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TrueBlue

Save Our Southend
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
22,504
Location
Hockley now on loan to Rayleigh
Chairman's Blog

Firstly before I deal with Q&A there are one or two things to clear up.



The first relates to Peter Clarke and an article in today’s Echo. In last week’s blog I set out the position, once again, surrounding Peter but for the record there have been no discussions with Peter about him renewing his contract since he and I me in my office, following the window closing, on 10th September 2008.



At that time Peter wanted to focus on his football which I respected and to keep his options open until the end of this season. Before the start of the season, i.e. July 2008, we made it clear to Peter’s agent that we would be interested in extending his current contract but here again the agent wished to keep Peter Clarke’s options open and would not engage in discussions on his behalf at that time.



It was for this reason Peter was placed on the transfer list, in August 2008, for clearly with the clock running down he would have no value to the Club at the end of this season – which is now the case (the Club paid £300k for Peter going into the Championship). Whilst we would have extended his contract in July last year we are now saying we still want Peter to remain at Southend United and wish to talk to him about a new contract. With just two remaining games hopefully we can have those formal discussions with Peter and his agent soon.



I have been unequivocal and consistent and I hope once again I have made it clear that Southend United would like Peter Clarke to stay at Southend United. Whether terms can be agreed I do not know but I hope so.



The BBC website took this out of context by referring to conversations that were had in July 2008 but making them sound as if they were conducted in the last week or two and on the back of that the Echo article of today has appeared. Finally, Steve Tilson yesterday reiterated to Peter that we would like to talk to him about a new contract and I understand has put the Echo straight as well.



After dealing with negative things I would like to move onto more positive things but right now that is not the case.



Since last Saturday’s match against Leicester City (including on Sunday) I have received a number of emails about the Leicester City fans who occupied corporate boxes above the East Black section of the ground and also the fracas which took place in the north end of the West Stand. I of course cannot be involved in everything that goes on in the Football Club but certainly do not mind people writing to me directly if they have got a concern and will always try to help. I have therefore investigated the position particularly in regard to the West Stand “activity” having reviewed very carefully earlier this afternoon the relevant part of the security video which is about 20 minutes duration. I then spoke to the police who confirmed that four Leicester City fans were sitting in the Southend section block W – I guess quietly trying to keep their heads down knowing that they should not have been sitting there.



No one is going to tell me that this is an unusual occurrence for whenever the away clubs allocation is sold out there is always an attempt by fans to creep in under the radar. This is not so difficult to do and no amount of questioning or trying to control such a situation will capture every away fan if they are truly intent on getting into the ground to watch their team. Our ticket office staff are trained to prevent these situations but not every Leicester City fan has a Leicester accent or lives in Leicester, and certainly would not declare “I am a Leicester City supporter”! Obviously if they were wearing colours they would never have got into those seats in the first place.



In answer to some of the points which people have written to me about; Geoffrey King and Dave Jobson were given information by the authorities and reported that in good faith. Having read Geoffrey’s statement myself yesterday I could never understand that Southend fans would be fighting amongst themselves and after now speaking to the authorities they now accept that this was probably a misunderstanding and may have looked as such with “Southend supporters scrambling across the seats in the melee”.



As I say, having looked at the video, I can see absolutely no evidence of Southend fans fighting amongst each other and why would we? We are all working to the same end, you, I and the Club, and that is to ensure that we remain Southend United. I have said many times how proud I am of Southend fans and I do not want anything to undermine our brilliant, and growing, reputation. That said, of course we will not condone violence and as Geoff says, if a situation arises where our fans are to blame then I would not hesitate in banning that person or persons from the Club.



Still, that does not appear to be the case here and I would like to put this behind us. I will however be reviewing the already stringent policing of ticket sales and will never again be allowing the Club to sell corporate boxes to away fans irrespective of how much reassurance our commercial department staff may receive as we did on this occasion from Virgin Media.



We are a family Club and I intend to make sure that we are sending out the right messages to the growing number of families that we attract.



Last week’s blog was too long and therefore I will just be answering a few questions this week in view of what I say above:





Can you give an assurance that your good-self is committed to Southend United for the long-term future, after the new stadium is up and running?

Matthew Marsh



Certainly I have no intention of stepping down after the stadium is completed for I might actually begin to enjoy life a little more. At the moment whilst Saturday afternoons are great, achieving our objectives is, as one supporter recently suggested, “like pushing water uphill with a fork”. I thought that was a very apt description although this week some major building blocks which were anticipated have now been buttoned down.



In particular I am very pleased with the proactive approach from Southend Borough Council in recognition of the Club’s importance to the Town and the level of investment that is being made by ourselves and Sainsbury’s.



In further answer to your question; at the end of the day I am only a custodian of your Football Club but I do have ambitions to ensure the Club’s sustained success which will come about through the stadium development and our future growth which I would like to head up.





