Ronaldo and Messi were within a whisker of signing for The Shrimpers.

Details have just emerged about just how close Southend United came to signing both Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in this summer’s transfer window.

According to a reliable Southend News Network source within the Queensway underpass, representatives from Real Madrid and Barcelona met with senior Southend United officials in The Blue Boar pub, and transfer fees in the combined region of £900m were agreed and laid out in a pre-contract. Both players were flown in to Southend Airport for a medical, and once these had been successfully completed a further meeting with their agents was conducted at The Anne Boleyn, Rochford.

Although there were no disagreements about the transfer fees and personal terms, it is reported/alleged/wildly assumed that both deals fell through when it was made perfectly clear that the multiplex cinema development next to the new stadium at Fossett’s Farm will have 12 screens – one short of the 13 that are usually required by global superstars of La Liga in adjoining leisure facilities. Reassurances could not be given that the planning application would be adjusted to allow the extra screen, and at that point both deals collapsed.

Although a number of loyal Shrimpers will be disappointed by this news, an inside source from the club’s finance department has EXCLUSIVELY revealed to the Southend News Network that fans would have been hit hard in the pocket by the dual signings. If the deal would have been successful, the following adjustments would have been applied immediately to help finance the £900m outlay and £1.6m per week in wages:

  • For the remainder of the 2015/2016 season, all tickets in the South Upper at Roots Hall would have been changed to £678,000 per match.
  • Corporate hospitality in the new stadium would have been extended to cover 85% of the spectator areas, as well as 45% of the pitch.
  • Lego would have been switched to Mega Blocks in the new stadium plans to reduce the licensing costs.

At this late stage, there is still some optimism that a deal could be done in the January window – close friends of both players have hinted that they are monitoring the construction of Lidl in Eastwood with interest.