Disgruntled Southend United supporters congregated in the Roots Hall car park ahead of the Blues final Sky Bet League Two fixture of the season, protesting against Chairman, Ron Martin following the clubs’ second-successive relegation.
Mr Martin has been at the helm for more than two decades, with the Blues constantly the subject of concerning financial issues and in more recent times, turgid football following a series of questionable managerial appointments and poor player recruitment.
Around 300 Blues fanatics displayed banners and made themselves heard. Yellow Sport asked the Chairman of the Save Our Southend group, Scott Peters if he saw any way forward for the Shrimpers under the continued tenure of Mr Martin.
“The way things are – do I see a way forward? No, not really at the moment,” the life-long Blues supporter explained.
“Results speak for themselves – the situation the club finds itself in speaks for itself. Back-to-back relegations, players not getting paid on time, HMRC not being paid on time, I hardly think that shows a bright future going ahead, I’m afraid.”
When asked whether the chairman could repair the situation with the support, Mr Peters added: “For some, no. Ron will always do what he always does – try to pull something out of the bag or say something that will appease just enough to keep him comfortable. For me, no. I think it is the way that the club is run. Not just about the finances – the way it is run. That is what is really heartbreaking.
“I’ve said before, this club is rotten from top to bottom – rotten to the core. It is not a part of the community like it used to be. I don’t believe that the council are even interested in Southend United. That is where we are today.
“If Ron won’t step things up, we need someone to come in, clear the decks, gut this club from top to bottom, restart and rebuild it with the fans and the community in mind – like a proper football club.”
Kerry Fairless, also from Save Our Southend, was concerned over Mr Martin challenging their relegation from the EFL. The chairman stated that it’s “fundamentally against the pyramid system” to allow promotion from the National League but not relegation.
“I think it is quite important that we all realise that we have been relegated for a reason,” he explained.
“We have been relegated because over the course of the season we have come second from bottom.
“That is primarily down to the fact that we were under an embargo and didn’t win any games for almost three months into the season. It was a mountain to climb after that.
Mr Fairless continued: “We have been relegated because we have not been good enough and that is because the club has been mismanaged over several years.
“I think the tactic of publicly stating at this stage of the season that we are challenging relegation is akin to the European Super League having a closed shop.
“The EFL is not a closed shop. I think the move is quite embarrassing for Southend United. Mr Martin suggesting that the National League needs fixing is one of the most hypocritical things I’ve ever heard.
“Accept the relegation, just as we fans have had to. Build the club back up and make us competitive next year. That is what the chairman should be doing, not making us look even more ridiculous with these ridiculous statements in the press.”
Meanwhile, Mr Peters confirmed that the Blues chairman had spoken to him on his arrival at the ground, asking why the supporters were protesting and suggesting the club would fold should he walk away.
Yellow Sport has contacted Ron Martin for a reaction but are yet to recieve a response.