BLUES bosses are confident of “starting the 2024/25 season” from the first phase of the new multi-million pound stadium as “substantial progress” is made on the project.

The club has insisted work is continuing on the scheme and hope the new stadium will make the club a “self-sustaining business”.

In an announcement this week, the club revealed its target is “to commence the 2024/25 season from the first phase of new stadium, comprising, initially, the south, east and west stands, that will incorporate a range of corporate and entertainment space.”

The news has sparked celebrations among fans who believe the long-dreamed of new stadium is now closer to reality than ever before.

The club has planning permission for a new stadium and training ground facilities at Fossetts Farm, along with hundreds of new homes.

Amendments being made to the plans include reducing the overall capacity from 21,000 to 17,000.

Bosses are also hoping to create their own version of the Liverpool’s famous Kop at Anfield in the west stand of Fossetts Farm, which could include safe standing.

Martin Terry, Independent deputy leader of Southend Council and life-long Blues fan, said: “We want to see it happen as soon as possible and are pushing to see this get off the ground.

“The conversations with Southend United are positive and it’s all full steam ahead from the council’s point of view.

“The deal for funding with Homes England is still very much on the table.

“It will see huge investment and regeneration of the football club and also city centre.

“It’s been going on for two decades but now I feel we are closer than we ever have been before.”

Season ticket holder Justin Macal, 51, from Benfleet said: “I really do believe it will happen and as a fan it’s something I get asked about so much.

“I think with the work going on behind the scenes, such as bringing in players and the coaching, it’s all very good signs.

“I do believe these show the club is gearing up for the new stadium and change.”