DEDICATED Blues fans have launched a bid to raise almost half a million pounds to save their beloved football club.

Southend United owes £493,000 to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and has been given an extra six weeks to clear its debt.

Bosses at HM Revenue and Customs had applied for a winding up petition.

But a lawyer representing tax officials said debts had been reduced and asked the judge to adjourn the application to give bosses at the League Two club time to pay.

Now, fans have launched a fundraising page to raise £400,000.

During the brief remote hearing, insolvency and companies court Judge Sebastian Prentis allowed the club a further 42 days to pay off the debts and settle the long-standing issue.

The case was previously heard in July but adjourned until yesterday.

The next hearing will take place on October 28.

During the hearing it was revealed the club owes a total of £493,991 to HMRC.

Blues fans had spoken of their worry for the club in the run up to the hearing, following relegation from League One and a 4-0 defeat to Harrogate Town in the club’s most recent outing.

The club has been under a transfer embargo while the debt is outstanding, and the adjournment means the transfer embargo is unlikely to be lifted until the next hearing.

Another football club, Macclesfield Town, were wound up by Judge Prentis on the same day. Macclesfield – with debts totalling £530,000 – have recently been relegated from the fourth tier and the club’s plight will come as a warning to the Blues.

Judge Prentis said Southend’s winding up petition had been presented in early 2019.

He said: “I can see nothing that gives me any comfort that this club can pay its debts within a reasonable period.”

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