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CHAIRMAN, RON MARTIN addresses supporters of Southend United and appeared to offer a glimmer of hope for the beleaguered Sky Bet League One strugglers, once the current coronavirus pandemic has passed.
Mr Martin has come in for criticism from sections of the Roots Hall crowd amidst worrying financial issues and a desperate campaign which has seen the Blues win juts four of their 35 matches ahead of the league’s suspension due to the crisis.
Mr Martin – who last week spoke to Yellow Sport after the club announced complimentary tickets would be made available for NHS key workers once football returns to Roots Hall – confirmed that a number of staff and players had been furloughed to protect the clubs already fragile economic position.
In a statement posted on www.southemdunited.co.uk, Mr Martin explained;
Firstly, and most importantly, I send all the club’s supporters and their families my very best wishes during this challenging period.
The Government’s top health officials and scientists are predicting this trauma will be at an end, or nearing an end, in a few months. In between, we must all take care of each other, whilst following the rules to ensure everyone’s safety.
The impact of COVID-19 on football is immense. I suspect this period will lead to a re-setting of several positions/parameters that have long been accepted as the norm. Indeed, it is often said that “out of crisis comes innovation.
The football authorities are keen, indeed anxious, to get back to playing games, but only when it is absolutely safe to do so. There are clearly severe dangers in compromising the Government’s advice. Until then we will all need to remain patient until this pandemic is without question behind us.
In between, the Club has taken measures to ensure we are well placed when we are free of this threat to everyone’s wellbeing.
Mr Martin continued; It was a Bill Shankly who said:
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it is much more serious than that.”
Whilst Bill Shankly no doubt would have said that with his dry Scottish humour, there is, of course, nothing more serious than a threat to life itself. For this reason, I again emphasise the need to stay safe, for we want all our supporters to again enjoy matches (well attending anyway!) when Roots Hall is up and running once more.
As a consequence of COVID-19, and in Southend United’s and its employees’ best interests, we are pleased to report the Club has made full use of the Government’s Coronavirus Retention Scheme. This was, as many will of course know, announced on 20th March and shall protect and support as many of our colleagues as possible.
Consequently, several staff and some players have been furloughed, enabling the club to best manage its finances during this time of very limited income.
Those that are not under the furloughed worker scheme will continue to manage the Club and keep our supporters informed. To this end, the Club will shortly be introducing a new video messaging system to assist this objective. These videos will cover information on when the football season is likely to recommence, as well as all aspects of the Club including its first-team players and academy. We will also cover topics not ordinarily discussed, but which are important aspects of the Club, such as the backroom operations. However, for now, stay safe at home and by doing so we can all contribute to protecting the NHS and saving lives.
In closing, nothing can compensate for the angst we are all feeling, but news that will be available very shortly will hopefully lift our spirits.
The Blues expect to hear back from leaders of all the political parties in Southend this weeks, currently locked in discussions over whether the council should enter into a deal that would see it managing an ambitious new housing development on the site of Roots Hall Stadium as the club look to relocate to a purpose-built ground at Fossetts Farm.