When SUFC move to new stadium will they be keeping their excellent ground staff or will the care of the pitch be contracted out as some Clubs do.

Maisie



We have no plans to change the Club’s ground staff. I agree with you, Ken Hare and his colleagues are excellent and there are certainly no plans to contract out.





1) In the new stadium will there be a 'museum room' dedicated to the history of Southend United old programmes, team kits of yester-year etc…

2) In the new stadium will there be any 'flash advertising' around the ground. I find this not only distracting to the game but some fans (me included) are allergic to it.

Douglas Shaw





1. I think a “museum room” is a good idea and perhaps fans can let us know, possibly via Shrimpers Trust, and I will do my best to ensure we organise something of which everyone can be proud.



2. If you mean by “flash advertising” the LED screens that we often see on TV the answer is yes I am considering these. It is not an item which is high on the agenda at present and we will be first investigating whether there is potential distraction for players, or indeed fans for that matter. I assume you do not really mean allergic, moreover you simply do not like them. If you come out in spots let me know!





My question is regarding the quote 'we would want to bring as much comfort to our supporters as possible'.

Having been to MKDons stadium and as such having sat in their seats, I really didn't enjoy the experience. The seats were indeed very comfortable, reasonably large and padded.

However, for me this isn't football. It's one thing not being able to stand at games (I understand the reasons behind this), but turning football into a real spectator sport, in a way that you feel as though you're not involved, you feel just like you're at the cinema is just plain wrong. For me I wouldn't ever want that, I want plastic seats if we have seats at all, nothing fancy.

I realise you didn't directly say you are considering padded seats, but I wanted to make sure that the idea wasn't one you were considering as I think it would be poor for the noise levels at the game (you don't feel like shouting at a cinema, do you?) and poor for the football fan experience.

If indeed the quote has nothing to do with padded seats and more to do with sufficient leg-room then of course I agree with that, as long as the fans are still close to the pitch, as you have previously stated.

If you are unsure as to the general supporters opinion I'll gladly attempt to gather a petition in favour of the plastic seats, as I'm confident the consensus will be.

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions and for being a top class chairman.
Fred Rivett





In terms of seat comfort we have designed the stadium to provide what is known as C90 visibility which should avoid the possibility of a restricted view i.e. even if a person of 6’4” is sitting in the seat in front, you will still be able to see over their head. To go with this the distance between the seat in front will be a minimum of 80cm and I can tell you that both these specifications reflect that adopted at the new Wembley.



I note you do not like “padded seats” but I would suspect you may be in the minority. It is very early days to be selecting seats although I have seen a number of ranges on my travels. Suffice to say what we will not be installing is flimsy plastic seats which bend at the edges if you do not sit squarely.



We intend, again via the Shrimpers Trust, to conduct surveys on various issues surrounding the stadium specification, particularly the touchy/feely bits, and perhaps they can include a heading on seating. If the survey comes out with seats different from those proposed then we will take account of supporters’ views. I am not here to impose my ideas on everybody and whilst I do not expect to keep everyone happy all of the time I do my best to accommodate the majority. Fred, you should perhaps appreciate that seat technology does move on and every time a new stadium is built the manufacturers try to cater for the masses having conducted their own extensive surveys etc.



As regard to the acoustics, we have spent some time ensuring that we not only achieve a good atmosphere in the bowl environment but also that there is limited breakout as we would want to lessen as far as reasonably possible disturbance to neighbouring properties trying to harbour as much sound within the building itself. These issues have been computer modelled and I only hope they work in practice - what we create at Roots Hall needs to be preserved and enhanced. I can confirm that fans will be close to the pitch as I have previously stated. In fact again this will be very similar to Roots Hall in that respect.


Up the Blues!



Ron Martin
Chairman,
Southend United Football Club
 

TrueBlue

Save Our Southend
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
22,504
Location
Hockley now on loan to Rayleigh
As I say, having looked at the video, I can see absolutely no evidence of Southend fans fighting amongst each other and why would we? We are all working to the same end, you, I and the Club, and that is to ensure that we remain Southend United. I have said many times how proud I am of Southend fans and I do not want anything to undermine our brilliant, and growing, reputation. That said, of course we will not condone violence and as Geoff says, if a situation arises where our fans are to blame then I would not hesitate in banning that person or persons from the Club.


NO EVIDENCE SAYS RON!!!!

