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Trust Statements - October/November 2009
The following are Trust Statements recently issued regarding the perilous financial state our Club finds itself in.
 
We will continue to update this page as and when New Statements are issued.
 
9th November 2009
 
The Shrimpers Trust is delighted that Ron Martin has been able to secure the necessary funds to satisfy HMRC and therefore allow Southend United FC to avoid the threatened Administration.

The Trust understands that Mr Martin has been extremely busy and would hope that his time over the next few days will allow him to explain the precise funding arrangements where they affect the Football Club.

In particular, we would be interested to know how much funding has been put in place over and above the debt to HMRC; supporters will be keen to understand whether money is available for new players and indeed whether existing staff and player salaries are secure for the foreseeable future. It has been to the credit of those that have remained available during this period that the club currently occupies a top-half position in Coca-Cola League One, with this placing further evidence of the excellent job being done by management duo Steve Tilson and Paul Brush.

Finally, the Shrimpers Trust would like thank all supporters for their generousity during this difficult period. The money raised for the Save Our Southend appeal will be ring-fenced as part of a designated Fighting Fund for the immediate future and will not become part of the larger Shrimpers Trust finances. However, we would like to confirm that, should Southend United be faced with extinction in years to come, all monies gathered since the establishment of the Supporters Club Trust would be used to save our Football Club.
 

4th November 2009
 
The Shrimpers Trust are extremely pleased to see that the High Court’s decision to order Administration on Southend United FC has been adjourned until Friday but are concerned at the very short timescale announced for the payment to be made.

As reported yesterday, several Trust Committee members met with Directors of Southend United, although Ron Martin himself was unable to be present. Contact will be attempted as soon as possible with both the Chairman of the Football Club and the Consortium who tabled a bid for ownership in order to provide supporters with more information and to do as much as possible to help the Club.

The Shrimpers Trust’s intention remains to see Southend United placed on a stable financial footing as soon as possible and we will continue to seek clarity about the current situation during this period of difficulty.

3rd November 2009
 
Members of the Shrimpers Trust Board met with senior Club management this morning for a scheduled Liaison meeting at Roots Hall. Full details of these discussions will be published, as usual, on our website in due course.

Supporters will not be surprised to hear that Ron Martin has been working continuously to try to obtain the funds which will satisfy HMRC tomorrow (Wednesday) and stave off Administration for Southend United FC.

It would appear that his success in these efforts will not be known until the last moment so we will have to wait another frustrating day to discover whether we will proceed to Administration and receive the penalty of a deduction of ten Football League points.

The Trust will continue to keep supporters informed of further developments as and when they are known.
 

2nd November 2009
 
The Shrimpers Trust has monitored developments over the past 24 hours with great interest.

The consortium that has announced today that it is considering a takeover of Southend United Football Club contacted the Trust Saturday, and our Chairman, Paul FitzGerald, enjoyed hearing their views.

We would be willing to work closely with any group or individual that have our football club's best interests at heart. Furthermore, our absolute priority at this stage is seeing Southend United FC being placed on a stable financial footing, and anyone that is able to achieve this deserves consideration.

Members of the Shrimpers Trust committee will be liaising with Supporters Direct this evening for further guidance as this situation developments.
 

31st October 2009
 
The Shrimpers Trust is interested to see that Ron Martin, Chairman of our football club has made another statement regarding an "indebtedness" and the possibility of it being paid. Sadly, once again, Mr Martin has not returned calls, despite initial assurances that communication would be daily.
 
The Trust considers Mr Martin's failure to speak directly with our own Chairman, Paul FitzGerald, counter-productive and urges him to make contact as soon as his schedule allows. There are a number of questions which remain unanswered and, in particular, we would like to seek clarification on the total indebtedness that Mr Martin aims to pay at this stage.
 
We continue to hope that a rabbit is pulled out of the hat before Wednesday, but consider that Mr Martin's assertion that HRMC have behaved in a "Machiavellian" way quite extraordinary. The suggestion that they have in some way burdened the Club is completely misleading; HMRC are merely looking to recoup the money that is owed to them and could, if they wished, have wound-up Southend United FC last week.
 
