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Fan Zone 21/07/2023




With the new football season a matter of weeks away and the pre-season for every club in full swing, it’s the build up to the opening fixture that excites every football fan. The hopes and anticipation that this is going to be your club’s time in the limelight.

Well, maybe not for those long suffering Southend United fans as their club appears to be dying in front of them as their existence continues to be in doubt.

On Saturday, as their second scheduled friendly (at Billericay Town) was called off, fans spent the day in protest outside the owner Ron Martin’s home.

“It is time for this matter to be brought to a swift conclusion with a clear public deadline and consequences.” This is the view of the Shrimpers Trust who want the National League to set Southend a public deadline as the club continue their battle to start the new season.

In a statement issued before the weekend, the Trust said, “In summary, following Wednesday’s statement from the owner, we have little faith that he will be able to resolve the matter before the next adjourned court hearing in 42 days.”

For Southend to fulfil their fixtures they must pay all debts to HMRC - £275,000 - and football creditors, including all club employees, in line with National League rules.

Commenting on Saturday’s protest the Trust confirmed, “The damage that Ron Martin has done to our beloved football club is unforgivable and he must pay his debts and leave now.”

Full credit to the York City Supporters Trust for their bucket collection before their match with Middlesborough to raise funds for Southend.

This is an ever changing story with further developments likely.


Meanwhile, there’s trouble brewing in Berkshire where Maidenhead United are looking to move from York Road, their ground being the oldest continuously-used senior football ground in the world by the same club since 1871.

The club is planning to move to a new complex at Braywick where Maidenhead Rugby club play and whose chairman has cast doubts on the plans causing the football club’s chairman to respond in the local press.

It would seem that York Road requires investment of millions of pounds to improve both the spectator and wider stadium facilities but these are deemed not possible hence the need to move.

Just goes to underline how important it is for everyone to be involved in a club moving to a new stadium.


Pre-Season Crowd Watch: Chesterfield v Sheffield United 9,476, Gateshead v Newcastle United 7,200, Havant & Waterlooville v Portsmouth 4,250, Gainsborough Trinity v Man Utd XI 2,510 and Mousehole v Dorking Wanderers 447.

Torquay played their second pre-season friendly behind closed doors against a strong Championship side Bristol City. Final score was a 6-2 defeat but a first half performance ending 2-2 pleased the manager with Gary Johnson hinting this side was his strongest, although it was without Dawson, Moxey and Marshall for the second week running, also missing from Tuesday’s Plymouth friendly. Moxey and Marshall are recovering from operations but Dawson’s absence is unexplained.

Social media sleuths did discover that one of the trialists was defender Finley Craske recently released by Plymouth Argyle after spending some of last season on loan at Yeovil Town and Truro City. He certainly didn’t do any harm to his chances of getting a contract after his performance on Tuesday.

United’s loyal support - 3,585 inside the ground - got to see the ‘new’ squad at Tuesday night’s friendly at Plainmoor against local rivals Championship Plymouth Argyle gaining a well deserved 1-1 draw. Brad Ash scoring his first, hopefully of many, goal at home.

And on Saturday League 1 Exeter City come to TQ1. After that it’s Southampton B who lost 3-1 at Oxford United over the weekend and whose manager has just taken over at Forest Green.


Ex-Gull Watch: He’s likely to be remembered as the sub being subbed and following release by both Plymouth and Torquay before joining Oxford City helping them to promotion to the National League, striker Kladi Lolos has just secured a two year deal at League 2 side Crawley Town.


For those of you who subscribe, BT Sports is now known as TNT Sports and as well as showing National League matches are also televising some National South fixtures.

With United’s Women’s side playing National League football this coming season, women’s football takes centre stage as the Women’s World Cup started on Thursday with England playing their opening match on Saturday on ITV. All matches are shared between the BBC and ITV.

You can contact the Fans’ Zone: or Twitter: @FanszoneT.





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