SOUTHEND United’s chairman Ron Martin faces his latest battle with the taxman in London’s High Court today.

HM Revenue and Customs has issued a winding up petition over an unpaid debt of £200,000.

Mr Martin claimed last month the Blues did not owe the money because the club over-paid when it settled an outstanding £2.15million debt in November.

The club’s lawyers wrote to HM Revenue and Customs last month to say they were “astounded” it had decided to proceed with a winding-up petition over a disputed debt.

A statement issued by the club last night said: “Supporters are aware that, following the payment of £2.15million to HMRC in November last year, and on analysis of the sums (primarily including interest and surcharges), the club disputed the amount paid by circa £200,000.

“This became the subject of further, we believe wholly unnecessary, action by HMRC, with them serving a petition around Christmas and the club submitting an appeal to the Tribunals Service with a cross claim.

“This issue will hopefully be settled in the club’s favour, in the short term. And, in the meantime, the club continues to make payments on the dates as they fall due.”

Maddy Radnett, spokeswoman for HM Revenue and Customs, refused to comment on the situation, saying it would breach confidentiality rules.

Premiership club Ports-mouth and Championship team Cardiff City are also due in court to face winding-up orders.