Southend on verge of administration

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The Independent Online

Southend have avoided the winding-up order they were due to face tomorrow but could fall into administration next week.

The League One club were due in the High Court in the next 24 hours over a tax bill of £690,000, but HM Revenue and Customs have now postponed a hearing until next Wednesday.

In a statement, chairman Ron Martin said: "Every fan will be aware of the club's difficulties surrounding HMRC and the planned hearing in the High Court to consider a winding-up petition tomorrow.

"Yesterday evening the club were advised that HMRC have changed their position and are now seeking an administration.

"As such HMRC are postponing tomorrow's hearing to allow the administration to be considered on Wednesday, November 4 - a one-week delay."

Martin continued: "This is not a viability issue, for the financial planning is very sound, but we have needed time to overcome the banks' inability to lend since their collapse in the summer of 2008.

"Prior to this everything was on track and it has taken the year to get back to our advanced position. Therefore HMRC's hostile action is not only unwelcome but also destructive.

"We are not looking to escape any debts (indeed we wish to ensure we pay in full) and will be able to, given a further short respite, settle the indebtedness."

The Shrimpers are currently the subject of a Football League transfer embargo due to the case and could also face a 10-point deduction if the administrators are called in.

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