All at Sea fanzine discuss their team Southend United
Hi there – so how would you summarise your season?
Season of two halves. The start was a disaster. Phil Brown had done little to no research on the quality of the division and we started with a side of players mostly aged 30+ and past their best. He was rightly sacked, Stan Collymore got involved and forced the club to start acting like a football club. Since Kevin Maher has come in, he and his team have lowered the age of the side, brought in some quality and got the rest playing like footballers. A real season of two halves.
How’s the team’s recent form been?
Recent form has been patchy as injuries have hit some of our better players and we still lack strength in depth. The side is playing better football and we’ve had a two week break so some key players like Ralph and Husin may come into contention for Sunday.
What’s been the highlights of your season?
The first day away at King’s Lynn, it was great to be back seeing the old faces again and an away win in front of 2,000 or so Southend fans was the perfect start. The win over Bromley in February was a magnificent performance and atmosphere and it really felt like something special was happening.
Who are your key players and why?
Jack Bridge is our key creative force, everything we do going forward goes through him. Keeper Steve Arnold has swept the board at the POTY awards and is a real fans favourite. New midfielder Noor Husin’s calmness on the ball and eye for a pass is key to the way we play, and in Sam Dalby we have a very promising young striker.
Have you got the right man in charge and why?
Yes, Maher is a club legend and has already made an impressive start. He has the right ideas on how to play the game and how he feels a club should operate. Importantly, he has the backing of the fans and is unlikely to come under pressure unless we have a very bad start next year.
What tactics does the manager like to use?
Maher likes to play attacking football and our 5-3-2 often sees the centre backs join in the attacks. Given a summer in the market I suspect he might revert to a 4-4-2 next year but at present he has found an effective way of playing with the limited squad that we have.
Do you think you’ll be contenders in 2022-23?
There is an expectation given the size of the club that we will challenge for the playoffs next year but we still don’t score enough goals. There will be an overhaul in the summer, while established clubs will already have many of the building blocks in place. I would expect a season rather like Torquay have had this time, but hopefully with a bit more hope of playoffs.
Where’s best for the Yellow Army to find pre-match food and drinks?
The Yellow Army should head to Old Leigh if the sun is shining, probably the best part of town for hostelries. Don’t expect much around the ground, most pubs are home only. The Fish House on corner of Vic Avenue and East Street does excellent grub.
Which opposition teams and players have impressed you most?
Ruben Rodriguez and Notts County destroyed us home and away, and Dagenham were also excellent in the three games we played them. Jack Cook was exceptional for Wealdstone in their smash and grab win at RH last month.
And finally, what’s your prediction for Sunday’s game?
I back us to go out and win if we have two or three players back. However, Torquay can be a very good side on their day so it will be a tight game.