SOUTHEND MP Anna Firth hopes the winding up petition will never come to court because it would “waste time, money and energy” which would be better spent “powering the club forward”.

Ms Firth spoke out as the consortium buying Southend United - led by Justin Rees - warned a fresh petition to “wind up” the club has been launched by one of its creditors.

It comes as the consortium, which is due to take control of the Shrimpers from chairman Ron Martin, continues to invest heavily in the club despite not yet formally owning it.

Ms Firth, Conservative MP for Southend West, says she was “hugely disappointed" to learn the club’s future was under threat once again.

She said: “Obviously, this is hugely disappointing news for all Southend fans.

“I sincerely hope this matter does not go to court, wasting more time, energy and money, all of which could be better directed into powering the club forward as we look ahead to next season with optimism.

“As always, I stand ready to help and support the consortium in any way I can.”

Ms Firth said many creditors had been “incredibly patient with the club throughout this process”, adding: “Without their continuing support and willingness to work with the club and consortium, there may be no football club to support.

“Unfortunately, the starting of yet another winding up petition against the club does not appropriately target those who caused the issues in the first place.

“For too long, the club, the players and the fans have been disproportionately affected by actions beyond their control.”

Meanwhile, Southend Council leader Tony Cox – who has played a key role in negotiations alongside Ms Firth - has reassured fans that the deal is still “on track”.

He said: “Everything is on track as scheduled. The formal committee report will go to cabinet later this month, as promised in our forward plan.

“We are working with democratic services to get a formal date arranged.

“We will give notice for when the report is set to be published.”