SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin has explained why he feels the Shrimpers have fallen into such deep financial issues.

Blues came close to being wound up in the High Court yesterday due to a number of outstanding debts, including £250,000 owed to HMRC.

But Martin told TalkSPORT the problems began after the club were late to pay their tax bills during the pandemic.

“During Covid we had quite a debt to HMRC,” explained Martin.

“We tripped up twice on a time-to-pay agreement and the debt was about £1.9million.

“When we tripped up and failed on the time-to-pay it was about £1.46million actually and they wouldn't reinstate it.

“Had they done that over maybe 18 months we perhaps could have got through that but they wouldn't.

“So at that time I raised £2.2million in.

“That was only on February 27.”

And Martin added that also helped him to pay the club’s players and staff.

“That discharged the debt, brought staff and players up to date with their wages and the additional £600,000 capital we thought might see us through to a sale,” said Martin.

“It did not and then we had further debts accruing that we had to discharge to maintain our licence, and that was £239,000.

“Then I put a further £240,000 into the club to pay for salaries and see it through.”

However, Martin insisted he was unable to maintain that level of support.

“It's not a bottomless pit, I can't keep doing that, and it's difficult,” said Martin.

“But if you ask us how we got to that, I think that my choice of managers during that Covid period and post, looking back I think I made errors.

“I think I probably took my eye off the ball.

“I didn't do as much due diligence on individuals as perhaps I should, and we failed on the pitch.