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Future bleak for Southend United following points deduction

The ongoing crisis at Southend United continues as the club were yesterday given a 10-point deduction by the National League after once again failing to pay an existing tax bill.

The Shrimpers were given an adjournment in court yesterday, giving them another 42 days to pay off their outstanding debts to HMRC. But despite that stay of execution, the club missed the deadline set by the National League to avoid a points deduction.

Judge Sebastian Prentis said: “If this was not a football club with the attachment of its fans, I would be winding you up today. You will be wound up on the next date if it’s not sorted.”

Southend United’s Shrimpers Trust said the penalty and the looming threat of liquidation will be a “stain on the current owner’s legacy”.

“Just when everybody thinks it couldn’t get any worse, it does,” the Shrimpers Trust said. “Bottom of the National League after a ten point deduction and subject to an almost year-long registration embargo represents an embarrassing situation for our proud football club which will forever be a stain on the current owner’s legacy.

“We urge the owner to avoid wasting time on an appeal and to focus all time and energy on getting the sale of the club over the line as soon as possible.”

The trust and other supporter groups are rightfully worried that the National League club could go out of business and cease to exist after 117 years.

Earlier this year fans held a meeting to discuss the club’s plight and options to save the club, including exploring the possibility of starting a phoenix club should they be wound up in October.

“We have made it abundantly clear to everybody we have spoken to that supporter involvement should be a key component of any new structure post-takeover,” the Shrimpers Trust said yesterday.

“We believe this to be the only way to avoid our beloved football club being at the mercy of unscrupulous and/or deficient owners again, and to ensure that supporters are afforded a voice in the running and direction of the club.”

Southend United are now on minus four points after four games, five adrift of local rivals Dagenham & Redbridge at the foot of the National League.

What does the FSA think?

It is a damning indictment of football governance in this country that a 117-year-old community institution can remain in crisis for so long with no resolution.

We all know it will be supporters of the club who will be left to pick up the pieces.

We’ll continue to offer whatever support we can to the Shrimpers Trust and our members at Southend United as the crisis on the Essex coast continues.

From the top to the bottom of the professional game this is more evidence of the need for implementation of the Fan-led Review’s findings.

 

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