A MESSAGE from former Southend United star Stan Collymore.

TODAY was always going to feel raw simply because it's been coming for a while.

For a club to lose a proud 101 year Football League status is one thing, to have a summer to think about the consequences on and off the pitch, another.

I'm meeting Ron next week after a very positive chat on Friday where I backed up a comprehensive written plan with support and candour for him, all of you, and all staff at the club, from tea lady to Phil Brown.

I've done my homework on the club, on every employee in the football department, financial department and marketing from what seems like 24/7 phone calls to everyone who can give me as much information as possible. It's been a very revealing and worthwhile exercise.

The truth is, as Ron said, he needs help and I have set out ways that can happen immediately, along with the transparency for you guys who are the most important part of the club.

But there's a lot more needs doing than cheerleading and being honest with Ron.

Clubs don't go down because everyone is doing well and there's a happy camp, clubs go down because everyone plays their part over a season to contribute to that relegation.

So a first question is to everyone at the club, "do you believe you have the ability, desire and passion to play for Southend United? "

Likewise every member of staff, every full time and part time employee.

The 2021/22 season started today and if Phil continues as the manager, I'd hope to be sitting in front of Phil, Craig Fagan and Ricky Duncan immediately to support, design and execute a plan to make their job easier and to work every contact ( I've already been "switched on" 24/7 utilising some great contacts for recruitment, data analysis, getting early access to released lists etc) to enable the three guys to gain every advantage before pre season ( if I have any say we'll be back first in the National League), and for Southend United to leave no stone unturned to get off to a great start.

The CEO I put to Ron along with Ron's other option will be meeting him next week also, I found Ron's words about the potential for both to fulfill roles encouraging.

Aims, ambitions, targets, sane budgets adhered to, absolute unity amongst staff and players is a must, if not, everything would be done, everything, to make sure the culture of the club is positive, warm, open, and honest. A great place to work.

I do not believe that has always been the case so brutally honest conversations will be had as to why and to remind everyone that Southend United come first and last.

Repeated daily if necessary.

There's an experienced manager, an owner who I be know accepts he needs some help and support, a fan base that needs a cuddle and to feel a part of the love of their life again, some talent in the squad and if I have a role at the club, a guarantee of 24/7 obsession with putting the building blocks in place to build bridges, right wrongs, give support to everyone at the club and to move forward again on the pitch. An obsession.

I don't need to put myself in the firing line, I want to.

I want to because for six months of my life I received kindness, warmth, support and trust from everyone at Southend United Football Club.

It's my time to give that back. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Let's see what next week brings, I hope it's good news for you guys because you need some!

From Ron to Dave the season ticket holder in Rayleigh and Sarah the season ticket holder in Rochford, our time starts now.

Embrace it, get excited by it.

Stan Collymore