Trust Statement – 11th November 2023

The Shrimpers Trust has been approached by a lot of members and fans who are shareholders, some of them vulnerable, with valid questions and concerns around the resolutions being proposed at the forthcoming EGM.

Of course, the shares in question carry no monetary value or voting power, but they do hold significant emotional and symbolic value to their holders. Some of these shares have already passed down a generation, or been left in wills. They mean something to the holders and their families far above and beyond their financial value, and they make them feel much more closely connected to the club that they support.

Out of recognition and respect for these feelings, the Trust has been seeking clarity around the reasons for the EGM resolutions, and an explanation for the hundreds of shareholders about precisely what will happen to their shares immediately after the resolution, and then upon completion of the sale.

We followed this up with both Ron Martin and Justin Rees and whilst it’s clear that any purchaser would want as much control as possible, Justin stated that the increase in SEL’s shareholding from 71% to 95% ahead of the sale was simply part of the general deal negotiations. In other words, not something that they were specifically asking for, just simply part of the process.

The key issue for us is what happens to the smaller shareholders after the EGM resolutions. We know the financial impact is irrelevant, however all shareholders, excluding SEL, will be diluted to around a 1/5th of their current stake.

The consortium, if the deal goes ahead, will own 95% of Southend United. However, the investors making up the new consortium will be putting in 100% of the money required without asking the remaining 5% to contribute. This is in fact a small bonus to minority shareholders, and they will still retain valid shares in Southend United FC, and the emotional significance which comes with them.

Justin Rees and the consortium need the EGM resolutions to be carried. With Ron Martin’s proxy (presumably Michael Markscheffel’s shares) taking his holding beyond 75% and therefore giving him the ability to push through the resolutions irrespective of other shareholders’ votes, there is little risk that they will not be passed.

With all of this in mind, the Trust intends to vote for the resolutions in order to support the new ownership in getting their purchase of the club over the line as soon as possible.

The Trust Board voted overwhelmingly in favour of this course of action.

Trust Statement – 8th November 2023

We have been waiting for this news for what seems like an eternity, and until recently it still seemed unbelievable that it would happen, but the Shrimpers Trust is delighted that the creation of an independent football regulator by the UK Government was announced in yesterday’s King’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament.

The sport that we love is on a path to disaster in England. Finances across the board are in a disgraceful mess, and our clubs and their assets are at the mercy of unaccountable and potentially unscrupulous owners.

We hope that the independent regulator will strengthen the ties between our football clubs, along with their facilities, and the fabric of their local communities, helping them to realise their potential as centrepieces of local pride and identity. We also hope, as a result of the regulation, that supporters will be treated as key stakeholders who can enrich their clubs through formal engagement and by having a say in important day-to-day decisions, rather than as customers and cash cows. The outdated and redundant “Martin Model” of football club ownership must end, and the existence of football clubs must be safeguarded.

Yesterday’s announcement is a significant step, but only the first on what could still be a lengthy road ahead before full implementation. What we would really hate to see is a stripped-back and watered-down version of what has been proposed off the back of lobbying by those in our game who have selfish vested interests, as opposed to having the best interests of the entire pyramid at large at heart. Now is the time for the football family to come together and give an almighty push to get this regulation through, intact, on a tidal wave of fan support. There is still plenty of work to do.

The Shrimpers Trust continues to engage regularly with key stakeholders including Anna Firth MP, the Minister for Sport Stuart Andrew MP, and policy officials in DCMS. We stand ready to use our unique recent experiences as supporters of one of the most at-risk football clubs in the country, to feed into the creation of robust and far-reaching policy and to play our part in ensuring that the mismanagement that has plagued our national sport comes to an end.

We have updated our paper “Dereliction & Decline: The Story of Southend United under Ron Martin” to include preliminary impacts of the paper, including recent conversations with Stuart Andrew and responses to it from Anna Firth MP, the FSA, FairGame, ResPublica and football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

You can find this updated version of “Dereliction & Decline” here.

