THE SHRIMPERS Trust has welcomed the clarity provided by council leader Daniel Cowan - but are not backing fans' plans to protest.

Southend United chairman Ron Martin has until Friday to accept a revised proposal for the Fossetts Farm project.

And the Trust are pleased to see stern action being taken by the council.

"The clarity provided is welcomed," said a statement from the Trust.

"Cllr Cowan has confirmed the previous deal failed the Council’s due diligence, and a revised proposal has now been placed in front of the Martin family, who have been given until Friday 21st June 2024 to respond.

"Cllr Cowan has also stated that the Council’s continuation in negotiations with the Martins is reliant upon COSU’s involvement.

"In short, the position is clear: the Martins must agree to this deal, or it is off.

"We concur with the position outlined by the Council and appreciate the work that has gone into setting it out."

The consortium, headed up by Justin Rees, are still waiting to officially take control of the club despite having exchanged contracts with Martin just before Christmas.

And the Trust have again thanked them for their ongoing efforts and financial backing of the club.

"We would again like to take the opportunity to thank COSU for their patience and commitment to Southend United FC, especially given they have yet to assume control of the club," added the statement.

"They have made a significant investment, and their continued involvement offers the prospect of a brighter future."

But the Trust do not feel the time is right to stage more protests.

"In our last statement, we referenced our position regarding direct action," said the Trust.

" The latest Council update recognises the frustration of supporters but urges restraint and, in our discussions with COSU, they have also disclosed that protests are counter-productive to the process being undertaken.

"So, whilst we back any supporter’s individual right to make a decision over whether or not to protest, as an organisation the Shrimpers Trust feels the ongoing negotiations continue to be of too delicate a nature for such actions to be helpful at the moment.

"The Martin family has been issued with an ultimatum and a hard deadline; it is important they are not allowed to use the distraction of supporters protesting to further risk the future of Southend United.

"We spent a significant period of time on Saturday in discussions with Justin Rees, the leader of the Council and the leader of the opposition; we do not take this decision lightly.

"With this in mind, we also urge all politicians to not be distracted too.

"We know the finality of the situation will concern fans.

"The Shrimpers Trust continues to plan for every eventuality."

And the Trust continue to hold a wide range of talks.

"Our priority is ensuring the survival of Southend United FC and we continue to liaise with a range of organisations and individuals to help us in that aim," added the Trust.

"Representing supporters can take many forms.

"As well as maintaining dialogue with relevant stakeholders, we have spoken to national news outlets to highlight the plight of the club and lobbied central government about the dangers of property developer owners ahead of upcoming legislation.

"As fans we have a degree of soft power in these situations and, in time, we'd like to see that become more formal.

"Amongst others, we will be meeting with the Football Supporters Association this week to discuss options in further detail."

But the Trust remain fully focused on the club's future.

"Southend United has been a beacon of the local community for 118 years," said the statement.

"It brings people together, forging friendships and relationships that last for decades.

"The history and heritage of our club will never die, regardless of the outcome at the end of this week; as supporters, we are Southend United Football Club and this will continue into the future.

It is now down to the Martins to do the right thing; the only thing.

"At various points over the course of the past five years, the current owner, Ron Martin, has claimed that he loves the club; now is his opportunity to prove that, to accept the deal proposed by Southend-on-Sea City Council and enable COSU to take control of our club."