Blue Anorak

Last modified on Monday, 23 April 2007 at 21:09:44


21st November

According to Anglia television teletext Vic Jobson has finally resigned and John Main has taken over as chairman of the club. Blues' new owners, Martin Dawn PLC, have further funds to strengthen the playing squad.

This news brings to an end months of uncertainty when it appeared that Vic, who practically rebuilt the club after a disastrous time under the ownership of Anton Johnson, was unlikely to go without a substantial amount of money heading his way.

George Soros

31st July

We brought this news to you about a month ago but today The Times caught up with this piece of news:

Shrimpers sign up George Soros

George Soros, the investor who drove the pound out of the exchange rate mechanism, John Ritblat, the property developer behind some of Britain's most famous buildings, and John Manser, the chairman of Robert Fleming, the merchant bank, could soon be rubbing shoulders with gritty full-back Julian Hails and former Arsenal winger Adrian Clarke.

... The Shrimpers... have signed a joint venture to redevelop their training ground... along with... Boots & Laces with a Basildon-based property developer called Martin Dawn.

As we reported on 2nd July, a bit of digging by our man at HM Treasury has revealed that Martin Dawn is heavily financially-backed by a company called Blunglen which is a subsidiary of Delancey Estates PLC.

The FT reported that a consortium led by George Soros was in the process of taking control of Delancey Estates. This has now been completed and Mr. Soros's group now controls around 70% of Delancey's shares.

The Times reports that:

The deal is seen as a prelude to a more ambitious plan which would see Southend's stadium... redeveloped for housing or retailing and the club moved to a new stadium on a less valuable site. The ground is in Southend's books at just £4.5 million but is said to be worth much more.

Sources close to the Shrimpers predicted interesting moves to be announced in the next few weeks.

(Whether or not Mr. Soros is aware of his involvement with the club is a different question entirely.)

John Main

2nd July

The SUISC had a meeting with John Main during which time every rumour under the sun was put to him and every one was convincingly refuted.

Mr. Main is in favour of the Junior Blues and supporter representation on the board. We do have major backers but, as they are involved in something big at the moment, the club are unable to announce their identity as yet.

Apparently, things are looking bright on the [Vic Jobson] front.

Martin Dawn plc take over

13th - 28th May

Southend have been taken over by Martin Dawn plc after talks with Vic Jobson according to BBC Essex. John Main is our new chairman. Adams is the new Director of Football Development.

Mr. Main grew up in the East End of London and is a West Ham supporter. He says he is a football person and the company have invested in SUFC to make a profit which is expected to come from the redevelopment of Roots Hall. Mr. Main says that the club will not move from Roots Hall until a new stadium is completed and no new planning application has been filed but the site at Boots & Laces is big enough for a new stadium which could be expanded to 25 thousand seats from an initial 12 to 15 thousand. He recognises that the team must do well for them to get into a profitable situation.

John Main has said that he is aware of a certain amount of friction between SUFC and the fans, SUFC and the council, SUFC and everyone really... Mr. Main intends to do something about this.

Mr. Main has said that anyone can ring him at the club and he will get back to them. This sounds very positive but obviously shouldn't be seen as an opportunity to let off steam every time we lose.

The company is based at:

Crescent House,
51, High Street,
CM12 9AX

Tel: 01277 633888
Fax: 01277 630044

According to their last accounts, posted on 31st March 1997, they made both pre- and post-tax profits of just over £500 000 which suggests that they either have smart accountants or retained losses of £750 000 from the previous year. (No, I don't understand that last bit myself, I'm just quoting.)
That previous year gave a trading loss of £731 000 but it would appear that it was an exceptionally bad one and that otherwise the company has been doing alright for itself.

It should be noted that Vic Jobson lives next door to the major shareholder in Martin Dawn plc. (Ron Martin, 90% shares). This could just mean that Vic speaks to his neighbours (which is a good thing).

6th May

Vic Jobson was quoted in the Evening Echo this week as saying
There's no way I am disposing of my majority shareholding in Southend United.
I shall be chairman of the club, health permitting, for at least the next two years. I won't leave until the club is on the way up again. I haven't put all this work in to see it wasted now.

Instead of a takeover there will be a major refunding deal. This new deal will make funds available for new players but money will not be thrown around.
Southend's players, present and future, will be glad to hear that their wages will be amongst the best in the Third Division but Mr. Jobson insisted that we certainly won't be handing out fortunes— that's the path to disaster.
Mr. Jobson was just on his way into hospital for treatment when he spoke to the Echo but he insisted that his health was not a problem and that he would be back at work after a couple of days' rest.

Jobson said:

I'm arranging the re-financing of the club, so it will be in a much better financial position for the future. I'm bringing in other people to assist in this operation and the shares are being retained in a holding company.
There's no way I will let my shares in the club go until I'm sure everything is right. I have been negotiating for some time with a very reputable company, decent people. The full details will be announced soon.

Mr. Jobson admitted that he has some sympathy with the fans who demonstrated after the end-of-season defeat at home to Wrexham and said that they are right to be frustrated because certain decisions have been made by the board and the team has gone down.

We need to play a system which brings out our strengths rather than our weaknesses.

He continued by saying that the players are not as bad as some may think and the team needs simply to play a different system. Vic suggested that the directors would now take up the challenge of taking the club forward again.

Elsewhere, it has been rumoured that a new stadium could be built on the Southend Rugby Club ground at Warners Park. This could provide a 20 000-seater stadium to coincide with a new railway station for the airport.

18th April

The Evening Echo (on 17th April) received no comment when they asked Mr. Jobson and a Billericay property company about the deal.
The Evening Echo would appear to have found out that the new ground has been given the go ahead. The site at Boots & Laces, Southend United's training ground on Eastern Avenue, has planning permission for a 120-bedroom hotel and conference centre.
A deal has been signed and Vic Jobson will be staying on for another two years. A board member has been reported as saying that Southend United are on the way up. As ever, only time will tell but it has been suggested that the immediate aim is to refinance the club in the face of relegation to Division Three, which would hit takings if attendances fall.

Any new stadium would of course leave Roots Hall free for development and in the past greyhound racing has been mooted as a possibility. It is believed that Southend Council would like any new stadium to be linked to a major commercial development, such as shops or a cinema, to pay its way.

It must be stressed that much of the information on this page is rumour and conjecture. We could be entirely wrong and find that the Sultan of Brunei wants to buy the club instead and pump his billions in.
Or maybe not...

© Luke Bosman Monday, 23 April 2007 at 21:09:44

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Much of the information on this page has come from the Southend United mailing list. Particular thanks go to Garry Smith, Gary Crowe, Jonathan Gershlick and many others for the info on this page.