Previously issued Statements can be found below.

Trust Statements
Trust Statement – 11th November 2023 Trust Statement – 8th November 2023 Trust Statement – 3rd October 2023 Shrimpers Trust & Irons Trust Joint Statement – 2nd October 2023
Trust Statement – 2nd October 2023 – Dereliction & Decline Supporters Group Statement – 21st September 2023 Membership Drive – 20th September 2023 Trust Statement – 19th September 2023
Trust Statement – 8th September 2023 Trust Statement – 4th September 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 1st September 2023 Trust Statement – 30th August 2023
Trust Statement – 23rd August 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 4th August 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 26th July 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 25th July 2023
Supporters Group Statement – 22nd July 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 18th July 2023 Trust Statement – 14th July 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 14th July 2023
Trust Statement – Letter to the National League – 13th July 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 12th July 2023 Trust Statement – 10th July 23 Supporters Group Statement – 5th July 2023
Supporters Group Statement – 6th June 2023 End of Season Report 22/23 Supporters Group Statement – 17th May 2023 Supporters Group Statement – 4th May 2023
Open Letter to Southend Council Planning Officer – 02/05/23 Supporters Group Statement – 28/03/23 Ron Martin & Tom Lawrence Answer Your Questions – 28/03/23 Open Letter to the Leadership, Executive, Councillors and MPs of Southend on Sea – 20/03/23
Trust Statement – 17/03/23 Supporters Group – SUFC 2022/23 ST Survey – Update – 16/03/23 Supporters Group Statement – 13/03/23 Supporters Group – SUFC 2022/23 ST Survey – 13/03/23
Trust Update – 08/03/22 Supporters Group Statement – 28/02/23 Trust Statement – 24/02/23 Letter To The APPG – 18/02/23
Anna Firth, MP Answers Your Questions – 17/02/23 Trust General Statement – Feb 2023 Trust Statement – Anna Firth, MP Meeting – 10/02/23 Supporters Group Statement – 31/01/23
Supporters Group Statement – 27/01/23 Trust Statement – HMRC Adjournment – 22/01/23 Trust Statement – HMRC Adjournment – 18/01/23 Supporters Group Statements – Nov 2022
Shrimpers Trust Confirm Loan – 15/11/12 Trust Statement – Winding-up Petition – 09/11/22 Trust Statement – Transfer Embargo – 01/10/22 Trust Statement – Non-Playing Staff Wages – 22/09/22
End Of Season Report – 21/22 Trust Statement – Work Starts On Fossetts – 08/07/22 Trust Statement – We Love The Club You Idiot! – 08/12/21 Trust Statement – Time For Reflection! – 12/10/21
Trust Statement – When Is Enough Enough? – 03/10/21 Trust Statement – Tom Lawrence – 21/05/21 Trust Statement – SOS Rally – 29/04/21 Trust Statement – 24/04/21
Trust Statement – 20/03/21 Trust Statement – SUFC Finances – Sept/Oct 2020 Trust Statement – 05/03/20 Trust Statement – 31/01/20
Trust & SZ Meeting with Ron Martin – 12/10/12 Trust Statement – 24/09/12 Darlington – Back From The Brink – Jan 2012 Aldershot Town FC – 12/01/12
HMRC Winding-up Petition – 03/08/11 Barry The Parrot Does East Fife – 18/07/11 Supporters Direct Public Statement – 13/06/11 Season Tickets – Price Increase – 29/03/11
Club Pay Back Trust Loan – 28/08/10 High Court Hearing / Club Loan – 04/08/10 Letter To Sainsbury’s – 02/07/10 Club Loan – 01/07/10
Winding-up Petition – 03/06/10 Paul & Rob’s Big Day Out – 21/04/10 High Court Hearing – 15/04/10 Loan Extension – 02/03/10
Ron Martin’s Blog – 31/12/09 Help The Trust End Polio Now – 10/12/09 Trust Statements – Oct/Nov 2009