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Update emerges just a day before final decision on Southend United’s existence

An update emerges just a day before the final decision on Southend United’s existence with their court appearance on the 1st of March.

Chris Phillips of Echosport reports that the National League side’s players have finally been paid their January salaries.

Footballers expected these pay packets at the end the previous month, but instead got it 28 days late.

While the situation is grim off the pitch, players have played and picked up five wins from six league fixtures to remain 6th in the table all while being unpaid with fans applauding supporting them and were applauded wholeheartedly after each game with the days ticking by on the club, knowing it could be the final time they see them.

Southend face a winding-up petition with £1.4m owed to HMRC this week, and while players have got paid, there are still many others who haven’t, including the club’s staff, some of which who haven’t received anything going as far back as since November.

And on Wednesday, the same day the club appear at high court, Southend’s players are expected to be given their February wages with manager Kevin Maher saying the mood within the squad is strong and they will continue looking forward, planning for the next game, even if it could be their last for the club.

But a club statement emerged on Tuesday evening, saying: “Ahead of the HMRC hearing on March 1, the Club can confirm the monies owed to HMRC, under the Petition, have been paid in full.

“Funds as working capital have also been injected to help Southend United over the coming months.

“The Club’s objective is to regain its future as a club within the Football League at the earliest opportunity.”

Glenn Speller, BBC Essex’s sports editor, said: “Staff have had to accept for sometime now their end of month wages are not guaranteed to be there on time, if at all.

“There have been a number of missed payments, with some still awaiting payment from the end of last year.

“Previously, it has been the players who have had to wait for their money but, up until January this year, they had been receiving regular payments. It has led to many staff taking time away pending receiving their overdue wages.

“Youth players and coaches went on strike following non-payment, which led to games being postponed. The English Football League (EFL), which still helps fund Southend’s academy, have been in contact with the club to remind them of where that funding needs to be used.”

Meanwhile, Southend MP Anna Firth said, as per Echosport, she has had “productive” discussions with the chairman Ron Martin prior to Tuesday’s announcement.

She said: “Further to what has been a momentous week for football, I wanted to take this opportunity to update my constituents and fans of Southend United on the actions I have been taking and my thoughts on the White Paper.

“Fellow fans of Southend United will no doubt have had a keen eye on the revisions to the owner and director tests, which will be administered by the IREF.

“It is critical for the survival of not just Southend United, but for all community football clubs up and down the country.

“These new, strengthened owner and director tests will help ensure that the current situation Southend United finds itself in, will not be repeated.”

A spokesman for Anna Firth adds: “She was emphasising a particular anticipated benefit of the white paper – that the new football regulator would need to be involved at a much earlier stage to provide oversight/guidance on financial challenges that could be facing the director/owner of a football club at any time.”

“I have also had a productive meeting with Ron Martin, Sir James Duddridge and HMRC.

“Regardless of what the future holds for the future of Southend United, I would like to state my absolute admiration for you, the fans.”

SEE MORE: From bad to worse at Southend with St John Ambulance to stop covering club’s games

This is what fans had to say as big update emerges just a day before final decision on Southend United’s existence…

@Pandamonium1881: It shows what a shit show it is when things like this become news eh Chris!

@merlinsbeard66: Well at least some money has started to trickle out 💙

@southendsidthe6: I assume the players have been paid by the club funds that they were holding back due to hmrc wanting their dough first . Again only assuming all parties will be fully paid in the next 48 hours

@Sam_Hall01: Martin Out!!!

@BrentwoodSunLge: Good news… hopefully that’s my Friday night back on track this week.

@shrimperjon: Not great but it’s something. Those poor staff members still not paid since November though 😢

@DamienWager: Taking loans to pay historic debts 😂 🤦🏼‍♂️ Paying a credit card bill with a fresh new credit card. Come April 1st (apt) the £5m loan will be all spent. No money returned to ST, P&G, and then wages due in May. Same situation before the end of the season I predict. Shambles

@thecloseone: Ron will pay, slippery cnt. I genuinely hope u boys survive, but please don’t let Ron be in charge. He’s disrespected ur back room staff and SUFC in general. Get rid and hold your heads high. I fear you’ll forget, again, and walk into the same trouble again. Do the right thing

@bman1878: One of the supporter groups literally wanted him to just talk to them after doing this time and time again. The staff mean nothing to him and he literally pays the players last second all the time. Huge club but surely you’d walk from that when your money is on the never never

@prioutlaw118: We’re not “letting him be in charge”, he owns the club, ground, and all fixtures and fittings. Unless he sells, which he won’t until Roots Hall is redeveloped, we’re stuck with him. #MartinOut

@Shorey_88: is it known if St John’s Ambulance have been paid?

@MitchJesse: Trust us we wont forget… we have before but not this time round, enough is enough!

@MikeMatteo14: Only way this is going to work out is, he pays hes tax hes brings in quality loans in the push for promotion hoping they get promoted, if not needs to sell players straight bang on after season finishes.. Before a embargo is made again…

@AllAtSeaFanzine: On the face of it obviously this is good but the fact that non playing staff haven’t received wages suggest that not enough money has come in to meet our obligations in the coming months. Shit show. #martinout

@RyanStubbs_: About time. Now pay the staff, the taxman and then fuck off Ron.

@mondazeo88: It’s about time they were! Now for the staff who haven’t been since last November! #MartinOut

@jmk_1997: Finally but still Martin out the knob

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