Southend United F.C.

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Southend United
Southend United.svg
Full nameSouthend United Football Club
Nickname(s)The Shrimpers, The Seasiders, The Blues
Founded19 May 1906;115 years ago (1906-05-19)
Ground Roots Hall
Capacity12,392
Chairman Ron Martin
Manager Phil Brown
League National League
2020–21 League Two, 23rd of 24 (relegated)
Website Club website
Soccerball current event.svg Current season

Southend United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. As of the 2021–22 season, the team competes in the National League, the fifth tier of English football. Southend are known as "The Shrimpers", a reference to the area's maritime industry included as one of the quarters on the club badge. The club is owned by property developer Ron Martin.

Contents

Founded on 19 May 1906 in the Blue Boar pub, [1] Southend won the Southern League Second Division in both of their two initial seasons and were admitted into the Football League in 1920. They spent the next 44 years in the third tier of English football, before dropping into the Fourth Division in 1966. They spent the next 24 years moving between the third and fourth tiers, winning promotions in 1971–72, 1977–78, 1980–81 (as champions), 1986–87 and 1989–90. They were promoted into the Second Division for the first time at the end of the 1990–91 season. After six seasons in the second tier they suffered a double relegation in 1997 and 1998. Under the stewardship of Steve Tilson, Southend again secured a double promotion in 2004–05 and 2005–06 to win a place in the Championship as League One champions. However this time they only lasted one season in the second tier and were relegated back to League Two in 2010. They secured promotion as play-off winners in 2015, but suffered two successive relegations in 2020 and 2021, amidst financial problems. After 101 years in the Football League, the club were relegated to the National League in the 2020–21 season.

The club is based at Roots Hall Stadium [2] in Prittlewell, with plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm. Southend have a long-standing rivalry with nearby club Colchester United, with whom they contest the Essex derby.

History

1906–1984

Chart of table positions of Southend in the League. Southend United FC League Performance.svg
Chart of table positions of Southend in the League.

Southend United F.C. was formed in 1906 and played in the Southern League until 1920, when they co-founded the Football League's new Third Division; they finished 17th in their first ever season. In 1921, the Third Division was regionalised with Southend United joining the southern section and here they remained until league re-structure in 1958. Southend came close to promotion twice when they finished 3rd in 1932 and 1950, the club's highest league positions until 1991. [3]

Southend United joined the new national Third Division in 1958, where they remained until 1966 when they suffered their first ever relegation, into the Fourth Division. The club had to wait six seasons until 1972 to experience the club's first ever promotion as runners-up behind Grimsby Town. In 1976 Southend suffered relegation again before taking another runners-up spot behind Watford in 1978. Another relegation in 1980 was directly followed by one of the most successful seasons in the club's history as they won the Fourth Division Championship in 1981, breaking a series of club records in the process. [3] Despite success on the pitch and low admission prices, the club's gates were low and condemned as "a bad reflection on the town". [3] (p72)

1984–2004

In 1984, the club was relegated to the Fourth Division (Bobby Moore was manager), and the following season finished 20th, narrowly avoiding having to seek re-election to the Football League. However, Southend gained promotion in 1987. Although relegated again in 1989, successive promotions in 1990 and 1991 saw Southend United reach the second tier of the Football League; in 1992, under manager David Webb, the club finished 12th in the old Second Division, having briefly topped the division on New Year's Day, 1992.

Southend United were managed by Colin Murphy, Barry Fry and then Peter Taylor over the next three seasons. In 1995, former Liverpool player Ronnie Whelan became player-manager. [4] Southend finished 14th in Division One in his first season as a manager, but were relegated a year later and Whelan left the club, later winning a case for wrongful dismissal. [5] He was replaced by Alvin Martin but Martin was unable to avoid a second consecutive relegation. Martin left in April 1999, with Southend fifth from bottom in the Football League,. [6] Alan Little was manager for a brief spell before the club turned again to David Webb, then Rob Newman, Steve Wignall and, in late 2003, former Southend United midfielder Steve Tilson.

