RON Martin has revealed Southend United had the fourth biggest budget in League One last season.

The Shrimpers finished the campaign sitting 10th in the League One table.

But Blues chairman Martin invested heavily in the squad last summer and believes just three clubs in the whole division were paying bigger wages.

“We had the fourth highest budget in League One last season,” said Martin.

“It was a big budget given to Phil Brown but it didn’t bring the success we wanted.”

Blues handed out big wages to new signings Michael Turner, Michael Kightly and Rob Kiernan last summer while Anton Ferdinand also signed a new contract.

However, a push for promotion never materialised and the Shrimpers were actually facing a fight to secure League One survival before Chris Powell was brought in to replace Brown as manager in late January.

At that stage, Blues had suffered eight defeats in nine games and sat just one point and one place above the relegation zone.

But the Shrimpers pushed up the standings following Powell’s appointment and will now be looking to continue that progress next season.

Contract discussions are ongoing with centre-back Turner and last season’s top goalscorer Simon Cox but the club remain hopeful of keeping them both at Roots Hall.

But Anthony Wordsworth, Michael Timlin, Marc-Antoine Fortune, Jermaine McGlashan, Freddie Ladapo and Josh Wright have all been let go since the end of the previous campaign.

>Southend United’s annual ‘Meet the Blues Day’ will take place at the club’s Boots & Laces training ground on Sunday, July 29 this year.