Liam from All At Sea fanzine discusses Southend United
Hi there, so before we discuss the team tell us a bit about yourself and the fanzine?
My name is Liam and I joined the editorial team about 5 years ago. The fanzine is 17 years old and the passion project (aren’t they all) of Jai Forsyth. He has worked tirelessly to keep the zine going all these years and if they were to give out medals for community service he surely deserves one. Even though Southend fans probably don’t want to read anything depressing about the club right now!
How hard was relegation to deal with and what were your expectations going into 21-22?
Relegation last year was a foregone conclusion but November. We were under a transfer embargo for the first THIRD of the season and it took us as long to register our first win. The fact that it came down to the final day was a minor miracle. This year, as ever, I would be happy not to get relegated.
How’s your early form been?
Early form is woeful, we look totally out of sorts with a mirage of a midfield offering nothing to anyone that looks at it. We beat King’s Lynn on the opening day but have had since had defeats against Halifax and Aldershot. We seem to be regressing even further.
Any highlights to report so far?
The closest thing I have to a highlight so far was singing “Harry, what’s the score?” at ex-Shrimper and silly boy Harry Lennon (now of Wrexham) when we were 2-0 up. Lennon had a time at the club blighted by injuries and became a pantomime villain after drinking with the Dover players after they knocked us out of the FA cup a few years back. Wrexham promptly scored 2 goals and drew the match. That being a highlight tells you a) how poor we’ve been so far and b) how pathetically petty I am.
Who were your notable pre-season signings?
Rhys Murphy was probably the headline signing and has now started to score after getting a couple of games under his belt. James Dunne and Abu Agogo have been brought in to shore up the midfield and Josh Coulson is now the main man at the back. None of them have really hit the ground running but the club is an oil tanker and it will take time to get us back on course. Sam Dalby, a young striker released by Watford, is an exciting prospect. I cannot remember the last time we got a young striker in on a permanent deal.
TT PLAYER PROFILE:
Position: Josh Coulson
Position: Centre Back
Date of Birth: 28th January 1989 – 32 years-old
Previous Clubs: Cambridge Utd, Leyton Orient
NL Stats 21-22: Played 5, Goals 0, Yellow/Red Cards 1/0
Who are your key players and why?
Steve Arnold in goal will be key. Goalkeepers always are as they have no-one to cover them. Tom Clifford has suffered an injury but his set-piece delivery from left-back is really important. I’m hoping that Agogo can bully the midfield and Murphy can score some goals. That’s the spine of the team, without regular performances from those players we won’t get anywhere.
Who’s the manager and how does he like to set the team up?
Phil Brown was nicknamed “Nil-Nil Phil” after one particularly dour Christmas run of goalless draws at home (how festive!). People know Brown from his days in the Premier League with Hull but he did lead us to promotion in 2015 so there’s some good feeling towards him from some fans. This season we’ve looked at playing with 5 at the back; whether that’s because he feels the system suits the players or that it’s his only option considering the talent at his disposal god only knows. Phil Brown’s head is a mystery.
Will you bring many down to Plainmoor?
Southend fans, for all their rumblings at home are an extremely loyal and passionate bunch who generally travel well despite needing to use the M25 or public transport through London for almost ever away game. I BELIEVE that the last time we played at Plainmoor we won 4-1 (or 4-0) with Assombalonga and Tomlin grabbing 2 each. That was the most comfortable away day I have ever had because we got our 3rd about 5mins into the second half and the contest was over. Sorry for musing on past glories at your expense but there’s not much fresh in the memory. You should expect a fair few hundred. Torquay is a lovely town and we’re all glad to be back in grounds.