2004–2010

Under Tilson, Southend reached their first national cup final, meeting Blackpool in the final of the Football League Trophy at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. [7] Over 20,000 Southend fans travelled, [8] but the team did not rise to the occasion and Blackpool won 2–0. Tilson then led Southend to promotion to League 1 in 2005, while making a second successive appearance in the Football League Trophy final, which the Shrimpers lost 2–0 to Wrexham, [9] but the third appearance at the Millennium Stadium in the League Two play-off final against Lincoln City brought success [10] giving the club its first promotion via the play-off system and their first major silverware since 1981.

In May 2006 Southend became League One champions after beating Bristol City 1–0 at Roots Hall in front of over 11,000 fans - the club's first title in 25 years. Tilson was named as the League Manager Association's Manager-of-the-Season for League One.

Southend started the 2006–07 season with wins over Stoke City and Sunderland, but then did not win a league game for 18 games until December 2006. In the meantime, however, Southend did beat trophy holders and Premier League Champions Manchester United 1–0 in a League Cup fourth round tie on 7 November 2006, with Freddy Eastwood scoring the winner. [11] Southend briefly escaped the relegation zone in March 2007 but only 10 league wins in the season meant the Shrimpers were relegated back to League One. Southend finished sixth in League One at the end of 2007–08, qualifying for a play-off place. Against Doncaster Rovers, Southend drew the home leg 0–0, but lost the second leg 5–1. The following season, Southend finished 8th, missing out on a play-off place, but the 2009–2010 season was tougher: a run of just one win in 2010 left Southend deep in trouble, and relegation to League Two was confirmed on 24 April 2010 following a 2–2 draw at Oldham. On 4 July 2010 manager Steve Tilson was put on gardening leave, [12] ending his seven-year stint as manager.

2009–10 financial difficulties

During the 2009–10 season, Southend faced two winding-up orders from HM Revenue and Customs over unpaid tax bills. [13] [14] In February 2010 Southend players were not paid, the Professional Footballers Association had to pay the players, and the club were placed under a transfer embargo until they paid the money back. [15] In March 2010 Southend were given a 35-day extension to pay the unpaid bill or face administration, [16] and further seven day extension in April 2010. [17] On 20 April 2010 the bill was paid, [18] and in August 2010 all actions against Southend United were dropped and an agreement was reached with HMRC. [19]

2011–present

On 5 July 2010 former Sheffield Wednesday and Plymouth Argyle manager, Paul Sturrock was announced as the new manager. [20] Sturrock led Southend to a 13th place in his first season, but the club mounted a more serious challenge the following season, spending 11 weeks at the top of League Two before a decline in form meant the team had to enter the play-offs. Southend lost the play off semi-final against Crewe Alexandra 3–2 on aggregate.

Southend United at Wembley Southend United at Wembley.jpg
Southend United at Wembley

A transfer embargo at the start of the 2012–13 season saw the club start its campaign with a depleted squad. However, a successful loan signing - Britt Assombalonga from Watford - helped Southend to a run of 14 games unbeaten which saw them reach 4th in the table. League form dipped in early 2013, but the club reached its first Wembley cup final in the Football League Trophy. Paul Sturrock was sacked two weeks before the cup final but was controversially asked to manage the team for the final. Sturrock refused and watched the game from the stand. The Blues took a record 33,000 fans to the match, but lost 2–0 to Crewe Alexandra. [21]

Phil Brown was brought in as Sturrock's successor but picked up just one win in his eight games in charge as Southend finished the season in 11th position, with only six league wins at Roots Hall all season. In 2015 Brown led the team, via a play-off final against Wycombe Wanderers (decided 7:6 on penalties), into League One. [22] At the end of the 2016–2017 season, the club missed the play-offs for the Championship by only one point. [23] The following season, Southend finished 10th, but slipped to 19th at the end of the 2018-2019 season, avoiding relegation on goal difference having finished equal on 50 points with relegated Plymouth Argyle.

