Southend faces going bust – with fans worried they have played their last ever home game

Southend United protest flag
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Southend United could have played their last ever home game, as they face the prospect of a winding up order.

The club owes £1.4 million to HMRC, and the winding up petition will be heard in court on March 1 – meaning fans have just days left to save the Shrimpers.

Southend has faced similar financial issues in the past, coming close to going out of business in both 2000 and 2010.

This time is slightly different, with Southend being relegated out of the EFL for the first time in 101 years back in 2021. 

They were placed under transfer embargo in September last year, and the winding up petition was initially set for November 9 2022, before being adjourned to January 18, and then again to March 1.

Many fans fear that this weekend's 1-0 victory over Gateshead was the last time they will see their side play at Roots Hall, with the next home fixture not until March 3 – by which point the club could have gone bust.

With players and staff unpaid in January, and St John Ambulance announcing they will no longer be able to provide first aid assistance as matches, some have already begun to plan for a fan-run phoenix club.

In a statement on February 11, owner Ron Martin was adamant that the club would not go under.

"We will not let the club be wound-up. And there are reasonable prospects in train to meet the club's cash needs in time but it will be close," said Martin.

"Raising the funds is my primary focus. We are advanced but not there yet. Times are tough but I'm not a magician. However, if we get past this current trauma, the future for the club is bright.

The owner has plans to develop the club's Roots Hall ground into houses, and build a new, smaller stadium on a site at Fossets Farm.

However, these plans have also been held up, with Southend Council saying on February 20 that the club have not yet supplied enough information with their planning application.

 "We don't yet have all the information required from the applicant to determine either application," the council said in a statement.

"The applicant is aware of what is required and discussions are ongoing."

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Conor Pope
Online Editor

Conor Pope is the Online Editor of FourFourTwo, overseeing all digital content, and joined the team in February 2019. He plays football regularly, both on grass and artificial surfaces, and has a large, discerning and ever-growing collection of football shirts from around the world.

He supports Blackburn Rovers and holds a season ticket with south London non-league side Dulwich Hamlet. His main football passions include Tugay, the San Siro and only using a winter ball when it snows.