SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin has been unable to guarantee the club will pay off their outstanding debt to the HMRC next week.

Blues, who owe close to £500,000, are back in the court next Wednesday.

But, in a question and answer session with supporters, Martin was asked if he had the funds in an account right now and could guarantee that HMRC would be repaid so the case would be dismissed.

And Martin replied: “If the club had the funds it would discharge the debt to HMRC.

“The club does not have an overdraft.”

Martin added the club, who sit bottom of League Two, have not received any financial help from the English Football League, the Football Association, the Premier League or the Players Football Association during the coronavirus pandemic.

But he added the club were doing all they could to pay off their debts.

“We are working hard to discharge the tax bill,” said Martin.

“But nobody underestimates the challenges in football as a result of Covid.”

However, Martin was also keen to explain how the debt had built up.

“In many respects it is that drive for success and lack of reward for the investment that has contributed to the current debt with HMRC,” said Martin.

“I do not think any chairman should be criticised for being ambitious for a football club and no doubt there would be moans if I was not wanting Southend United to succeed and of course I do.”

Echosport has contacted Martin for an interview throughout the week and the Blues chairman is due to soon release a statement.