‘Ryan Reynolds never had to deal with this’: the slow death and (possible) rebirth of Southend United

02 May 2024 04:00
In 20 years, this Essex club has tumbled down the leagues and seen its ground fall apart. Is a revival finally coming – or will hopes be dashed again?The Bentley was not on the driveway. By now, after nine months of protests, the Southend United fans knew that meant Ron Martin wasn’t home. Martin is the chairman of Southend United FC, and his almost 25 years in charge are widely seen – both by fans and more dispassionate observers – as one of the most disastrous chairmanships in modern football. Since 2007, Southend have sunk from the English game’s second tier, the Championship, down to the third and then the fourth. In 2021, the club fell out of the league entirely for the first time in its history. At this final indignity, a plaque at the Blue Boar pub, which marks the site where the club was founded in 1906, was painted over with the letters RIP.On the late September day I attended, about 40 or 50 fans were amassed on the pavement outside Martin’s residence. A large coniferous tree dwarfed the two security guards who idled on the driveway. When fans had started protesting outside Martin’s house in early 2023, a few brought bags of beer as if it was an away day. The organisers, Southend Fan Protest Group, soon put a stop to this. If they were serious about their objectives – summarised by their banner, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. PAY UP. PACK UP. SELL UP” – they needed to do it properly. They replaced the cans with flyers, and their cause picked up more supporters. Continue reading......read full article

Source: TheGuardian