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The sale of SUFC: a chronology

Yorkshire Blue

Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Oct 27, 2003
Jan 16th - accounts registered for RHL and Elounda, signed by Jack Martin. Accounts for SUFC, Martin Dawn, SEL remain overdue

Feb 27th players finally receive January’s wages.

Feb 28th club statement issued saying monies owed to HMRC under the petition paid in full ahead of winding up hearing next day.

March 1st - charges created over SUFC and RHL (all amounts owing to RHL by SUFC) in favour CBRE Loan Services Ltd. (Was this the working capital injection?)

March 1st - Martin Dawn (Leckhampton) Ltd, a Ron company is wound up over debts (thought to be in millions) to HMRC

March 14th - Martin Dawn plc ceases to have significant control over SEL per Companies House

March 17th - RM announced club up for sale

March 24th - SEL and Mezcal take charges out over SUFC signed by Ron Martin and Gary Lockett relating to a novation of £3,256,166 (SEL) and £9,675,227 (Mezcal) loan agreements on or about this date

April 3rd - HMRC issue latest winding up petition over unpaid tax

April 4th National League threaten to withhold licence unless submit accounts, pay all football creditors and discharge HMRC debt

April 19th NL advise recommendation will be to refuse licence

April 20th - an Investment Memorandum signed with interested parties

May 5th NL say will grant conditional licence if accounts submitted by 31st May, football creditors and HMRC paid

May 17th - HMRC winding up petition adjourned for 56 days (until July 12th) pending a sale. PG Site Services, Engie and an unnamed third party joined it.

May 24th - the Athletic break the news that Kimura are front runners

May 26th - club put out statement stating NDAs and Heads of Terms have been issued to three interested parties but no exclusivity period had been granted.

May 31st - validation order sought and granted by court to allow players and accountants to be paid. Accounts filed for 2020 and 2021.

June 1st - per Matt Slater of Athletic Ron accepts Kimura offer subject to contract

June 5th - NL deadline for paying off HMRC but extension being sought and seemingly granted. Court unfreezes bank accounts, suggesting credible evidence provided of takeover.

June 30th - players not paid June’s salary

July 3rd - players go on strike. They train away from the club.

July 7th - Canvey fixture rearranged with players not training

July 9th - players paid June wages but management, physio and staff remain unpaid

July 12th - 42 day extension granted by Court. Court told payment plan agreed with NPower (personally guaranteed by RM). PG Site Services support extension.

July 13th - NL meet to decide fate.

July 14th - friendly v Billericay cancelled as unable to put out a team

July 15th - RM publishes terms for sale: shares for £1 and 3 years rent free at RH

July 17th - an increasingly desperate RM publishes revised sale terms he could accept: shares for £1, RH for £4.5m over 3 years, training ground for cost

July 20th - Kimura come out and say they’re not right party to lead this but could join other interested parties

July 21st - Court grants permission to pay football debts of £300,000 required to keep National League licence. The sole friendly scheduled at Roots Hall is cancelled - the third such match to go

July 22nd - two weeks before the season starts the club completes their first pre-season match (there had been a previous match behind closed doors) away at NL North Bishop’s Stortford.

July 23rd NL writes that will not recommend licence is refused if pay all football debts by next day and HMRC by 23rd Aug. Warn that will be a condition of the licence to pay football creditors and HMRC in time and any failure would result in a points deduction

July 24th Club pay football creditors

July 25th - after the court approved payment on Friday and a three, and in some cases four, month wait for wages long suffering staff are finally paid. The club completes it pre-season programme with a friendly at Isthmian League Canvey.

July 26th - NL issue statement saying football debts satisfied and they’ve issued a licence to allow the club to participate in 2023/24 season subject to (a) HMRC debt being settled in full by 23rd August and (b) no more late HMRC or football debts this season. Failure to do so will result in automatic 10 point penalty.

July 29th - Academy star player Henry Sandat leaves. The youngster who broke through to the first team last season was unable to be offered a professional contract because of the embargo that has been in place since September. Meanwhile there’s no friendly to play. Fans continue to protest outside the chairman’s home.

July 30th - over 100 fans descend on Roots Hall to try and get the stadium ready for the start of the season. The stadium is still without a safety certificate for the coming season with the NL set to rule the next day on whether the opening game can go ahead.

Aug 7th local MP Anna Firth arranged for club to train at Garons whilst problems at B&L resolved. Also raises possibility of fans buying club. Will organise meeting with council and others.

Aug 15th - Echo story that Tara Brady bid but only received an acknowledgment and nothing further elicits statement from Jez Moxey of Worldwide Sports on behalf of a rattled Ron to confirm that discussions on-going with interested parties and cautions serious parties not to speak to local media

Aug 15th - water available again at Boots and Laces

Aug 18th - water disconnected at Roots Hall, putting the next day’s match at risk

Aug 23rd - Judge Prentis grants extension until 4th October, but warns it’s the final one, pending sale to an Australian chap which RM claims in advanced stages of DD. Club statement confirmed it an Australian national was heading a consortium of local businessmen and negotiations were at an advanced stage. Chris Phillips reports the Australian is Justin Rees

Aug 23rd - National League confirms points deduction

Aug 25th - fans protest by throwing tennis balls onto the pitch during 2-0 win v Eastleigh

Aug 30th - trust issues statement saying that met with JR and Anna Firth

Aug 30th - promising youngster Jaden Crowhurst leaves a year after making his first team debut as the club can’t offer him a pro deal.

