Ron Martin interview: Fossets Farm will happen

Southend Standard: Ron Martin Ron Martin

SITTING in the office of his property company Martin Dawn based at Roots Hall, Ron Martin talks about when, not if, the Fossetts Farm stadium dream will happen.

The Blues chairman spoke of a tunnel vision-like focus to get the club to a new stadium since becoming involved with the club in 1999.

Even after the global downturn of 2008 and, more recently, during a serious bout of septicemia last autumn, he said he never lost “a line of sight” to the new stadium.

The illness saw him in and out of hospital and away from the office for up to six weeks at a time.

Southend Standard:

Feeling confident: Ron Martin

Mr Martin got blood poisoning during an open operation for an agonising twisted bowel problem during a crucial time for negotiations over the new plans, which have had a series of false start dates since permission was given in 2008.

He is now confident builders will be on site before the summer.

Asked if it was a certainty the club would move, he said: “Oh absolutely.

“It is not something I will give up on now. It is something I want to deliver and I will do. I want the club to be in a position where it is less reliant on me.”

However, despite Mr Martin’s clear vision, there are sceptics, including a Conservative member of Southend Council’s planning committee who cast serious doubt on the plans last year.

The unnamed member said: “There is not one member of the committee who actually believes it will ever be built.”

But Mr Martin says his heart and soul is in securing a better future for the Blues.

He said: “It can’t be a money driven thing because I wouldn’t do it. Football clubs don’t get sold for lots of money. What is Leeds being sold for – £20million? They put £93million into Brighton and can’t sell it for £10million.

“Why do people do it? For me it’s just a challenge. I want to just make it happen that’s what I am like. I am ambitious for Southend. I can see the potential and I’m excited by it.

“My family say I make money from property and stick it into football and that is about right.

“Fans have always got views on everything. Whether I think we played well as I thought we did on Tuesday, other people think we didn’t play.

“You will never stop people in football clubs having opinions and the proof of the pudding will be when it’s all developed.”

So do the constant questions over the development faze him?

“I didn’t become the chairman of a football club to be in a highprofile position. I am actually quite a shy guy.

“I think all fans are cynical about the project as it goes on for so long, but it is a bit like a swan.

“People don’t see what goes on beneath the water.

“We have been negotiating with a huge number of parties following the crash in 2008 and 2009 to keep this on line.

“I think I have overcome a few obstacles in the last five years.

With the reduction in value we have had to review the project so many times.

“People say it has gone on a long time, but it is only because in 2007 we had consent and the banks were fully funding the project. When the recession hit we had to re-invent the wheel to keep the project on.”

He said people should be pleased the project has weathered the storm.

He said: “In between Everton have failed to move, Liverpool has failed. Other clubs’ ambitions for new stadiums have fallen by the wayside.”

Mr Martin would not put a figure on the total anticipated cost, which could change.

He said: “My intention here is the club ends up with no debt and no debt on the stadium and well placed to advance.”

Comments (4)

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4:03pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Rochford Ronnie says...

Do you think that 'Ron' is playing another little game here, by attempting to set up another 'false' deadline..... again?

What if he moves to nominates a developer by May, but in March/April, he attempts to force a deal on the prospects site or one of the others, and when they refuse to accept Ron's low offer, he then turns round and blames them, accusing them of threatening the whole project, as he has to start this by May, or it could all go under....... Then tries to get the council involved to force a purchase, and seeks to place any blame firmly on anybody's shoulders, but his........ surely not........again....
...and again....??
Do you think that 'Ron' is playing another little game here, by attempting to set up another 'false' deadline..... again? What if he moves to nominates a developer by May, but in March/April, he attempts to force a deal on the prospects site or one of the others, and when they refuse to accept Ron's low offer, he then turns round and blames them, accusing them of threatening the whole project, as he has to start this by May, or it could all go under....... Then tries to get the council involved to force a purchase, and seeks to place any blame firmly on anybody's shoulders, but his........ surely not........again.... ...and again....?? Rochford Ronnie
  • Score: 13

4:23pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Nelly99 says...

I suppose Ron Martin is to be commended for his optimism and tenacity and he is right about the money aspect. Very few football clubs make a profit and only Russian billionaires and rich arabs can afford to own one as a hobby.
Personally I don't think that is the spirit of football so I would be very happy to see SUFC succeed. I hope Fossetts Farm happens but I wouldn't hold my breath.
I suppose Ron Martin is to be commended for his optimism and tenacity and he is right about the money aspect. Very few football clubs make a profit and only Russian billionaires and rich arabs can afford to own one as a hobby. Personally I don't think that is the spirit of football so I would be very happy to see SUFC succeed. I hope Fossetts Farm happens but I wouldn't hold my breath. Nelly99
  • Score: 8

5:35pm Thu 27 Feb 14

southend-man says...

Ha! I think only a total idiot would believe him. He has been wrong so many times before why should we believe him now?

I have the 2005-06 season review DVD and at the end of that he said "The new stadium should be ready for Kevin Maher's testimonial in July 2008."

He said he is in the process of appointing contractors. Let's say everything runs smoothly from here on in, it will take time for the contractor to order materials, sort out staff, analyse the architecture - there is no way it will start before the summer.
Ha! I think only a total idiot would believe him. He has been wrong so many times before why should we believe him now? I have the 2005-06 season review DVD and at the end of that he said "The new stadium should be ready for Kevin Maher's testimonial in July 2008." He said he is in the process of appointing contractors. Let's say everything runs smoothly from here on in, it will take time for the contractor to order materials, sort out staff, analyse the architecture - there is no way it will start before the summer. southend-man
  • Score: 6

9:44pm Thu 27 Feb 14

Democrat says...

Ron Martin does not have the business acumen to organise such a project as proven by the over- optimistic deadlines and the inability to pay HRMC when due, not once but multiple times. No serious developer or capital investment firm will take him seriously. What concerns me more is that a 'member of the planning committee', presumably an elected councillor, remains unnamed. Why? In this democracy the councillor is required to declare his interest. Has the Echo chickened out? Who is this democratically elected member of the planning committee?
Ron Martin does not have the business acumen to organise such a project as proven by the over- optimistic deadlines and the inability to pay HRMC when due, not once but multiple times. No serious developer or capital investment firm will take him seriously. What concerns me more is that a 'member of the planning committee', presumably an elected councillor, remains unnamed. Why? In this democracy the councillor is required to declare his interest. Has the Echo chickened out? Who is this democratically elected member of the planning committee? Democrat
  • Score: 4

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