Following several statements from Southend‐on‐Sea City Council regarding due diligence of the Fossetts Farm housing proposal, COSU wants to provide an update on the implications for Southend United Football Club.

By way of background, before COSU agreed terms to purchase Southend United in October 2023, we sought and received assurances from the Council that they were supportive of our proposal to remain at Roots Hall.

This required an amendment of the prior agreement between the Martins and the Council over Fossetts Farm and Roots Hall.

By removing the new stadium requirement and releasing the associated land for additional property units, it was agreed that funds from development profits could be paid back to the Club for the sole use of refurbishing Roots Hall and the new training ground. 

All parties committed to doing their due diligence at speed with an initial target for a November 2023 completion.

As is well documented, the Council‘s estimated due diligence timelines have been consistently revised and consistently missed, but each time we have received assurance across parties that they remained committed to the deal. 

Last Friday, it became apparent that the Council did not wish to progress with the property deal along the terms previously agreed with the Martins.

As a result, there has been a round of renegotiation this week with both sides assuring us they intend to find a compromise. 

COSU is not directly involved in these negotiations though we continue to stress the urgency of the situation to all.

Even if a compromise is reached, it seems certain that the revised property contract will not be signed prior to the 26th of June winding up hearing for the Club in the High Court. 

Signing the amended property contract remains the last condition for the completion of the Club’s sale and COSU cannot see a path forward without it.

For COSU to continue funding the Club and complete the takeover, including reaching payment agreements with the creditors on the winding up petition, we have communicated to the Council and the Martins that we require the following three things:

1.      A revised set of terms for the property contract that all parties are committed to closing.

2.      An updated scope and realistic timeline for the remaining council due diligence work.

3.      An agreement with the Martins to provide security for the further funds COSU will need to inject prior to the takeover.

We see no reason why these criteria cannot be met next week if all parties act reasonably and with focus.

If we reach an agreement, COSU will work with creditors and the league to lift the embargo and release season tickets. 

While the situation is outside of our control, COSU wants to assure Southend fans that we are doing as much as possible to prepare for the new season in parallel so that if the deal does complete, we will hit the ground running.

COSU (Custodians of Southend United)