Almost 400 anxious Southend United supporters have so far signed an online petition to raise awareness over concerns surrounding the clubs’ planned new stadium at Fossetts Farm.
Southend Borough Council will again mull over plans for the Blues potential new home. However, fans worried over the future of the 114-year-old club are calling on the council to address several points, ensuring, the new stadium is complete and handed over before development commences at Roots Hall, the club will be adequately financially supported during the development period and beyond as well as footballing assets (stadium, training pitches, academy buildings, soccer domes and associated car parking) will be returned to the community once the development is successfully complete.
A spokesperson for the group told Yellow Sport: “Ever since the announcement from the club and Southend Council that the retail, hotel and leisure complex will be replaced with a huge housing development and all rental monies will be collected by the council and not the club, we as a group are extremely concerned for the future of our club.
“The only revenue streams for the new stadium from what we have been told by Ron Martin will be the banqueting hall and hospitality suites in the main stand, which also happens to be the stand which won’t even be built at first leaving us with a three-sided stadium and no extra revenue streams.
“Ron Martin’s failure to lift the transfer embargo for nearly a year and his continued broken promises to fans have left us fed up with both our on and off the field situation. His statement on Friday night should have been the news fans wanted, the embargo has been lifted or it will be in the coming days, yet all he seemed to want to talk about is the housing development. This has clearly demonstrated to us that he cares more about the housing development than he does the football club itself and our desperate situation at the foot of the table. Surely EFL survival should come before a new stadium? “
The statement continued: “We have spoken with the FSA (Football Supporters Association) and they said the best course of action would be is to ensure the council only approve the stadium and housing development on the basis that the new stadium and training facilities are owned by the club again or it’s fans. Something that should never have been allowed to be sold in the first place.
“The FSA said this has worked with other clubs they have worked with in the past and is essential for any football club in our situation. The petition will be sent to all local councillors who should be listening to their residents and potential voters in the next local elections that this is not right.
“We urge them to safeguard the future of the football club, a club that’s been a part of the local community for over 100 years now.”
Southend United are currently bottom of the EFL with just six points from a possible 45 and having won just one of their twenty matches in all competitions this season. They return to Sky Bet League Two auction on Saturday, December 12 when up to 2,000 supporters will be admitted for their clash with Scunthorpe United (3pm).