Tory candidate Anna Firth insists the sale of Southend United must proceed immediately.

Ms Firth, the Conservative candidate for Southend West and Leigh, has held numerous meetings in a bid to ease the Shrimpers struggles.

And she finds the Martin family as leverage for personal gain “entirely unacceptable.”

In a statement released this afternoon Ms Firth said: “I have done my very best to give sage advice and encourage the outgoing chairman to do the best thing for the city and the football club.

“I will continue to give such advice now.

“In the simplest terms, the sale of the club must proceed immediately and without further delay.

“I have constantly reiterated that Southend United is an asset of community value and to see it used as leverage for the personal gain of one family is entirely unacceptable.

“I endorse the sentiment of statements and letters written by the Leader of the Council, the Shrimpers Trust and the Echo.”

And Ms Firth also understands just how concerned supporters are feeling.

"I share the fans frustrations that we are still in this situation, almost eight months after the exchanging of the contracts for the sale of the club,” said Ms Firth.

“The fans, players, staff, management team and consortium have acted in an exemplary manner throughout the last few years and as a football club, these have been the most trying of times.

“This situation is to nobody’s benefit, but everybody’s detriment.”

The Martin family have until Friday to accept a revised proposal surrounding the Fossetts Farm project from Southend City Council.

And Ms Firth has offered to play more of a part where that is concerned.

“I have offered to chair urgent crunch talks between the Council and Citizen Housing to ensure they negotiate with the best interests of the club at heart,” said Ms Firth.

“If accepted, this meeting would happen before the Council’s deadline of the 21st June.

“It would be my intention that no one should leave the room until an acceptable deal had been agreed.”

And Ms Firth is desperate to see the Shrimpers survive.

“Southend United has 118 years’ worth of history, it is absolutely inconceivable that it could come to an end in the next couple of weeks,” said Ms Firth.

“I end this statement with a simple ask and reiteration: Southend United can not and must not be used as leverage.

“This is bigger than party politics and I strongly urge all those with the power to effect this situation, to use it to safeguard the future of Southend United for the next 118 years and to do the right thing by the city, fans and Southend United.”

The candidates in the General Election for Southend West and Leigh are: 

  • Anna Firth - Conservative. 
  • David Burton-Sampson - Labour.
  • Tom Darwood - Independent. 
  • Robert Francis - Independent. 
  • Tilly Hogrebe - Greens. 
  • Lara Hurley - Heritage Party. 
  • Peter Little - Reform UK. 
  • James Miller - Confelicity. 
  • Jason Pilley - Psychedelic Movement. 
  • Stephen Cummins - Lib Dems.