2019–21: financial difficulties and double relegation

On 22 October 2019, Sol Campbell was appointed manager of Southend. [24] Campbell took charge for his first game — a 3–1 home defeat to Ipswich Town — on 25 October. [25] Financial difficulties, including a winding-up petition heard on 22 January 2020, resulted in non-payment of players' and other employees' wages in December 2019, after which players consulted with the PFA. [26] At this point (9 January 2020), Southend were 22nd in League One, 15 points from safety after winning only one of 24 league games. [26] Club chairman Ron Martin paid £140,000 after seven senior Southend United players were not paid their December 2019 wages on time, and met with all players to reassure them it would not happen again. [27] The winding-up petition was dismissed after debts were cleared. [28]

On 18 January 2020, Southend won their first league game under Campbell with a 2–1 victory away at Accrington Stanley, also a first league win since 21 September 2019. [29] However, financial constraints prevented the club signing any new players during the January 2020 transfer window. [30] On 2 March, Martin confirmed Southend was under an EFL transfer embargo due to an unpaid tax bill, [31] while February's wages to players were not paid on time, resulting in further PFA involvement. [32] On 9 March, Southend was charged with misconduct by the EFL for failing to pay players on time, and for fielding an ineligible player against Lincoln City on 1 February [33] (on 2 June, Southend received a suspended three-point penalty and were fined £7,500 for these offences). [34] On 11 March, a further HMRC winding-up petition was adjourned to 29 April; [35] it was then adjourned three more times, [36] [37] eventually to 28 October 2020. [38]

On 2 April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, Southend put "several staff and some players" on furlough (temporary leave) under the UK Government's emergency job retention scheme. The club's chairman said "It enables the club to best manage its finances during this time of limited income", [39] but the move was criticised by the PFA who said the club had "consistently" let players down over wages. [40] On 9 June, Football League clubs in Leagues One and Two agreed to end the 2019-20 season; Southend were relegated to League Two. [41] The following day, the club announced it was putting the whole playing squad on furlough, [42] but players refused to accept the move. [43] On 30 June 2020, manager Campbell and three assistants left the club by mutual consent. [44]

On 13 August 2020, Southend United appointed Mark Molesley, formerly manager of Weymouth, as their new manager on a three-year contract. Tom Prodomo, who worked with Molesley at Weymouth, also joined the club, as assistant manager. [45] On 28 October 2020, the club finally settled tax debts of £493,931 with HMRC; as a result, a winding-up petition was dismissed by the High Court. [46]

On 9 April 2021, Molesley was sacked by Southend United having only won 8 games out of 45; [47] the club were 23rd, five points from safety with six games remaining. Phil Brown returned as manager [48] [49] but could not rescue the situation; Southend suffered a second successive relegation on 1 May 2021 with a game to spare despite a 2–1 victory at Barrow, dropping out of the Football League after 101 years. [50] Brown subsequently agreed a two-year contract to manage the club. [51]

In April 2021, former Southend player Stan Collymore wrote to Martin offering to buy the club from him, [52] and held talks concerning the potential appointment of a Collymore associate as the club's CEO. [53]

Stadium

The club has played at five grounds: the original Roots Hall, the Kursaal, the Southend Stadium, the rented New Writtle Street Stadium (home of Chelmsford City F.C.) and again at Roots Hall. [54]

Roots Hall was the first stadium that the club owned and was built on the site of their original home, albeit at a lower level. The site previous to Southend purchasing it in 1952 had been used as a sand quarry, by the council as a landfill site and by the local gas board (which was convinced to move to Progress Road). [54] It took 10 years to fully complete the building of Roots Hall. The first game was played on 20 August 1955, a 3–1 Division Three (South) victory over Norwich City attendance 12,190, but the ground was far from complete. [54] The main East Stand had barely been fitted and ran along only 50 yards of the touchline, and only a few steps of terracing encircled the ground, with the North, West and the huge South Bank still largely unconcreted. The North Stand had a single-barrelled roof which ran only the breadth of the penalty area, and the West Bank was covered at its rear only by a similar structure. [54]

