Ron Martin: Southend United chairman insists club will clear tax debts
Southend United chairman Ron Martin says the club’s parent company will pay their outstanding tax bill on 28 October’s High Court deadline.
Southend owe £493,991 to HM Revenue and Customs, a debt they aim to settle through refinancing.
“We will discharge the debt at the time the next hearing comes around,” Martin told BBC Essex.
“Certainly the club [Southend] won’t be able to discharge the debt so I will support it through this.
“HMRC have not been at all aggressive. We agreed to a six-week adjournment.
“I have a responsibility to all the staff and also the community, to make sure this succeeds.”
He added: “We are light years away from where Macclesfield were.”
Macclesfield, who were relegated from League Two last season, were wound up earlier this month over debts of more than £500,000.
Martin, who says only six players were placed on furlough this summer, added: “The football club’s finances were shot as soon as went in to lockdown. We’ll come through this.”
Southend have lost both of their opening league games this season to sit bottom of League Two.
Fans fundraising ‘won’t be necessary’
Some Southend fans have started an online fundraising campaign to try to save the club, but Martin added: “It’s a wonderful thing for them to do – I don’t want them spending their hard-earned cash trying to save the club. That won’t be necessary.
“If they are raising funds then it would be nice for them to put in to the Shrimpers Trust and support the club’s academy.
“We want our young players to come through. Any funds would be helpful to the academy.”
Martin added that he believes any protests from fans were “grossly unfair” amid the pandemic and said he had attempted to call the organiser to try and meet him to discuss fans’ concerns.
“We don’t need people distracting us from our principle aim and objective, which is to ensure we survive.
“A protest, I’m not sure what they hope to achieve from it. You have to be careful what you wish for sometimes.
“I’m not going to walk away. I want to make sure this club fulfils it’s ambition.”