Only when I laugh…

Notts County v Southend United – Vanarama National League – Meadow Lane – Saturday (3pm) – Preview

Blood pressure; Concerning. Anxiety levels; Rising. Anger management; Off the scale

The fans collective cages have been rattled and social media descended into toxicity with Ron Martin, Stan Collymore and Chief Executive, Tom Tom Lawrence at the epicentre of the fans fury, although I’m not overly sure that the latter pair deserve a share of the lambasting.

Undoubtedly, both Stan and Tom’s eyes are now wide open to the chasm of chaos at Roots Hall Stadium. But ultimately, what can they… or for that matter, you and I do about it?

The Club provided a statement, but let’s be honest, the vast majority of the Blues support no longer care for excuses or for that matter words from within suggesting a solution. Southend’s umteenth transfer embargo is wholly down to questionable man-management under Mr Martin’s stewardship. 

Whether you believe the appointments of Lawrence, Collymore, Maher and Co was a smokescreen to deflect the blast or not, the fact remains we are once again under scrutiny from the wider footballing fraternity. A joke, a laughing stock.

It has been suggested HMRC are owed £200k on this occasion. It could have been a penny, it could have been a billion. The damage has already been done. A football club seemingly on life support with a finger on the switch holding us to ransom. If Mr Martin is not to blame, then kindly inform me who is?

Alienating the fanbase further, Mr Martin has now received the proverbial vote of no confidence from the Shrimpers Trust, an organisation many previously viewed as his biggest allies. 

The Trust issued a pretty damning statement, certainly by their standards, explaining: “We are angry and upset that our beloved football club has been left in this embarrassing position once again. We are not naive enough to fail to understand the current financial impact on the footballing world of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially with the lack of matchday income over recent weeks, but we have been here before and the club has seemingly not learned any previous lessons. This is truly concerning.

The statement continued: “Where is Ron Martin? For someone who claims to love the football club, he has not been seen on matchdays since supporters protested against his ownership. Ron is clearly unwilling, or unable to attend football matches at the current time. We do not believe he is a fit and proper owner of Southend United Football Club and he continues to run the club with flagrant disregard for league rules, whether that be within the EFL or the National League. This is completely unacceptable and we will seek clarity from the National League regarding the current position and the possibility of further sanction.

The Shrimpers Trust believes that we need a United fan base during this troubling period. We acknowledge that not every fan supports the Trusts wider objectives. We do all support Southend United though, and we are seeking to engage with ALL viewpoints within our fanbase with ALL cards on the table regarding potential actions.

It would appear that Ron has nowhere else to turn. The fallout on social media offers ample evidence that the supporters want him gone. We have already witnessed uncomfortable scenes at several Blues matches this season, including pitch invasions and an ugly exchange on the terraces at Solihull Moors. It will be interesting to see how the fans react over the coming weeks, but I’d imagine the gloves are now well and truly off. 

Indeed, Kerry Fairless from the Save Our Southend group, told me; “I am surprised how angry I am. 

“Given everything we’ve discussed, his words are shallow and meaningless. There is no trust between fans and Chairman. He has to go. If he doesn’t, we have to act.”

Once again, football appears to be the last thing on everyone’s mind. However, a crowd just shy of 5,000 turned out at Roots Hall and endured a turgid performance from Southend against fellow strugglers, Maidenhead United.

Despite taking the lead through Rhys Murphy, Blues looked a pale shadow of the team that had impressed ten days earlier at Altrincham. An opportunity missed. Maher was clearly left frustrated by the whole shebang, bemoaning: “I thought we showed a lack of desire in the second-half to try and win it.

“It was almost a fear of going to win it and it was hard to change the momentum.”

It doesn’t get any easier for Maher’s men, either. Notts County provide the opposition this weekend. The Magpies are just four points shy of the summit, with Kyle Wootton and Rúben Rodrigues heavily amongst the goals.

Understandably, there was discontent following the draw with Maidenhead. However, it must be acknowledged that there has been an improvement of sorts under Maher’s leadership.

Unfortunately, he has been let down by the hierarchy and remains stuck with a squad of limited ability. The Trust’s statement suggests the recruits have been set up to fail. Strong words indeed, but it would seem they are finally saying what everyone else is thinking.

I do not doubt that Blues fans will travel in sizable numbers to the East Midlands, more in hope than expectation – Their loyalty, quite horrifically taken for granted as the football club we love staggers from one disaster to another. 

Jeevesie’s prediction: Notts County 2-0 Southend United

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]