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Southend crisis: “We may no longer have a local club to support”

Southend United fans warn that their club is potentially weeks away from disappearing as the crisis at Roots Hall shows no sign of resolution.

Supporter groups are growing increasingly concerned that the National League club, which faces an HM Revenue & Customs winding-up petition, could go out of business.

Club executives say that unresolved financial issues meant the club faces an annual funding gap of £2m. The winding-up hearing is due to take place on March 1st while Southend United chairman Ron Martin says they are seeking bridging finance to clear the debt.

Last week the Shrimpers Trust met with other fan groups to discuss the club’s plight and options to save the club.

“Last week we declared our concern that, come 1st March 2023, we may no longer have a football club to support,” the Shrimpers Trust said. “Knowing how important Southend United is to us all, and to the local community as a whole, we cannot allow that to happen.

“The thought of Southend United as we know it ending does not bear thinking about.”

The Shrimpers Trust says it will continue to host meetings with fan groups on a weekly basis while the crisis at the club remains unresolved. Additionally, a working group has been established to begin work on establishing a phoenix club if required.

“In line with contingency planning for possible liquidation of the club, a working group has been established to begin urgent exploratory work around the possibility of establishing a phoenix club to take the place of Southend United within the National League system.

“We recognise that this is an emotive subject and it is not a decision that we have taken lightly.

“In the absence of any official evidence-based messages of reassurance coming out of the club, now is the time to stop treating the subject of a phoenix club as taboo.

“We would be doing the club and the fanbase a disservice by not preparing fully for such an eventuality.”

What does the FSA think?

It is sad to see yet another community institution and historic football club – Southend United was founded 116 years ago – fall into crisis. Whatever happens in the coming months, it will once again be supporters of the club who will be left to pick up the pieces.

The FSA has been in touch with Southend United supporters and attended a meeting with our affiliates at Roots Hall, the Shrimpers Trust, last week to offer advice and support.

We’ll continue to offer whatever help we can as the crisis on the Essex coast develops.

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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