Sept 4th - Trust meets with Minister of Sport and local MP Anna Firth

Sept 7th - local council affirms support votes to explore ways of supporting club which include a loan

Sept 10th - talented youth team product Jacob Bland joins Concord as Southend can’t offer him a deal.

Sept 16th - two players sent off in a 3-0 defeat at York, leaving less than 11 players available for Tuesday night’s game. Disgruntled fans invade pitch late on.

Sept 19th - NPower seeks warrant to turn off power at Roots Hall and training ground over unpaid debts. The case before overruns and the hearing is postponed until 3rd Oct.

Sept 19th - Trust submit expression of interest in making RH a community asset

Sept 19th - club makes first signings for two weeks shy of a year with the emergency non-contract signing of Dave Martin, who last played 3 and a half years ago, and Mauro Vilhete on a dual registration from Southern Premier League South side Hayes and Yeading

Sept 19th - game v a Maidenhead is held up as fans throw plastic rats onto the pitch

Sept 20th - JR issued statement saying been in talks with RM for 10 weeks had 2 bids rejected and agreement unlikely before court hearings but remain open to talks.

Sept 21st - Trust issues statement saying they’ve held positive talks with JR but don’t know details of consortium members or their plans

Sept 23rd - hundreds and hundreds of Southend fans march on Roots Hall befor match v Fylde calling for RM to sell

Sept 24th - JR has “positive” talks with RM and JM at Emirates Stadium

Sept 26th club loses appeal against points deduction

Sept 30th Chris Phillips confirms players paid on time

Oct 2nd Shrimpers Trust published Dereliction and Decline and Anna Firth talks at a Tory Party Conference fringe event

Oct 2nd Chris Phillips reports takeover talks nearing conclusion

Oct 3rd hearing for a warrant to turn off electricity at Roots Hall and training ground adjourned with no new date set

Oct 3rd club statement saying agreement reached with consortium led by JR for sale of club and working to a completion date of 1st November.

Oct 3rd JR statement:
“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement to become the new custodians of Southend United FC.

“Whilst our advisors conduct due diligence, we will be working with Tom Lawrence, John Still and Kevin Maher to ensure we hit the ground running once the transition has formally completed.”

Oct 4th HMRC petition dismissed with club paying costs

Oct 20th Ron issues statement saying 1st Nov won’t be met as need debt to equity swap and need 21 days’ notice to shareholders. New target completion 17th Nov.

Nov 17th EGM passes resolution to enable SEL to increase shareholding to 95% believed to be part of a debt for equity swap. Ron claims “should hopefully see a conclusion of the transaction I’d say in the coming days”

Nov 22nd emerges club due back in court, this time over non-payment of energy bill. Club spokesman claims “a hearing was listed prematurely” and will be paid after takeover goes through.

Nov 30th - Chris Phillips confirms players were paid.

Dec 5th - following pressure from supporter group and talk of more protests the consortium release a statement stating “due diligence complete” and that the “the last of the outstanding matters between Ron Martin and the consortium have now been resolved”. The statement also confirms that due diligence did uncover issues.

Dec 19th - deal reportedly agreed between RM and council leader regarding the residential development at Fossetts to allow deal to proceed.

Dec 23rd club announces contracts exchanged 15 minutes before Kidderminster away game. The sale is conditional on “Southend Council’s approval of certain property transactions that are required to facilitate the Club staying at Roots Hall. Those terms have been agreed and we expect the Club ownership will formally transfer in early 2024.”

Dec 28th NL announce embargo lifted after 16 months.

Apr 3rd Consortium statement issued ahead of expected winding up period states two main conditions remain outstanding: the completion of the council’s diligence process and the consent of the Martin’s’ finance partner.

Apr 4th winding up petition published in Gazette over unpaid legal fees from Stewarts LLP.

Apr 8th Stewarts LLP agree to adjourn winding up petition until May 15th. Ron Martin expects sale will have completed by then.

Apr 17th/18th - Special policy and resources committee and cabinet meetings will be held on Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the final details of the new homes at Fossetts Farm
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Does this need an update for unpaid June wages and players strike?
prob needs another update what with Kimura dropping out, Tara Brady, the magnificent 7 and the mystery Aussies @Yorkshire Blue
There’s only speculation on the secret seven and the mystery Aussies. We don’t know at what stage they are at, who they are, when they became interested etc so where do they fit into the chronology?

Kimura dropping out is already up there.

I’ll add up Tara Brady mainly because it elicited a statement from Ron. It doesn’t particularly add much as it was historical and we don’t knew when and isn’t being pursued.