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By ESPN Staff

Southend get approval for 22,000-seat stadium

Southend have been given the green light to build their new 22,000-seat stadium by the town's council.

The Coca-Cola Championship club's proposed state-of-the-art ground at the Fossetts Farm site was this afternoon approved by a unanimous decision.

The Shrimpers, who have achieved back-to-back promotions over the past two seasons, have been desperate to leave their cramped 12,400-capacity Roots Hall ground - their home of more than 50 years - in order to compete financially with some of the Championship's wealthier clubs.

The approved application will now be referred to the Secretary of State, although the council's decision should be rubber-stamped by the government office.

Southend currently lie at the foot of the Championship table, six points from safety, but chairman Ron Martin sees a bright future for the Essex side.

'It's the most important day Southend United have ever had,' said Martin.

'We are on an upward spiral of success and a new stadium will help that continue. We've taken attendances from 4,000 to 10,000 and the new stadium will see that rise even further.'

Manager Steve Tilson and assistant Paul Brush cited the stadium proposal as a major factor in their decision to sign new one-year contract extensions with the club last month.