m waiting for him to blame Chris Phillips next

@anywaysblues: But did he say that he will agree with the terms that cosu have ask for

@fan_southend1: He did not and refused to accept any responsibility to provide further security as per COSU’s demands.

@anywaysblues: After speaking to him are you more worried now about our club now than before

@fan_southend1: No. Exactly the same. He needs to accept all council and COSU demands now. He claims a solution will be found for 26th, despite deal not being done. The question being, why not find a solution now, and not last minute once more?

@Simontimofish: Only solution will be him giving cosu the club you know as cosu put over 3.5 million into the club their could be a power struggle to wrestle the club away from prat martin like what happened at Blackpool with the oystons

@philjd52: More BS?

@Alex_Wakeham1: Why is he wearing a shirt and blazer? It’s 9am on a Saturday just wear some comfies Ron mate.

@jb181076: Looking forward to hearing blah blah blah as every time. Also, need to protest outside the council offices.

@SenseiPhil2: Blaming covid, Brexit, the council, Man City, the Ukraine war, Israel, Chris Phillips, and anyone else he can think of ….

@TimHobden1:  OK. This feels like curtains. I’ve maintained positivity for a long time, but this feels unresolvable. Thanks to those who went down there are got a frank response.

@liamkier59: Oh. If this is true then I see no way forward. Game over I’m afraid as COSU will quite rightly walk away. Hope once they do the council tie RM up in knots so he doesn’t get to lay one brick anywhere in Southend.

@sjapresley: If this is the case then I would believe the deal has been broken. He can’t meet the original terms now, o/a council decision, and he won’t meet new suggested ones. The death Bell tolls.

@cjblues2505: Phoenix club time? Supporters groups and Cosu come together to decide next steps? Running out of time to save our club

@finnmooro7: That’s us gone then was fun while it lasted

@bs19061872: Can’t blame consortium if they walk away, lies lies & more lies as normal from the rat 🐀

A statement from the consortium read: “By way of background, before COSU agreed terms to purchase Southend United in October 2023, we sought and received assurances from the Council that they were supportive of our proposal to remain at Roots Hall.

“This required an amendment of the prior agreement between the Martins and the Council over Fossetts Farm and Roots Hall.

“By removing the new stadium requirement and releasing the associated land for additional property units, it was agreed that funds from development profits could be paid back to the Club for the sole use of refurbishing Roots Hall and the new training ground.

“All parties committed to doing their due diligence at speed with an initial target for a November 2023 completion.

“As is well documented, the Council‘s estimated due diligence timelines have been consistently revised and consistently missed, but each time we have received assurance across parties that they remained committed to the deal.

“Last Friday, it became apparent that the Council did not wish to progress with the property deal along the terms previously agreed with the Martins.

“As a result, there has been a round of renegotiation this week with both sides assuring us they intend to find a compromise.

“COSU is not directly involved in these negotiations though we continue to stress the urgency of the situation to all.

“Even if a compromise is reached, it seems certain that the revised property contract will not be signed prior to the 26th of June winding up hearing for the Club in the High Court.

“Signing the amended property contract remains the last condition for the completion of the Club’s sale and COSU cannot see a path forward without it.

“For COSU to continue funding the Club and complete the takeover, including reaching payment agreements with the creditors on the winding up petition, we have communicated to the Council and the Martins that we require the following three things:

“1. A revised set of terms for the property contract that all parties are committed to closing.

“2. An updated scope and realistic timeline for the remaining council due diligence work.

“3. An agreement with the Martins to provide security for the further funds COSU will need to inject prior to the takeover.

“We see no reason why these criteria cannot be met next week if all parties act reasonably and with focus.

“If we reach an agreement, COSU will work with creditors and the league to lift the embargo and release season tickets.

“While the situation is outside of our control, COSU wants to assure Southend fans that we are doing as much as possible to prepare for the new season in parallel so that if the deal does complete, we will hit the ground running.

“COSU (Custodians of Southend United)”

Southend Fan Protest Group said: “TOMORROW (SAT 8TH JUNE), BENFLEET ROAD

“In light of recent public and private updates from both the council and COSU we have been in continual discourse with the supporters groups re fan action to save the club.

“It is our view that now is the opportune moment to strike whilst the iron is hot. It is evident that whilst council timelines have been infamously unrealistic, we are only in this position of due diligence as a consequent of the Martins attempting to renegotiate a better deal for themselves.

“We say ENOUGH.

“Our demands are simple:
1. Immediately accept whatever amendments have been put forward by the council.
2. ⁠Provide tangible security for the 50% of club funding you so proudly guaranteed COSU on BBC Essex, such that they can fund the club this month.

“*Tomorrow 9am Benfleet Road*

“Further protests over the coming weeks, in Benfleet, Camden and Leigh will be announced.
Protests will not cease until these demands have been met regardless of any attempts at pressure or persuasion from any outside stakeholder.”

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