King you have to go now!
 

manor15

Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
8,288
We paid £300k for Clarkey?! I thought it was £200k or £250k or something around there. Good to see he is being honest and wanting to put everything straight. The museum idea for the new stadium is a good one
 

manor15

Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Joined
Aug 13, 2008
Messages
8,288
Also glad to see that Ron wants to keep the stands close to the pitch, I love that about Roots Hall and hate grounds where you are miles away, coughBRIGHTONcough
 

OldBlueLady

Junior Blues Coordinator⭐
Joined
Dec 27, 2007
Messages
47,924
Location
Benfleet
Fantastic bit of spiel there! He's deflected all the blame and come up smelling of roses. King has to offer a full retraction now, absolutely has to or his position is completely untenable.
 

Norfolkshrimp

First XI
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
390
Fantastic bit of spiel there! He's deflected all the blame and come up smelling of roses. King has to offer a full retraction now, absolutely has to or his position is completely untenable.

Agree

It's obvious then that King and Jobson made their statements / comments without viewing the tape, how unprofessional is that ! How can a Chief Exec make such statements without having FACTS to back it up. Obviously just went on more police lies, how unlike the police to lie !

I note there is no mention of Jobson's outburst about the cost of the police either.

I doubt they will be sacked without the fans taking much stronger action to leave RM in no doubt as to how upset some people are over these accusations. I was not sitting in that part of the ground but will fully support any action taken by those involved. Petition, protest, boycott, whatever it takes.

RM cannot be allowed to brush this one under the carpet, pathetic response so far Ron.
 

Benji91

American Idol
Joined
Jan 25, 2007
Messages
806
Location
NYC
Err, no offence to Mr Martin intended, but I assume he hasn't heard of epilepsy judging by his remarks on flash advertising.

Its not an allergy though is it - the flashing lights can trigger seizures, but as far as i am aware doesnt bring out swelling, sneezing or any of the other immune based symptons allergies do. But im not a Dr, so what would i know.
 

SportBilly

Youth Team
Joined
Feb 20, 2009
Messages
230
Err, no offence to Mr Martin intended, but I assume he hasn't heard of epilepsy judging by his remarks on flash advertising.


'Allergic' was the word used in the question regarding flash advertising, not 'epilepsy'. I think it was a good friendly retort from Ron. Stop getting your knickers in such a twist.
 

fredheim_holm

Where art thou Tes
Joined
Mar 3, 2006
Messages
8,138
Location
London
I want cushioned seats.

Fred out! :D
You ponse I_S :D

Look at you lot, you need to man up and get with the plastic times ;)

My question is regarding the quote 'we would want to bring as much comfort to our supporters as possible'.

Having been to MKDons stadium and as such having sat in their seats, I really didn't enjoy the experience. The seats were indeed very comfortable, reasonably large and padded.

However, for me this isn't football. It's one thing not being able to stand at games (I understand the reasons behind this), but turning football into a real spectator sport, in a way that you feel as though you're not involved, you feel just like you're at the cinema is just plain wrong. For me I wouldn't ever want that, I want plastic seats if we have seats at all, nothing fancy.

I realise you didn't directly say you are considering padded seats, but I wanted to make sure that the idea wasn't one you were considering as I think it would be poor for the noise levels at the game (you don't feel like shouting at a cinema, do you?) and poor for the football fan experience.

If indeed the quote has nothing to do with padded seats and more to do with sufficient leg-room then of course I agree with that, as long as the fans are still close to the pitch, as you have previously stated.

If you are unsure as to the general supporters opinion I'll gladly attempt to gather a petition in favour of the plastic seats, as I'm confident the consensus will be.

Thank you for taking the time to read my questions and for being a top class chairman.
Fred Rivett





In terms of seat comfort we have designed the stadium to provide what is known as C90 visibility which should avoid the possibility of a restricted view i.e. even if a person of 6’4” is sitting in the seat in front, you will still be able to see over their head. To go with this the distance between the seat in front will be a minimum of 80cm and I can tell you that both these specifications reflect that adopted at the new Wembley.



I note you do not like “padded seats” but I would suspect you may be in the minority. It is very early days to be selecting seats although I have seen a number of ranges on my travels. Suffice to say what we will not be installing is flimsy plastic seats which bend at the edges if you do not sit squarely.



We intend, again via the Shrimpers Trust, to conduct surveys on various issues surrounding the stadium specification, particularly the touchy/feely bits, and perhaps they can include a heading on seating. If the survey comes out with seats different from those proposed then we will take account of supporters’ views. I am not here to impose my ideas on everybody and whilst I do not expect to keep everyone happy all of the time I do my best to accommodate the majority. Fred, you should perhaps appreciate that seat technology does move on and every time a new stadium is built the manufacturers try to cater for the masses having conducted their own extensive surveys etc.



As regard to the acoustics, we have spent some time ensuring that we not only achieve a good atmosphere in the bowl environment but also that there is limited breakout as we would want to lessen as far as reasonably possible disturbance to neighbouring properties trying to harbour as much sound within the building itself. These issues have been computer modelled and I only hope they work in practice - what we create at Roots Hall needs to be preserved and enhanced. I can confirm that fans will be close to the pitch as I have previously stated. In fact again this will be very similar to Roots Hall in that respect.


