PLAY was halted during Southend United's 4-0 defeat to Chesterfield as fuming fans flooded the pitch in protest against the club's chairman.

Angry fans held up a banner and stormed the pitch in protest of club chariman Ron Martin’s running of the club, halting play for five minutes.

Fans also waved red cards in the first half to protest against Martin, who did not attend the match.

Ahead of the game, a statement from the Save our Southend group said: “Show your displeasure at how our football club is being mismanaged at today's home match vs. Chesterfield.

“From 2pm, representatives from Save Our Southend will handing out red cards to supporters around the area outside Roots Hall.

“We urge all fans to join us in holding this card up at 19:06 minutes into the match.

“We feel that this will be symbolic with the club having been founded in 1906.

“At the same time, make your voices heard around Roots Hall with a loud chant of "Martin Out".

“Enough is enough!”

Echo: Protest - fans show the red card at today's matchProtest - fans show the red card at today's match

When asked during a Zoom call with supporter groups if he would sell the club for £25 million, Martin replied: “Absolutely not and you could make it £40million and I still won’t do it because I’m going to deliver this new stadium for you.

“I love the club and I’d love to see it succeed.”

And Martin also believes it is unlikely anyone will want to buy Blues while they are still at Roots Hall.

“I don’t imagine anyone would come forward and want to invest in the club when it’s at Roots Hall,” said Martin.

“It costs £400,000 per year to keep it afloat in repairs.

“That’s a huge amount of money to get a safety certificate from the council.”

Blues, who have suffered back to back relegations, are currently 18th in the National League, much to the fury of fans who also came onto the pitch at the end of Tuesday’s game to protest against Martin.

But the chairman does not understand what the fans are trying to achieve.

“I don’t get what you’re trying to do,” said Martin.

“If I walk out this club is bust tomorrow.

“People will be out of work and no-one is going to thank me for that.”

When asked why the club would go bust, Martin added: “Because there’s a debt owed to me of £20million and I would like that back.”