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Up for sale
National League club Southend United have been put up for sale.

The search for new owners for the Essex side comes two weeks after the club had a winding-up petition against them dismissed after the club paid £1.4m owed to HM Revenue & Customs.

Financial issues Southend, which has been owned by chairman Ron Martin for 25 years, has prompted fans to look at establishing a phoenix club.

"I feel the time is right," said Martin of his decision to search for a buyer.

Martin said the dissatisfaction of the club's supporters did not prompt the move, adding that the "first thought emerged" during the Covid pandemic when football was brought to a halt and financial strains across the game were exacerbated.

A statement from the club said the "introduction of a new custodian or investment partners would not be fast-tracked".

American-based agency General Sports Worldwide LLC had been appointed as advisors to the club.

Martin still maintains the solution to the current financial problems is to relocate from their Roots Hall home, redevelop the site for housing and move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm.

While those works are yet to begin, Martin said the £2m development of a new training facility was nearing completion and would be available for next season.

"Completion of the club's new training ground represents the first phase of infrastructure, enabling the stadium and residential phases to commence," he said in a statement.

"Tenders for those works, both stadium and residential, have now been received with works programmed to commence later this year."

News of plans to try to sell the club was broken at a press conference with Martin saying players had not been told in advance.

"I don't think they will be affected by it," he said.

"I think players as a whole look to their manager, I don't think they look to the chairman. This increases the club's stability rather than instability, so they should be pleased."

He added that no potential new investors had been spoken to in advance of the announcement.

'Not many saw this coming'
Analysis - BBC Essex sports editor Glenn Speller

Wow! I don't think many Southend United supporters saw this coming.

Having just escaped yet another winding-up petition from HMRC earlier this month, fans were gearing-up for another protest march ahead of tomorrow's National League match at home to Aldershot.

Ron Martin has been a controversial character during his 25 year tenure at the club. He oversaw a rise up to the Championship which has since been followed by a catastrophic drop into the National League.

Players have gone unpaid over the years while office staff have suffered a lack of wages over Christmas and New Year and a season ticket sometimes would not have gone amiss at the High Court with enough winding-up petitions to paper a reasonably sized front room.

But there has always been the promised land of a new stadium in the offing. That is now more important than ever as Roots Hall rots away, offering nothing in the way of comfort on matchdays and standing as a symbol of the club's descent.

While Ron Martin continues with the Fossetts Farm Stadium development, a new owner will be charged with restoring the club's EFL status. Most Blues fans will hope there might be another couple of Hollywood actors who might be interested…
Have you heard about the news on Mizar 5
People got to shout to stay alive

Southend United could go out of business later this month after prospective buyers expressed "urgent" concerns about their protracted takeover attempts.

A winding-up petition, which was adjourned for the final time in May, is set to be heard in the High Court on 26 June.

The consortium, led by Australian businessman Justin Rees, says a property element of the contract which has caused the takeover of the National League side to stall now "seems certain" not to be signed ahead of the court date.

Contracts were exchanged with long-time owner Ron Martin in December, but the takeover has still not been completed.

The consortium claims it is down to the local council "consistently missing" due diligence timelines over hundreds of homes which were originally planned to be built on Roots Hall now being moved to Fossetts Farm.

Martin had planned on building a new stadium at Fossetts Farm, while the prospective buyers want to renovate Roots Hall.

Southend winding-up petition adjournment confirmed
15 May
No guarantees over Southend takeover - Rees
20 May
Houses decision could net £20m for Southend United
14 April
The consortium, which calls itself Custodians of Southend United (COSU), issued a statement to say they feel the property deal has now collapsed.

"Signing the amended property contract remains the last condition for the completion of the club’s sale and COSU cannot see a path forward without it," the consortium said.

"Last Friday, it became apparent that the council did not wish to progress with the property deal along the terms previously agreed with the Martins. As a result, there has been a round of renegotiation this week with both sides assuring us they intend to find a compromise.

"COSU is not directly involved in these negotiations though we continue to stress the urgency of the situation to all.

"Even if a compromise is reached, it seems certain that the revised property contract will not be signed prior to the 26 June winding up hearing for the club in the High Court."

Newly-elected leader of Southend-on-Sea City Council Daniel Cowan, who has been in the position since 21 May, said he welcomed the consortium’s critical statement and thanked them “for their candour and patience”.

He was also critical of the council’s previous administration and added elements of the proposal as previously negotiated and assurances given "fell outside of normal practice and were simply not achievable".

The consortium has now made three demands if they are to continue to fund the club, their attempt to complete the takeover and to satisfy creditors ahead of the court date.

A revised set of terms for the property contract that all parties are committed to closing.

An updated scope and realistic timeline for the remaining council due diligence work.

An agreement with the Martins to provide security for the further funds COSU will need to inject prior to the takeover.

Council leader Cowan said the “administration remains committed to meeting the requirements” set out by the prospective buyers.

With those demands, the consortium say they still want to "hit the ground running" if a the takeover can be done.

"COSU wants to assure Southend fans that we are doing as much as possible to prepare for the new season in parallel so that if the deal does complete," they added.
Have you heard about the news on Mizar 5
People got to shout to stay alive

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