SOUTHEND United legend Spencer Prior feels under-fire chairman Ron Martin is not solely to blame for the club’s crisis.

Blues sit 20th in the National League standings having previously suffered back to back relegations.

Fuming Shrimpers fans continue to protest about Martin’s running of the club.

But Prior, who won four promotions with his hometown club, believes it is not just Martin’s fault.

“The emotions are understandable but I don’t think you can just blame Ron for this,” said Prior.

“Of course the buck stops with him as the owner but he was also the owner when we were in the Championship and he’s put money in.

“I keep hearing about salaries and that we’re up towards the top budget wise in every league we’ve been in in the last three or four years.

“The issues haven’t been the budget, it’s been the constant change of management.

“That leads to a constant change of training methods and there’s no forward planning, none whatsoever.”

The Shrimpers are currently looking for their seventh manager since January 2018.

But Prior feels Blues have got one appointment right this season.

I think it’s great that Tom Lawrence is in as chief executive and that there’s someone to run things day to day now,” said Prior.

“He can’t be held accountable for what’s gone on this year.

“He’s been left with the legacy of what’s happened previously.”

And Prior, who made a total of 245 appearances during two separate spells with Blues, also wants to see a younger squad at Roots Hall.

"Everything seems to be focused around the stadium but over the last few years the club has sold off all its assets and all its talented young players," said Prior, 50.

"There’s the legacy of an ageing squad now.

"I won’t disrespect the squad because I haven’t seen enough of the games but play younger players and give them an opportunity."

And Prior, who now lives in Australia, has been disappointed by Blues' work in the transfer market.

"There’s something wrong off the pitch with why the recruitment has been so poor," said the former centre-back.

"The club should not be losing 4-0 at home to Chesterfield and it should be beating Aldershot.

"There’s something really, really, really poor but I don’t know what it is.

"This current crop of players seem so fragile.

"The talk before game is very positive but one negative action and it seems to be like a house of cards.

"Everything spirals out of control and they can crumble. It needs fresh ideas and a fresh approach."