Although the ground was unfinished, during the inaugural season this was the least of the club's worries, for the pitch at Roots Hall showed the consequences of having been laid on top of thousands of tonnes of compacted rubbish. Drainage was a problem, and the wet winter turned the ground into a quagmire. The pitch was completely re-laid in the summer of 1956 and a proper drainage system, which is still in place, was constructed, and the West Bank roof was extended to reach the touchline, creating a unique double-barrelled structure. [54]

The terracing was completed soon after, but the task of completely terracing all 72 steps of the South Bank was not completed until 1964. The North Bank roof was extended in the early 1960s, and the East Stand was extended to run the full length of the pitch in 1966. Floodlights were also installed during this period. Roots Hall was designed to hold 35,000 spectators, with over 15,000 on the South Bank alone, but the highest recorded attendance at the ground is 31,090 for an FA Cup third round tie with Liverpool in January 1979. [54]

Until 1988 Roots Hall was still the newest ground in the Football League, but then the ground saw a significant change. United had hit bad times in the mid-1980s and new chairman Vic Jobson sold virtually all of the South Bank for development, leaving just a tiny block of 15 steps. [54] In 1994, seats were installed onto the original terracing, and a second tier was added. The West Bank had already become seated in 1992 upon United's elevation to Division Two while the East Stand paddock also received a new seating deck, bolted and elevated from the terracing below. In 1995 the West Stand roof was extended to meet up with the North and South Stands, with seating installed in each corner, thus giving the Roots Hall its current form, with a capacity of just under 12,500. [55]

On 24 January 2007, Southend Borough Council unanimously agreed to give planning permission for a new 22,000-seater stadium at the proposed Fossetts Farm site, with Rochford District Council following suit 24 hours later. The application was subsequently submitted to Ruth Kelly, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for government approval. However, the application was "called in" at the beginning of April 2007. The inquiry began in September 2007, followed in October 2007 by a "final" inquiry, when chairman Ron Martin called for supporters to show in numbers at Southend's local government headquarters. On 6 March 2008, permission to develop Fossetts Farm was given by the government. [56] However, it took a further 12 years before firm plans emerged for the development; in April 2020, a deal was agreed between Southend United, the borough council and social housing provider Citizen Housing. [57]

Rivalries

Southend players Southend Players taunt colchester fans.jpg
Southend players

The club has an intense local rivalry with fellow Essex side Colchester United, which extends back many years. However, at the end of the 1989–90 season, Southend's promotion from the Football League Fourth Division coincided with Colchester's fall from the Football League, so the clubs had to wait almost 15 years before meeting again in competition in 2004, when they contested the Southern Final of the Football League Trophy; the Shrimpers won 4–3 on aggregate, securing their first ever appearance in a national cup final. In the following season, the two clubs met again in an Essex derby match in the same competition, with Southend emerging as the victors once again after a penalty shootout. The two clubs were promoted from League One at the end of the 2005–06 season, after a long battle for top spot was eventually won by Southend. The overall competitive head-to-head record for the rivalry stands at 30 wins for Southend, 25 wins for Colchester, and 17 draws. [58] The last meeting between Southend and Colchester came in October 2018, when Colchester won 2-0 in the group stage of the EFL Trophy. [59]

There is also a fierce rivalry between Southend and Leyton Orient, which arises from the time between 1998 and 2005, when the Essex club were Orient's geographically-closest league rivals.[ citation needed ] Although the games between the two teams are eagerly anticipated, and Southend are considered to be Orient's main rivals, the Shrimpers see the London club as secondary rivals to Colchester United, for geographical and historical reasons. [60]

The Shrimpers beat the O's in the 201213 Football League Trophy Southern Area Final to book a place at Wembley in the final against Crewe Alexandra. Southend won 1–0 at Brisbane Road in the first leg of the area final and drew 2–2 at Roots Hall in the second leg, winning 3–2 on aggregate, despite being in a lower division than Orient at the time.

