SOUTHEND United chairman Ron Martin has moved to quell rumours over Roots Hall  market, insisting it will stay open until Blues move to their new stadium.

Fears were raised that the market, usually open every Thursday at the club’s ground, will permanently close as a result of Covid-19. 

However, Mr Martin has made it clear the market will remain open until Blues move from their current home at Roots Hall to Fossetts Farm, near Waitrose.

Roots Hall will then be developed with 500 homes.

Speaking of the fears of the market closure, Mr Martin said: “This is not correct and I do know where rumours emanate.

“The market will close when the club moves but its future is safe for the time being. We recognise the benefits to the community whilst it remains open.”

The news has been met with sighs of relief from regular market shoppers.

Gary Homer, 62, from Southend, said: “We were so disappointed when we heard the market wouldn’t be re-opening, we’d seen on Facebook that they would be closing for good after Covid.

“We go there all the time for basic bits like groceries and things like that, so we’ve been waiting for it to re-open.

“I think people love it so much because you never know what you will find and there are definitely some gems. It’s different every time. 

“The club doesn’t make anything from it, they do it for the community and fans, which makes us support them even more.

“We’re regulars as well, so we’ve got to know everyone down there, they are really nice people.

“Where it’s outside we will be heading back with a mask when we can and will keep our distance, we still have to be careful.”

Kevin Robinson, Southend Council cabinet member for business, said: “The market has been there for such a long time, probably even before I moved here.

“It’s somewhere I occasionally pop to on a Thursday, and I often see lots of my neighbours down there too. It is popular, you can grab all sorts of bargains and niche bits there.

“But of course I completely understand that it will close when the club does move, as housing will be there in the future. It wouldn’t really make sense.

“The market really has served the community well, and when the time comes I hope there will be other opportunities for them at another site.”