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May 24, 2008
North Wales
First of all, may I remind us of our name: "The Southend United Football Club".

Within those five words is a huge amount of meaning, however, the two key words are "UNITED" and "CLUB". I was rewatching "The Team We Call United" the other day and it reminded me of what it is to be a Southend United supporter. A supporter of a club whose fans helped build the ground that we call Roots Hall.

I know it's not particularly fashionable, but at the end of the day, we are supposed to be a club. Unfortunately, the natural successor to the original Southend United Supporters Club (the Trust) appears to have forgotten what it is that ties us all together and how it is that we can get out of the mess that we're in. I believe that we, the supporters, need to have a manifesto with clear goals. Our primary goal of course should be to take back our Football Club for benefit of the community at large - not just the Chairman. Perhaps the directors of ShrimperZone could set up sum kind of forum/sticky post where we can put together a Supporters Manifesto, which, ideally the Trust should then drive forward.

There are things that we can do now to protect the future of our club. The first amongst which is to ask the shareholders to demand an Extraordinary General Meeting. Surely this cannot be that difficult to do.

Secondly, the trust needs to step up to the plate. I live in North Wales and therefore cannot practically take an active part in the life of the trust. If I still lived in Southend I would bust a gut to shake things up and wake up the sleeping giant that is the Trust. I am afraid that I have to agree with what certain other people have said about the Trust being almost Masonic in its works, however, now is not the time to criticise, now is the time for action.

With respect to what the Trust can do, I do not believe that handing over money to be frittered away is the way forward. The Trust should however be helping with reducing the day to day costs of running the football club. Whilst I do not want anybody to lose their jobs within the club, the reality is that it will have to happen one way or another.

Therefore, the Trust should be working in partnership with the club in ways such as taking over the running of the ticket office, starting by changing the answer phone message. I cannot see why the Trust running the ticket office cannot be achievable, almost running like a charity shop with volunteers. In addition if fans were actively encouraged to purchase their tickets on the internet rather than by phone, this would reduce the administration of tickets to a minimum. In addition, it needs to be made easier to buy tickets to away games.

Roots Hall has facilities within in it which need to be used on a daily basis to generate income for the Club. From that point of view, the Trust should be actively working with our Commercial Manager to boost the day to day income of the club by actively promoting the facilities that we do have. The greatest problem that any club has is the close season when there are quite literally no bums on seats.

As I understand it, basic things within the club are not being done - for example I believe that the sponsorship money from The Exiled Shrimpers hasn't been collected. Why not? If this is the case, are the club actively pursuing and collecting sponsorship monies from our pitchside advertisers? I fear I know the answer.

Finally, I believe that pressure needs to be put on Ron to be open about the problems we've got. Only by openness can problems be solved. Ron will keep his head in the sand while there is no real pressure. We need to support the players on the pitch for 90 minutes, however, outside of these times the pressure needs to be applied to Ron to come clean and tell us what the situation really is. I firmly believe that in this regard, we need to write an open letter to Ron which needs to be published in The Echo, which I am sure that they will help with. Remember - if Southend go down the swanny they'll sell a lot less papers.

Thats all for now.