Players

Current squad

As of 21 March 2021 [61]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer
1 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Mark Oxley
2 DF Flag of Uganda.svg  UGA Elvis Bwomono
3 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Nathan Ralph
5 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Shaun Hobson
8 MF Flag of France.svg  FRA Timothée Dieng
9 FW Flag of Nigeria.svg  NGA Simeon Akinola
11 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Terrell Egbri
12 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Tom Clifford
13 GK Flag of England.svg  ENG Harry Seaden
14 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Rob Howard
15 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Lewis Gard
16 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Harry Phillips
19 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Eren Kinali
20 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ashley Nathaniel-George
21 FW Flag of England.svg  ENG Matt Rush
No.Pos.NationPlayer
23 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Greg Halford
24 DF Flag of Cyprus.svg  CYP Jason Demetriou
26 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Harry Lennon
30 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Ricky Holmes
31 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG O’Shane Stewart
32 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Louis Walsh
34 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Oli Coker
42 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Sam Hart
44 MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Nathan Ferguson
48 DF Flag of England.svg  ENG John White (captain)
DF Flag of England.svg  ENG Josh Coulson
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG Jack Bridge
MF Flag of England.svg  ENG James Dunne
FW Flag of Ireland.svg  IRL Rhys Murphy

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No.Pos.NationPlayer

Player of the Year

SeasonWinner
1965–66 Tony Bentley
1966–67 Trevor Roberts
1967–68 Billy Best
1968–69 John Kurila
1969–70 Billy Best
1970–71 Alex Smith
1971–72 Brian Albeson & Bill Garner
1972–73 Terry Johnson
1973–74 Chris Guthrie
1974–75 Alan Moody
1975–76 Alan Little
1976–77 Andy Ford
1977–78 Colin Morris
1978–79 Ron Pountney
1979–80 Ron Pountney
1980–81 Derek Spence
1981–82 Dave Cusack
1982–83 Ron Pountney
1983–84 Micky Stead
1984–85 Steve Phillips
1985–86 Richard Cadette
1986–87 Jim Stannard
1987–88 Dave Martin
1988–89 David Crown
1989–90 Paul Sansome
1990–91 Peter Butler
1991–92 Brett Angell
1992–93 Stan Collymore
1993–94 Chris Powell
1994–95 Ronnie Whelan
1995–96 Simon Royce
1996–97 Keith Dublin
1997–98 Julian Hails
1998–99 Mark Beard
1999–00 Nathan Jones
2000–01 Kevin Maher
2001–02 Darryl Flahavan
2002–03 Leon Cort
2003–04 Mark Gower
2004–05 Adam Barrett
2005–06 Freddy Eastwood
2006–07 Kevin Maher
2007–08 Nicky Bailey
2008–09 Peter Clarke
2009–10 Simon Francis
2010–11 Chris Barker
2011–12 Mark Phillips
2012–13 Sean Clohessy
2013–14 Ryan Leonard
2014–15 Daniel Bentley
2015–16 Ryan Leonard
2016–17 Ryan Leonard
2017–18 Mark Oxley [62]
2018–19 Simon Cox
2019-20 Elvis Bwomono
2019-20 Shaun Hobson

Top league scorer

SeasonWinnerStartsSubGoals
2000–01 David Lee 3758
2001–02 Tes Bramble 3239
2002–03 Tes Bramble 3139
2003–04 Leon Constantine 40321
2004–05 Freddy Eastwood 31219
2005–06 Freddy Eastwood 34624
2006–07 Freddy Eastwood 41111
2007–08 Lee Barnard 1149
2008–09 Lee Barnard 241111
2009–10 Lee Barnard 25015
2010–11 Barry Corr 32918
2011–12 Bilel Mohsni 23813
2012–13 Britt Assombalonga 40315
2013–14 Barry Corr 301013
2014–15 Barry Corr 39614
2015–16 Jack Payne 2879
2016–17 Simon Cox 39516
2017–18 Simon Cox 42210
2018–19 Simon Cox 42316
2019–20 Charlie Kelman 1265
2020–21 Tom Clifford 2263
Timothée Dieng 3413

