Southend United chairman Ron Martin makes an admission on the League Two club’s future amid concerns from fans that they could go under.
The Shrimpers chief has come out and stated that the club’s parent company will pay their outstanding tax bill on the High Court deadline – 28th of October.
It was on the 16th of September that they had a winding-up petition against the League Two club, which was adjourned for a fourth time.
Southend owe a total sum of £493,991 to HM Revenue and Customs, and that debt is something they hope to settle through ‘refinancing’.
“We will discharge the debt at the time the next hearing comes around,” Martin told BBC Essex.
“Certainly the club [Southend] won’t be able to discharge the debt so I will support it through this.
“HMRC have not been at all aggressive. We agreed to a six-week adjournment.
“I have a responsibility to all the staff and also the community, to make sure this succeeds.”
— football-bbc (@footballbbc_com) September 25, 2020
He added: “We are light years away from where Macclesfield were.”
The Silkmen, who ended up getting relegated from League Two last season instead of Stevenage, were sadly wound up earlier this month over debts which amounted to more than £500,000.
Martin, who says only six players were placed on furlough this summer, added: “The football club’s finances were shot as soon as we went into lockdown. We’ll come through this.”
Southend have lost all three of their opening league games this season to sit bottom of League Two, also scoring once and conceding eight.
Some of the fans started an online fundraising campaign to try and save the club, but Martin added: “It’s a wonderful thing for them to do – I don’t want them spending their hard-earned cash trying to save the club. That won’t be necessary.
“If they are raising funds then it would be nice for them to put into the Shrimpers Trust and support the club’s academy.
“We want our young players to come through. Any funds would be helpful to the academy.”
Martin added that he believes any protests from fans were “grossly unfair” amid the pandemic and said he had attempted to call the organiser to try and meet him to discuss fans’ concerns.
“We don’t need people distracting us from our principle aim and objective, which is to ensure we survive.
“A protest, I’m not sure what they hope to achieve from it. You have to be careful what you wish for sometimes.
“I’m not going to walk away. I want to make sure this club fulfils its ambition.”
On Saturday (26th September), Southend United Chairman, Ron Martin, met with a group of supporters who had initially voiced their concerns online.
The group were planning to protest following the match against Morecambe.
The club recognises that information flow is critical to understanding why decisions are sometimes taken and the impact those decisions have on the playing performance.
The Chairman therefore contacted the Supporter Group to invite them to a Q&A after the match. The Manager, Mark Molesley, joined the meeting later to discuss specific player related questions.
The meeting, which lasted nearly two hours, was positive throughout and the Chairman was grateful for the opportunity to meet the supporters in person. It was acknowledged that there could be greater communication with the fan base through the club’s official channels and particularly so during these challenging times as a consequence of Covid-19.
The club suggested it would also hold more regular discussion groups combined with the ongoing communication with the Shrimpers Trust and other Supporter Groups. The club will always listen and hopefully Saturday proved a good step towards a better understanding for everyone.
The Blues Chairman added: “These are tough times for us all. Nevertheless we will come through them better if we unite.
“The club is nothing without its supporters.
“Together we are strong and Saturday underpinned that.”
Fans reacted as the Southend chairman makes an admission on the club’s future amid concerns…
You need to understand business
— Geoff Green (@Gdjg72) September 25, 2020
Absolutely! If RM has found the way to finance the debt then, despite ones views on him, let’s celebrate this. If this is just another RM ‘smokescreen’ his reputation will be further shot to pieces. I now look forward to Oct 28 with renewed optimism. @1970jaya @shrimperjon
— Peter Hawkins (@299Peter) September 25, 2020
I sometimes wonder what fans what to hear…. would they rather he said screw the debt? I am not suggesting that RM has showered himself in glory over the debt but surely it’s good that it is paid!
— Ian holmes (@Ianjholmes) September 25, 2020
At last!!! Something that the fans want to hear!! We are all aware of the situation with player numbers due to embargo, the fans really wanted to know about the hearing and the settlement of the debt!! Hope this is true and comes through!!
— andy haynes (@hund85) September 25, 2020
Agree.. Alot of fans are a naive
— G Tidbury (@TidburyG) September 25, 2020
Yes he has known about this for a while of course but I would think borrowing would of been his last resort. If he says he will clear it then I believe that will happen. We all want this to happen ASAP obviously.
— JD (@ougs103) September 25, 2020
Have to say this is brilliant. Never heard him answer so many questions at once !
— Terry Hall ? (@tee19810) September 25, 2020
Martin is not fit to run a bath let alone a football club. If the parent company has the money clear the debt today
— fred smith (@Pdc666) September 25, 2020
What a terrible way to run a football club
— Johanne (@annejoh) September 25, 2020