Southend United has announced that a consortium led by Justin Rees has agreed a takeover, with the deal set to result in the National League club staying at Roots Hall.
The consortium is set to formally assume control of United on November 1, according to a statement released by the club yesterday (Tuesday).
The takeover will end the 25-year ownership of Ron Martin, who announced in March that he had put the club up for sale. That news came after United avoided a winding-up petition after the club paid £1.4m (€1.6m/$1.7m) owed to HM Revenue & Customs.
Southend had been due in the High Court again today to face a further HM Revenue & Customs winding-up petition, but a statement released by the club earlier today confirmed that this has been dismissed following the takeover news.
United had been hoping to move into a new stadium and in March, a week after Martin put the club up for sale, revised plans were submitted for the ambitious project. The fresh plans scaled back the stadium’s seating capacity from the originally planned 22,000 to 16,226.
Following the takeover, plans for the new stadium (pictured) are set to be shelved, according to the Southend Echo. The newspaper said that Southend will remain at Roots Hall as part of the agreement between Australian businessman Rees and Southend Council
The club had hoped to build a new stadium on the Fossetts Farm site, with plans for 500 new homes to be built on the Roots Hall site. The Echo reported that these homes will now be transferred to the Fossetts Farm site.
United was relegated from the English Football League (EFL) following the 2020-21 season. The club has played at Roots Hall since the 12,392-capacity stadium opened in 1955, but redevelopment has proven tricky due to its location amid housing.
The club’s new stadium project dates back to April 2017 when United, then in League One, submitted a detailed planning application for a new 22,000-capacity facility.