Up the Blues!



Ron Martin
Chairman,
Southend United Football Club
That's a fair reply.

To be honest when I wrote it I thought most would agree with me. I'm happy for there to be padded seats as long as that's what the fans want, I assume that's what they have at Wembley.

Really didn't like it at MKDonalds though.

Cheers for the reply Ron.
 

Bluesmanager

I'm a Barbie Girl
Joined
Nov 20, 2004
Messages
5,480
Location
Somewhere where the weather isn't killing me
'Allergic' was the word used in the question regarding flash advertising, not 'epilepsy'. I think it was a good friendly retort from Ron. Stop getting your knickers in such a twist.

I'm not, I'm merely saying that this is what could have been implied by the questioner, as a serious question, and if this was the case, the question should not have been answered in such an informal manner.
 

SportBilly

Youth Team
Joined
Feb 20, 2009
Messages
230
I'm not, I'm merely saying that this is what could have been implied by the questioner, as a serious question, and if this was the case, the question should not have been answered in such an informal manner.

Fairly do's, it just made me laugh 'allergy'
 

ElstreeBlue

Coach
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
601
Location
Elstree
I've just stopped laughing. This is backpedalling of the highest order. So no evidence of the fans fighting each other after all? What was in the statement the other day - they were reviewing CCTV to identify the Southend fans who were fighting? Mr King should have been absolutely clear of the facts of such strong allegations before putting out a statement virtually declaring war on the so-called troublemaking fans. This was a massive PR disaster and Ron knows it. No more heated accusations now either of our fans having cost the club money on police costs for a game where the police should have already had a visible presence when trouble was on the cards (at least when it was clear that spirits were getting high and there had been mixed seating allocations). After there was apparently no evidence to back up the statement the other day, Ron now wants to put everything behind us.

Note the veiled implications that Ron is not responsible for the bad mistakes that other people at the football club make (just as with the blog that dealt with the Foran situation). "I of course cannot be involved in everything that goes on in the Football Club." That's absolutely true, but it can also be very convenient. We all know that Mr King and not Ron put out the statement the other day. Did Ron not see or discuss in advance such an important public statement by a senior board member criticising the fans? We don't know. But it's interesting how it's now Ron who comes out with the soft appeasing statements showing he's really a friend of the fans. Good guy, bad guy approach?

What concerns me most is that despite the blogs having been run for weeks, there is STILL no attempt to answer the fundamental questions over the club's financial future that some of us have asked. What is the financial model for the club after the move to the new stadium (and not the financial benefits for Ron's other property companies)? On what basis is the new stadium complex going to generate a lot of money for the club to spend on the team which (we are told) will be sufficient to sustain the club as an established Championship club going forward? What is the financial long-term future for the club after we have moved to the new stadium? Why have these questions still not been answered?
 

TrueBlue

Save Our Southend
Joined
Oct 26, 2003
Messages
22,504
Location
Hockley now on loan to Rayleigh
I've just stopped laughing. This is backpedalling of the highest order. So no evidence of the fans fighting each other after all? What was in the statement the other day - they were reviewing CCTV to identify the Southend fans who were fighting? Mr King should have been absolutely clear of the facts of such strong allegations before putting out a statement virtually declaring war on the so-called troublemaking fans. This was a massive PR disaster and Ron knows it. No more heated accusations now either of our fans having cost the club money on police costs for a game where the police should have already had a visible presence when trouble was on the cards (at least when it was clear that spirits were getting high and there had been mixed seating allocations). After there was apparently no evidence to back up the statement the other day, Ron now wants to put everything behind us.

Note the veiled implications that Ron is not responsible for the bad mistakes that other people at the football club make (just as with the blog that dealt with the Foran situation). "I of course cannot be involved in everything that goes on in the Football Club." That's absolutely true, but it can also be very convenient. We all know that Mr King and not Ron put out the statement the other day. Did Ron not see or discuss in advance such an important public statement by a senior board member criticising the fans? We don't know. But it's interesting how it's now Ron who comes out with the soft appeasing statements showing he's really a friend of the fans. Good guy, bad guy approach?

What concerns me most is that despite the blogs having been run for weeks, there is STILL no attempt to answer the fundamental questions over the club's financial future that some of us have asked. What is the financial model for the club after the move to the new stadium (and not the financial benefits for Ron's other property companies)? On what basis is the new stadium complex going to generate a lot of money for the club to spend on the team which (we are told) will be sufficient to sustain the club as an established Championship club going forward? What is the financial long-term future for the club after we have moved to the new stadium? Why have these questions still not been answered?

Would you want to see Mr King leave?
 
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