Talking of last minute miracles, well done to the football team and management last night, for it cannot have been easy or motivating to have the prospect of Administration hanging over them.
 
Finally, The Trust would like to thank all those who contributed to the collection tonight and a special thanks to all those who helped organise this. Later today we will announce details of the money raised and some of our plans for the coming week.
 

29th October 2009
 
The night is young as they say – but to be honest it could be younger….The Chairman of the football club has not made contact today - despite assurances that he would and despite several attempts to reach him.

Supporters may choose to draw their own conclusion from this. The Trust finds this disappointing and unlikely to help the situation. One wonders what the other SUFC directors make of all this – tomorrow I guess it’s time to find out.

During last night’s call, Mr Martin asked whether any statement needed to be made. Bearing in mind there are now 4 working days left before the next High Court Hearing, the Trust was in no doubt that there was.

Many rumours have been noted from various sources today and the Trust will not comment on them – but the undeniable fact is, that if Mr Martin does not find 690K by next Tuesday (and then presumably a lot more soon after) that our club will be placed in Administration.

We will attempt to contact Mr Martin again tomorrow (Friday).

On a more positive note - the Trust continues to work with various parties to highlight the plight of the Football Club and to seek advice for planning/funding purposes

The Save Our Southend United Appeal has been successfully launched, it has elicited a good number of donations totalling over £1000 within an eight hour period, this is a tremendous start, for which we are very grateful.

However, sadly as previously stated, any monies raised are unlikely to make a significant difference to the debt owed by our club and will make no difference at all to the HMRC. However, many individuals have contacted the trust with a variety of ideas and practical offers of help - ideas ranging from benefit gigs, football matches, merchandise and auction goods are amongst them - All of these are being progressed

Several more unusual ideas have been proposed and we are considering all of these too.

Supporters Direct are continuing to advise and many individuals, including several celebrities, have offered to help.

After much discussion, we have decided to go ahead with a bucket collection at tomorrow’s game and hope supporters will give generously to this – let’s hope the players appreciate what we are doing and reward us with three points to give us all some temporary respite from the gloom.
 

28th October 2009
 
Further to the statement issued earlier, the Shrimpers Trust would like to update fans on its current position (Wednesday 28th October, 23:00).
 
The Chairman of the Football Club, Ron Martin, was contacted early this morning by Trust Chairman Paul FitzGerald and, after some debate, agreed to a daily status call.
 
At 22:00 on Wednesday, Mr Martin discussed the day's events with Paul. Understandably, Mr Martin has been busy with his lawyers and other interested parties as well as meeting with the potential administrators as a courtesy.
 
Mr Martin has re-iterated that it is still his intention to pay the outstanding debt and not avoid it by going into Administration. He understands supporters' frustrations but is unable to provide any further information at the present time due to commercial concerns.
As stated before, Mr Martin does not wish supporters to have to donate money but understands their wishes and concerns and therefore will not stand in the way should supporters want to do this.
 
Both parties have agreed to talk again tomorrow (Thursday).
 
Many supporters will have seen plenty of activity and progress in the press and other media in the highlighting of our plight and the pledges of support are encouraging. We have welcomed new members today and designed potential merchandise, whilst new Facebook groups have been created, plus an official Twitter account (twitter.com/shrimperstrust) which we will grow with your help over the next period.
 
We have also received several unusual offers of help and we will try to deal with all of them when we can, although this may take some time. Please bear with us if an e-mail or offer goes unanswered for a while.
 
As mentioned before, we have a regular dialogue with Supporters Direct who are advising on several issues, one of which is fundraising.
In response to fans' wishes - and after much discussion on the right timing with various parties - we intend to start fundraising tomorrow (Thursday 29th) via our website and then make a decision about Friday’s game after advice from the Police, Council and the Football Club.
 
The Trust would like to thank all those that have offered help and those that have helped already, and would hope that we can all work together to save our club.
 

