League One side Southend United have had their winding-up order adjourned once again by the High Court. The Shrimpers have an overdue tax bill of £669,000, but have convinced the courts that they are capable of paying the full amount by Friday. The court session in London has therefore been deferred until Monday.
Reports coming out of today's hearing suggest that Southend's tax bill is in fact far greater, with two broadsheet newspapers claiming that the total amount owed to HMRC is £2.135m. Both papers suggest that it is this full amount that the Shrimpers must pay by Friday and not the original £669K figure. Southend's official site has never mentioned the larger figure, and lately have been rather coy in terms of how much is actually owed and how they plan to pay it, although their brief official statement today promises that "a full statement will follow shortly".
The Shrimpers yesterday stated that they were rejecting a takeover bid from an unnamed consortium, who were attempting to buy the Roots Hall club for a nominal one pound fee, in return for wiping out the club's outstanding debts. A statement from Southend United stated that the proposal would have still seen them go into administration, thus incurring a 10 point penalty, and so on that basis they rejected the offer. The bidding consortium have since stated that if Southend ultimately fall into administration, that they will then approach the administrator with a fresh bid.
As an aside, League Two side Accrington Stanley have confirmed that they have cleared their overdue tax debt of £308,000, but in doing so they have had a boardroom change with local businessman Ilyas Khan becoming Chairman of the club. It is believed that Mr Khan bridged the financial gap, thus ensuring Accrington's survival.
Finally League One side Stockport County have confirmed they are still in administration - just over six months after commencing the insolvency event. Their administrators have promised a six-month report to all creditors, claiming that they still need to agree some issues with the Football League before new owners can formally take over the club. However, given they've been saying that for several months now, don't hold your breath.
Update: Southend's official site has removed the part of their statement that claimed that "a full statement will follow shortly". Looks like that's the only comment Southend fans are going to get, with still no official word on the £2.135m debt figure that most national media are now carrying.
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