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A Century United

Firewalking for HD
Jan 26, 2007
There is a concerted campaign going on to drive Ron Martin out of business and deny him the chance to build Martin's Mall at Fosset's Farm. So what? Martin has a reputation for making enemies and saying what people want to hear while doing things they'd rather he didn't. Not many people would shed a tear if this campaign succeeds.

But there is a fly in the ointment - if Martin fails, then there will be no new Stadium for Southend United. Not even three quarters of one - and that spells doom for our club. Sadly, it seems that the people who want to see Martin given the bum's rush are quite happy to accept that as "collateral damage". I am not.

Bernie Friend's retelling of what is alleged to be Chris Philip's story of dreadful things bearing down on the Good Ship Martin is one symptom of this (No, I don't think CP and BF are conspirators but I do think they are being nicely manipulated). So why is this campaign (which has simmered on and off ever since the Blue Knights failed in their takeover attempt) boiling up again? It is because Southend Council are about to consider the latest re-writing of the Martin Plan for Fosset's. And it is designed squarely to influence Councillors in advance of that meeting. If this campaign succeeds, our club is done. Finished. It may seem nicely romantic to talk about a "phoenix club", of starting again at the bottom, all matey fans pulling together to build the club up again from nothing, but it is likely to be a fantasy. We would have nowhere to play. Nowhere to build a new stadium. And no guarantee of success. Best avoided if at all possible.

So what can we do about it? We can put aside our differences, put also to one side our (pretty understandable) dislike of our Chairman, and start lobbying our councillors, and lobbying hard - and the Trust must take a lead in this, not least by posting councillors emails so we can lobby our representatives directly. Having a successful League Club in the Town is a real asset, from bringing in trade to building the Town's profile - most Towns and Cities understand this, and it is up to us to make sure our Councillors do too.

One of our most influential posters and supporters has been saying lately that he no longer worries, and what will be will be. That is understandable - but it is playing into the hands of people who would happily destroy our club to see Martin fail, and that cannot be tolerated. I have no desire or appetite to line RM's pockets but if that is the price that has to be paid to secure the future of the club we ALL love then so be it.

Let's start making ourselves heard!