28th October 2009
 
Further to the statement issued by the Shrimpers Trust on the evening of Tuesday 27th September, the following information was discussed with Southend United Chairman Ron Martin earlier this evening (27.10.09) and he has just provided (11:35pm) the following bullets which have been slightly edited for context. Where possible, Mr Martin’s own words have been used in quotes to relay the sentiment.
 
Mr Martin is making progress on clearing the debt but Monday night’s “precipitous action by HMRC has meant condensing potentially six or seven weeks work into one and they are not issues to be rushed.”
 
Mr Martin would like to “do the honourable thing and discharge the debt rather than the Club seek to escape it through administration,” and he does not want the fans to raise money on the back of Tuesday’s announcement as he says, “Supporters pay for their season ticket and there shouldn't be any further necessity to put their hands in their pocket.” He told Trust chairman Paul FitzGerald that he would wish to reimburse any further investment.
 
Mr Martin is meeting with the potential administrator tomorrow “out of courtesy at their request. It’s not formal and means little.” He applauds supporters for being proactive and the next few days will determine whether that is needed.

Supporters will need to make their own mind up about some of these comments but from a Trust perspective we intend to continue with our own plans until such time as either the Debt is cleared or we are required to take some action in Administration.
 

27th October 2009
 
The Shrimpers Trust has been working tirelessly since the news broke on Tuesday afternoon that Southend United FC faced the spectre of administration.

It is vital that the response to this announcement is swift, and the Trust have already sought advice from Supporters Direct, the supporters’ trust initiative. Contact is also being made with other trusts who have sampled the situation that the Shrimpers now find themselves in.

The Trust has been overwhelmed by the reaction of supporters and appreciates all of the offers of help made so far, whether directly or indirectly, and continues to monitor the various supporters’ messageboards. We will make further statements regarding precise action that can be undertaken, and we will be seeking volunteers to help us with this, so please visit our website, www.shrimperstrust.co.uk, for the latest details.

At 10:00pm tonight we have given up for the night waiting for Ron Martin to provide some information promised to us. As it stands the Trust plans to organise several fundraising initiatives including a collection on Friday night - this is against Mr Martin's wishes.

The Chairman of the Trust has spoken to Mr Martin again personally today and he has made several statements which may or may not ease supporters' minds however, mindful of the timing, the Trust has decided to move ahead with this statement and its plans whilst hoping the Club Chairman will provide more information in the morning.

As soon as more verifiable information is known the Trust will post more news.
 

26th October 2009
 
The Trust are devastated that Southend United FC have reached this position. All the information received from the Club over the last few weeks suggested that this course of action was not likely.
 
The Trust will be doing everything in its power over the next few days to establish what, if anything, is possible to prevent the Club going into administration and what the fans can do to help. Further statements will be issued accordingly.
 

25th October 2009
 
As we approach another momentous week for the club with our appearance at the High Court looming and the seemingly unlikely scenario that funds will be received in time to pay our outstanding debt to HMRC. - you have to wonder how we’ve got here again. The Owners of the club believed that Lord Mawhinney’s deal with HMRC enabled them to postpone the money that any other company would have paid as part of normal business practice the exception being when that company could not pay and would probably be heading into administration.
 
This gamble as it clearly was, has backfired, Lord Mawhinney’s “deal” now looks a bit silly to say the least and our club is once more taken to the brink on the back of Financial problems that most of us fail to understand.
 
The Trust is doing it’s best to gather what information it can and decipher the facts but as per Ron’s statement yesterday he is not able or willing to provide information to us that is commercially sensitive – I don’t think I can ever remember feeling so frustrated and can only hope Ron’s “open and honest” non news is just that.
 
I spent some time on the phone to Ron on Thursday and he promised a statement would be forthcoming – personally I thought his statement was at best odd and at worst totally inadequate and told him so. Sadly he has not felt the need to re-issue which frankly I’m amazed at.
 
Rest assured that we are trying to figure out what is going on and as soon as we do will relay what we can to fans.
 
  
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