Tag: Southend United

Southend United: Fossetts Farm & Other F Words

“So, how’s Fossetts Farm coming along?” I asked my fellow Non-League Paper freelancer last season, when he outed himself as a Southend United fan. I expected to hear that their move from their old Roots Hall ground to the Farm was somehow progressing. I got one of those noises spelt with a combination of “Ps”, “Fs” and “Ts” or by putting “snort” in brackets. “Fossetts Farm” isn’t “coming along.” Even its discrete Wikipedia entry hasn’t been “modified” since June 2015, with no factual references beyond 2008 and a darkly-comic reference to a “final stadium plan” in 2007. Plenty has...

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2010: A Football Financial Review

You could frame it. If you wanted a short, pithy representation of all that has been wrong with football finance in 2010, you could do no better than quote a Plymouth Argyle fan known as “Sensible Surfer” on the BBC Football website over the Christmas period. “Ridsdale set to take control… good news,” he/she said, a phrase which would sit nicely as an explanation of irony…except that it didn’t appear to BE irony. And it served as fair comment on Argyle’s current state that, relatively, Peter Ridsdale – the failed former Leeds and Cardiff chairman and serial over-borrower – IS good news for the cash and panic-stricken South Westerners, with the heaviest possible emphasis on the word ‘relatively.’ If professional football entered 2010 in a state of moral and financial bankruptcy, it is leaving it in much the same manner. Certain football problems have been “solved.” Some more have emerged. While others, hello Portsmouth, look set to run forever. The “greater fool” theory still underpins much of the game’s financial strategies. The theory is about as scientific as it sounds – buying something in the belief that you will be able to sell it again for a higher price (to a “greater fool”), regardless of what has happened in the meantime (increased debts, usually), or even whether the original price was rooted in reality. Finding a “greater fool” is...

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At The Sharp End… Dispatches From Southend, Cardiff, Watford, Preston & Portsmouth

One of the most useful research tools for football finance writing is the “Football Management” site run by Dr. John Beech of Coventry University. Dr. Beech took ten days off recently, and came back to an in-tray” of HMRC-related football fun which would have blocked out the light from his office windows. Indeed, any hopes that any of us had of football’s financial woes holding themselves in abeyance while the world’s finest – and John Terry – were strutting their South African stuff were short-lived in the extreme. Instead, it’s almost as if certain clubs regarded the World Cup as a time to bury bad news. The worst news has come from Southend-on-Sea where the extent of the football club’s reliance on Sainsbury’s (Sainsbury’s!!) for survival has been laid bare. The local Echo newspaper has over recent months run numerous stories in its sports, business and general news pages about the funding issues surrounding Southend’s stadium project at Fossett’s Farm. Last month, they joined the dots in an impressive resume of the football club bills Sainsbury’s have recently paid, i.e. pretty much all of the major ones. To cut a very long story short, Sainsbury’s could soon be in control of Southend United if Martin puts them any more in hock to “the supermarket giants.” And while they were joining these dots, another two appeared; yet another winding-up petition...

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Southend United & Fossett’s Folly

Southend United were under threat of extinction thanks to a £400,000 Inland Revenue demand. Whilst their new ground at Fossett’s Farm is seen as the solution to the club’s long-term financial difficulties, the Shrimpers needed help in the short-term. They were fortunate that business partners were able to advance future revenue to cover the short-term costs and keep the club afloat for the time being. The consequences of this borrowing will probably be onerous, and will definitely have a detrimental effect on the promised financial advantages of the ground move. But that is for another day. Southend are saved. And with prudent financial management, the future is bright. An accurate snapshot of Southend United’s fortunes… in November 1998. Naturally, given that Southend are right back where they were in 1998, when he came in, I come to bury Southend chairman and majority shareholder Ron Martin, not to praise him. His spin on the events at ‘his’ club this season has been as annoying as it has been disingenuous. His club have been exposed as serial late-payers of players and tax authorities alike; “a habitual defaulter” was how the latter described them in court. Progress on the new stadium at “Fossett’s Farm”, still the panacea for all the club’s financial ills, has been shunted and stunted by financial battles for which Martin and his club are getting blame from friends...

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Cardiff & Southend vs The High Court: Round Three

Cardiff City and Southend United were both given a stay of execution recently by the High Court in their bids to stave off winding up petitions brought against them. Mark Murphy takes a look at what they have been up to since then and doesn’t find much cause for encouragement. Well, reports are emerging of a fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie. So technically it’s possible. But surely Cardiff and Southend can’t stretch their material to a fourth script – anymore than I can stretch this film analogy to a fourth sentence. Yet, away from the attention which accompanied Portsmouth into the Companies Court on London’s Strand last month, both the Bluebirds and the Shrimpers have been up before the beak again, promising that next time, definitely, they’ll pay all their taxes. By all accounts (except one, see below), both Cardiff and Southend tried the same “strategy” when they re-appeared in court on March 10th, both promising that there was a shedload of money round the corner, you’ll see, we just need a bit more time. Notts County tried that line before Christmas. And it worked. And remarkably, on March 10th, it worked again. Twice. It seemed Cardiff had found the £1.7m they owed after their February hearing. Newspaper headlines such as “Land sale saves City” and “Land sale to pay tax bill” hinted that the sale of land...

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