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Fan Zone 26/05/2023


UNCERTAINTY CONTINUES AT SOUTHEND BUT SIGNS OF BETTER TIMES AT YEOVIL


DAWSON AND STOBBS SIGN UP AS SUPPORTERS’ HOPES INCREASE


UNITED’S UNDER-18S LOOKING TO DO THE DOUBLE AGAIN



Whilst Torquay United contemplate life in National South for the second time in recent years let’s look at the fortunes of two other clubs who really should be playing in leagues higher than they will be next season - Southend United and Yeovil Town.


It’s doom and gloom for one and high hopes for the other.


Firstly, the Shrimpers, as Southend are affectionately known. They were in the High Court last Wednesday for the 18th time in the last 25 years for a winding-up petition brought by HMRC. The situation under owner Ron Martin, who recently put the club up for sale, seems to lurch from one disaster to another. This time the club owes the revenue £250,000 and the judge in the case looked at one point as if he was going to pull the plug on the club but in the end ordered a 56 day adjournment.


At present the team’s manager, Kevin Maher, cannot offer any of his players new contracts and neither can he sign any. Added to that staff at the club haven’t been paid for March and April.


No football fan wants to see a club go out of business but one has to question why Southend have been to the brink on so many occasions. And if they have breached the rules will the National League board take any action?


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By contrast there is happier news from Yeovil Town whose long suffering fans have seen the back of previous stay-away owner Scott Priestnall, with the news that local businessman Martin Hellier, owner of Somerset based investment fund company the Hellier Group, has bought the club.


Within minutes of taking over Hellier confirmed the club would remain full-time and manager Mark Cooper would be staying on to hopefully return Yeovil to the National League at the first time of asking.


There’s also the promise of £2million investment into the club and a return to full engagement with supporters’ groups.


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With United, Maidstone and Havant & Waterlooville all full-time it promises to be a competitive league. And United manager Gary Johnson must be delighted that he has forteen players already under contract for the new season including two who were previously on loan and made a big impression - Kevin Dawson and Jack Stobbs.


Fans are also pleased to see that Tom Lapslie, Mark Halstead and Ollie Tomlinson have renewed their contracts.


At least we have, so far, been spared having all signings announced on the same day as has the club thought fit to do in previous years!


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Of course this is not a quiet period at Plainmoor as the pitch is currently under renovation - should encourage visiting sides to raise their game!


As last week’s column hinted, Bishop’s Stortford, promoted from the Isthmian League, have appealed the decision to place them in National North.


For regular readers who enjoy the figures here are the top National League crowds for 2022-23:


Step 1 Notts County v Yeovil Town 16,511. Step 2 North Kidderminster v Kettering Town 3,786.


Step 2 South St Albans City v Farnborough 3,696.


Good luck to United’s Under-18s who take on Bridgwater on Saturday in a league title play-off.


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