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Crisis club Southend United sign former Premier League star as emergency free transfer minutes before handing him debut

SOUTHEND UNITED’S desperate situation plunged new depths on Tuesday evening as they signed ex-West Ham keeper David Martin minutes before he made his debut.

The National League outfit continue to teeter on the brink of bankruptcy as off-field issues threaten to force the club into extinction.

David Martin signed for Southend on Tuesday and made his debut 90 minutes later
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Martin starred in West Ham’s 1-0 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge four years ago
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They were hit with a 10-point deduction last month, but have somehow managed four wins and two draws from their opening 10 league matches.

It left them one point adrift of second bottom Fylde ahead of their home game against Maidenhead.

Yet they are still scrambling around for players to field a full team.

And 90 minutes before Tuesday’s clash, they announced the signings of Martin, 37, and Portuguese midfielder Mauro Vilhete, 30.

The pair came in to replace Harry Taylor and Gus Scott-Morriss who are serving suspensions for red cards they picked up in a 3-0 defeat to York City on Saturday.

And Martin, who is famous for helping West Ham beat Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in 2019, was straight into the team for the game.

Meanwhile, Vilhete was named as one of just TWO substitutes.

Yet despite the unprecedented situation at Southend, the Roots Hall faithful remain in awe of those playing for their club.

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Mauro Vilhete also signed for Southend on Tuesday and was named on a two-man bench
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One said: “Every single one of them out there tonight, heroes. Let’s back them all the way regardless 💙.”

Another added: “Martin, with his experience, he could be crucial for the defence.”

And a third replied: “Heroes, the lot of them.”

Southend supporters have long been calling for owner Ron Martin to leave, with many fearing for the club’s long-term future.

And in the 10th minute of last month’s home clash with Eastleigh, they let their feelings be known in style.

A barrage of tennis balls were launched onto the pitch as fans called on Martin to go.

The disruption caused the match to be suspended as staff cleared the field.

Martin has owned the club since 1998.

September 20, 2023 at 01:46AM

from The Sun

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