Southend United: Chairman Ron Martin confirms club under transfer embargo

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

Southend United chairman Ron Martin has confirmed the club is under an English Football League transfer embargo due to an unpaid tax bill.

The Shrimpers will owe £668,000 to HM Revenue and Customs by 11 March, with a further month "stacked up behind".

Sol Campbell's side are 22nd in League One, 17 points from safety.

"The EFL won't lift the embargo until we have paid HMRC, which is quick once we have demonstrated to them we are doing so," Martin said.

Southend have agreed deals to sign Theo Vassell and Emmanuel Osadebe - who previously played under ex-Arsenal defender Campbell at Macclesfield - but they are not yet able to register them.

Martin told a supporter group meeting the club's wage bill is the eighth-highest in League One and would be halved to £1.5m if they are relegated to the fourth tier.

"The two lads are chomping at the bit and I feel guilty about that because if Sol had them it would probably lift the team," he said.

"I believe we could look forward to a successful season next year, but probably in League Two."