Martin: 'Sainsbury's are the perfect partner but they don't want to run a football club'
19 April 2010 04:10
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So, according to the word of Blues chairman Ron Martin, the taxman's been paid, the new ground's on track, and Sainsbury's only want you to buy their groceries. Martin: 'The best way of getting success is to keep supporting the club'Everything's OK, Uncle Ron has finally paid the bill, or the 'major retailer' known as Sainsbury's have.The Shrimpers supremo told the Echo £400,000 had been paid to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and there was never any chance of going into administration, confirming the S24 report from the scene last week.So that's that, for now.Martin said, quoted on www.southendunited.co.uk: "I'd imagine the money will be in their account long before the hearing next Wednesday. And our tax bill is entirely up to date. Clubs don't get wound up. I know Chester City did, but they probably didn't have any assets. The usual step is administration. But we have paid our debts. And while I'm in control, that will always be the case." Roots Hall cica 2012Fair enough Ron, but the involvement of Sainsbury's so closely in our financial affairs set alarm bells ringing amongst many of the Shrimper faithful.Southend's chairman insisted if it hadn't been them, he could have got someone else!Ron again: "But they are the perfect partner. We are very entrepreneurial and innovative. If we can't find one way round the system, we will find another."Anyway, it was all there in black and white, Sainsbury's have already coughed up £2.5 million, and has guaranteed a further £3 million towards the regeneration of the town as part of the Fossetts Farm development.That's a lot of dosh, it must be one hell of a big store planned!But don't be concerned, they won't be trying to pick the team!Ron continued: "They are a specialist in their industry. The last thing they want to be involved in is the running of a football club. Afther three years of being in a relationship I would like to think, there's a degree of trust."That trust involves a stadium that he is hoping, in the present market, to keep within a range of £40 million, but when the whole development is added, shops, hotel, and more than a 100 homes, you are looking at over £100 million.The funding for the new stadium, which will have a sponsor, (any guesses?), will be funded totally by the sale of Roots Hall to the retailer, with work planning to start in the summer and taking 17 to 18 months to build.That Kevin Maher testimonial may be played around Christmas 2011 then, but I'm sure ex-Captain Kev will wait until the summer of the following year, the 2012/13 season looking the most likely time to move in.Finally, Chairman Ron patted the fans on the back of the head, telling us to cough up our season ticket money, and leave those silly financial issues all to him.He concluded: "Supporters get concerned about a whole spectrum of issues, some of which never arise. I think we have a fantastic supporter base and they will be loyal to the cause. The entire business plan is predictated on the new stadium. If we didn't progress we could stay here in League One or Two and be OK. But if we want the club to mature we have to have a bigger stadium and better facilities and attract a bigger supporter base."I'll let this all sink in while planning my weekend in Morecambe next season.