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Southend owner tells protesting fans to shut up after they turn up outside his house

Southend United owner Ron Martin tells protesting fans to shut up after they turn up outside his house on New Year’s Eve.

This comes following news coming out that staff were due to pick up their December pay packets on Friday, despite the majority of the backroom staff still waiting to be paid for November, according to Echosport.

The first team squad and managerial staff had receive a payment but those working behind the scenes hadn’t been given their salaries since being paid for October.

A well liked unnamed member of the backroom team has also handed in his notice and will be leaving towards the start of January.

Southend continue to be under a transfer embargo due to a winding up petition issued by HMRC, which had been adjourned at the start of November, though the Shrimpers are to be back in court later in January 2023.

A while this drama and uncertainly goes on, on the pitch things are looking good, the club sit 6th in the National League ahead of their game against Bromley.

Head of this, Blues fans turned up at Ron Martin’s house to make their feelings known…

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This statement provides an update on the Club’s finances, HMRC and the Fossetts development.

There is no denying that things have been tough and we have had to navigate tricky waters in recent times. However, we continue to implement a recovery plan (following the pandemic and back to back relegations) and we are almost out the other side. However, the fact is that there is currently a funding gap of around £2m per year that needs to be plugged. The medium term solution to plug this gap is Fossetts Farm, the short term answer is bridging finance.

Finances – despite Ron’s support, generous donations, loans from the Shrimpers Trust and our main sponsor, money has been tight, and we have had to make difficult decisions on how to apply resources. However, the donation, loan from the Shrimpers Trust and matched loan from PG Site Services were all used (exclusively) to pay salaries. We are grateful for the support.

Ron’s contribution this calendar year equates to about £1.5m, and since he purchased the Club 24 years ago (paying off the Club’s debt of £4.5m (at that time) in the process) Ron has put in well over £20m… with no rent ever being charged to the Club under the lease. This level of funding is unsustainable, and Ron isn’t going to be around forever – that is why it is important that the infrastructure to support a sustainable future is built.

Roots Hall is tired and in need of constant upkeep – it is a money pit with inadequate facilities to service our fans and to generate income. There is close to zero opportunity, at Roots Hall, to generate non matchday income. This will all change when Fossetts Farm is built, complete with its significant conferencing and banqueting space, seven day-a-week bar and other revenue streams. We will move to a (close to) 365 day a year business. The projections show we will break even with a very healthy player budget enabling us to compete at the top end of League One.

With the help of the Council, who recognise Roots Hall requires constant costly works to maintain our Safety Certificate, we are getting there, and completion of the new pitches is a major start. The £2m to create the initial works for the new ground comes from a different funding pot. In time we shall be able to capitalise the Club to bring more success – promotion back to the EFL is our goal. Promotion to League Two alone would swing the turnover in our favour by at least £1.4m, reducing the current loss to a manageable number.

Significant steps have been taken to move the bridging finance towards completion. That finance will provide the club with the money to operate pending the start of construction works at Boots & Laces – which is targeted to commence before the end of the second quarter next year.

Our incredible staff, some of whom have been paid late on more than one occasion, have been patient, loyal and understanding – we have apologised to the affected back of house staff, and we are grateful to them – they will be rewarded. November salaries have been paid in full and the vast majority of December salaries have been paid. We will be working hard to clear the balance in the coming days, we are sorry for the delay.

HMRC – we speak regularly to HMRC, to keep them updated as to the progression of our financial recovery. We will use some of the bridging finance to pay off the HMRC debt. This will result in the winding up petition being dismissed.

The recent reference to strike off (on Companies House) relates to non-filing of accounts. Our July 20 accounts are nearing completion and once filed will result in the Companies House strike off application falling away. Our July 21 audit can then be immediately commenced. Ron met with the senior partner of the Club’s auditors yesterday to accelerate the process.

Fossetts Development – the construction works on our four new training pitches is now complete. The contractor who built the pitches will maintain them until spring, at which point the first team can start using them. Once Boots & Laces is vacated, works on the new stadium and residential scheme can start.

The are many positives; new training pitches are constructed, works on the new stadium and residential development start in the NY and bridging finance is on its way… we will soon be in a position to ‘plug the gap’. The team have done very well and we appreciate the efforts of Kevin and the coaching staff who have assembled a competitive team which is currently occupying a playoff spot. With players returning from injury, we look forward with optimism to the second half of the season.

The support from our fans has been fantastic, taking over 700 to Gateshead is phenomenal. The Club need your continued support as we take the final few steps to transition away from what has been a very difficult period. We have faced the head winds together and, if we keep rowing, we will arrive at the promised land.

Tom Lawrence

This is what social media users said on the statement, and as the Southend owner tells protesting fans to shut up after they turn up outside his house…

@isaacfuentee: The fact of the matter is, Ron’s not going. You don’t put £20 million into a ‘business’ and walk away. His made his money from property and if/when/fuck knows how, Fossetts farm is built. He’ll be able to walk about with some money. Until then, his not going sadly.

@SUFCConnor15: Ron won’t be around forever. Thank fuck can he go tomorrow

@alfie_andrewss: At least this statement has a positive- “Ron won’t be around forever”

@liamwag9: You haven’t paid the staff ? Academy staff haven’t been paid for 2 months 😶

@jb181076: Promotion to League Two alone would swing the turnover in our favour by at least £1.4m – how are the club going to get promoted when the financial situation is now affecting the football on the pitch – the transfer embargo and players not being paid!!

@ShrimpersTalk: So the embargo won’t be lifted till the 2nd quarter of next year when the bridging finances will *apparently* be complete

@SmiffySUFC: You forgot the bit about Ron leaving. Can you you rewrite and reissue with the only bit of info we actually care about.

@BluesLeigh: Our incredible staff, some of whom have been paid late on more than one occasion, have been patient, loyal and understanding – we have apologised to the affected back of house staff, and we are grateful to them – “ for the last 6 months not been paid on time

@jervetheswerve1: So bridging finance is still not in place sure Ron said weeks not months.

@Ianjholmes: We talk of protests at a live TV game and as if by magic – a statement appears!! This statement tells us nothing new and there is no proper timeframe included – it is evident that without bridging finance we are doomed yet all it says is it is nearing completion – Martin Out NOW!

@TomFinch93: Is this what it takes to get a statement! A absolute joke

@DMouse101: More detailed than the usual statements. As fans we do not see ‘him’ as generous or someone to be thankful for. Ron was my grandfathers name, it’s a great name and ‘the owner’ doesn’t deserve to use it. It’s his long term management of the club that hs caused this crisis.

@sjapresley: Too many “ifs, buts and maybes” for my liking, a very precarious situation still. No question Ron has put a lot into the club but his management of it is undoing us

@sufcberry: He just can’t help himself can he 🤣

@dan_mays86: Would you expect anything less? Confronting fans at Solihull, swearing at fans on teams. He was always going to be defensive when protecting his home unfortunately

@mattysufc: He’s a PR disaster who looks down on everyone, in this case, literally.

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