Managers

PeriodManager
1906–1910 Bob Jack
1910–1911 George Molyneux
1912–1919 Joe Bradshaw
1919–1920 Ned Liddle
1920–1921 Tom Mather
1921–1934 Ted Birnie
1934–1940 David Jack
1946–1956 Harry Warren
1956–1960 Eddie Perry
1960-1960 Frank Broome
1961–1965 Ted Fenton
1965–1967 Alvan Williams
1967–1969 Ernie Shepherd
1969–1970 Geoff Hudson
1970–1976 Arthur Rowley
1976–1983 Dave Smith
1983–1984 Peter Morris
1984–1986 Bobby Moore
1986–1987 David Webb
1987–1987 Dick Bate
1987–1988 Paul Clark
1988–1992 David Webb
1992–1993 Colin Murphy
1993–1993 Barry Fry
1993–1995 Peter Taylor
1995–1995 Steve Thompson
1995–1997 Ronnie Whelan
1997–1999 Alvin Martin
1999–1999 Mick Gooding
1999–2000 Alan Little
2000–2000 Mick Gooding
2000–2001 David Webb
2001–2003 Rob Newman
2003–2003 Stewart Robson
2003–2003 Steve Wignall
2003–2010 Steve Tilson
2010–2013 Paul Sturrock
2013–2018 Phil Brown
2018–2019 Chris Powell
2019–2019 Kevin Bond
2019–2019 Gary Waddock
2019–2020 Sol Campbell [63]
2020–2021 Mark Molesley
2021– Phil Brown
Source: [64]

Management

[65]

PositionPerson
Manager Phil Brown
Assistant ManagerRicky Duncan
First Team Coach Craig Fagan
Goalkeeping CoachTerry Mason
Under 21s Manager Craig Fagan
Head of Recruitment Anton Robinson
Centre of Excellence ManagerRicky Duncan
Development CoachDanny Heath

Academy staff

Academy Manager: Ricky Duncan

Academy Operations Secretary/U21s Secretary: Lis Orford

Head of Coaching: Ian Hart

U21 Manager: Craig Fagan

Professional Development Phase Coach: Danny Heath

Lead Youth Development Phase Coach: Mark Moss

Lead Foundation Phase Coach: Daniel Costa

Education and Welfare Officer: Elaine Hume

Academy Lead Physiotherapist: Amy Rogers

Under 21 Strength and Conditioning Coach: Jon Rossi

Under 18 Strength and Conditioning Coach: Cat Malcolm

Club honours

Club records

Kit

Source: [67]

YearsKit manufacturerShirt sponsor
1975–1978AdmiralMotor Plan
1978–1981 Bukta Charterhouse
1983–1984Motor Plan
1985–1986Laing
1986–1988Firholm
1988–1990Spall
1990–1991Hi-Tec
1991–1992Beaver
1992–1994Elonex
1994–1995Crevette
1995–1996United Artists
1996–1998Olympic SportswearTelewest Communications
1998–1999Progressive Printing
1999–2000Rossco
2000–2001Pier SportRebus (Home)
Wyndham Plastics (Away)
2001–2002Hi-TecRebus
2002–2003Sport HouseMartin Dawn
2003–2004 Nike GKC Communications (Home)
Wyndham Plastics (Away)
2004–2006Betterview Windows and Conservatories
2006–2014 InsureandGo
2014–2017Martin Dawn
2017–2018The Amy May Trust
2018–2019Prostate Cancer UK
2019–2020 Paddy Power
2020 Hummel Watchlotto.com

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