Southend United: Chairman Ron Martin personally meets £140k wages shortfall

Southend United chairman Ron Martin
Ron Martin appointed Sol Campbell as Southend United manager in October

Seven senior Southend United players were not paid on time at the end of December due to reduced revenues, chairman Ron Martin has told BBC Essex.

Martin has personally met a £140,000-shortfall in the League One club's accounts to pay the affected players.

He met with all the squad on Friday to apologise and reassure them that it would not happen again.

"I accept the buck stops with me," Martin said. "They should have been paid on time and they were not."

Southend are second from bottom in League One, 15 points from safety after winning only one of their 24 games this season. They host Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

On Thursday, it was reported players would meet with the Professional Footballers' Association to discuss the non-payment of December's wages.

Martin confirmed he met with the first team, but it is unclear if PFA representatives were also present.

"I was texted by (centre-back) Jason Demetriou last night to ask if I would stop by the training ground today and speak to all the players," Martin said. "I'm pleased to say the meeting went well.

"I've assured them that it won't happen again. It's ultimately my responsibility.

"If the club doesn't meet budgets as a result of poor performances and income not meeting what's anticipated, then it's for me to meet that shortfall."

Martin had tried to arrange payment before the new year and again on Monday, but was unable to sort wage transfers until Thursday evening.

Southend were issued with four winding-up petitions last year, the latest of which has been adjourned until 22 January.

Martin says it will be dismissed after having paid HM Revenue & Customs. He played-down fears the club is on the brink of experiencing similar problems faced this season at fellow EFL clubs Bury, Bolton and Macclesfield.

"I'm absolutely convinced that's not going to happen," he added. "I'm not going to sell the club, I'm committed to the club."

Martin also denied reports Saturday's game against Tranmere would be in doubt due to some of the club's stewards not being unpaid on time.

"I'm not sure where that's come from," he said. "Sometimes rumours get inflated in the media and it's not true."