Ain’t no sunshine…

Southend United v Eastleigh – Vanarama National League – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview

Saturday, October 2 – 4:37pm – The JobServe Community Stadium press box…

Filthy weather and a Colchester United performance to match. Visitors, Salford City lead by two goals to nil. In truth, it could be four or five. It’s been pretty dismal stuff from the home side.

But what’s this? All of a sudden, my phone is doing cartwheels – Dispatches through the airwaves from the outskirts of Brummagem. As bad as it’s been at Colchester, Southend United, and far less impressively, beleaguered Chairman, Ron Martin, has provided us with a ‘hold my beer’ moment.

I scan through the attached pictured and videos, largely in disbelief – It’s cringe-worthy stuff. Truly embarrassing, and I’ve not even had a chance to analyse the performance yet! How much further can my football club fall before it crashes and burns?

The on-field evidence alone offers ample reason for the Southend United support to vent their anger towards both the Chairman and Manager. And although they fully deserve honest answers, Mr Martin’s decision to confront a section of the 513 Blues fans at Solihull Moors, particularly with emotions running so high, was irresponsible, arrogant and disrespectful. Doesn’t the man think these fans have been through enough?

Of course, the reaction from the terraces was predictable and completely understandable. A number of supporters messaged me their feelings on the whole sorry scenario. In the past, some have pleaded with the Chairman to ask for help, others have given him the benefit of what has always been a huge doubt to all of us. But right now, the majority want Mr Martin to go and a sizable percentage of them are no longer interested in his proposed new stadium either.

Scrolling through the disgruntled messages, this one from life-long Blues fans and season card holder, Christopher Bent, caught my eye;

“Just when I think our club can’t get any more surprising I witnessed our chairman take it upon himself to leave the directors box and confront supporters who were calling for his resignation during the second half of our latest submission in the National League.

“I can’t understand what on earth his thought process was, how could it possibly make things any better?

Yet again, the supporters turned out in big numbers and had a round trip of hundreds of miles to watch a team who look unmotivated and lack creativity and seemingly passion.

“It was painful enough watching our EFL status slipping away on the internet last season but watching us potentially slip downwards out of a third division in three years to end up in the National League South is heartbreaking to watch and it’s becoming more difficult to motivate myself to go to the games despite having paid out for a season ticket.

Something has to stop the rot, a change at the top needs to happen as the club has been dying in front of our eyes for years now all the pursuit of the dream of Fossetts Farm at the cost of success on the field.”

Strong stuff, but unfortunately, it very much feels as if football is a side-topic at the moment where Southend United are concerned. Nevertheless, let’s see what we can do.

My concerns, and doubtlessly everyone else, continued to escalate. Pre-Solihull, Phil Brown suggested that the Blues didn’t understand the National League yet and that it might take up to twenty games to recognise that. Well, Phil – and admittedly it’s not all your doing (although you were at the helm when this downward spiral started) We didn’t appear to understand League One or League Two either. Twenty matches? Take your time!

Anyway, I’ve now had an opportunity to assess the damage. It’s not rocket science, Southend’s performance during match eight of twenty simply wasn’t good enough. Solihull was the better side, the more comfortable side and disappointingly, the more competitive side. Unacceptable.

Brown’s post-match patter did very little to subside concerns, particularly when he added; “I got accused by one or two supporters today of blaming the players – I’m not blaming the players, I thought they were brilliant today.”

Phil, If losing 2-0 at Solihull Moors constitutes ‘brilliant’ then I’m clearly missing something. Yes, there is a section of the supporters calling for Brown to go. But as I’ve said before, let’s be honest, what ambitious and hungry football manager is going to be putting themselves forward to replace him. Also, are you comfortable with the recruitment process what with what has gone before?

But the simple fact is, you can’t change the past – Only shape the future. But what of a future Southed United has is anyone’s guess. Personally, I don’t want to think about it!

Blues, four defeats on the bounce without a win in seven and sitting amongst the relegation places, now face Eastleigh, one defeat in six and six places higher, at Roots Hall Stadium.

Ahead of Solihull, I’d targeted and predicted this to be the Blues best opportunity of collecting three precious points. But to be honest, and with recent form and performances in mind, I can no longer confidently envisage that particular outcome.

I very much doubt the mood inside Roots Hall will be particularly warming, although I do not doubt that the Southend United support, however downtrodden they feel, will provide the players with plenty of encouragement.

But in the great scheme of things, as fans, the future remains our greatest concern. One Team In Essex? For our town, community, hardcore Roots Hall faithful and the generations who have cared and supported our terrific little football club, I certainly hope not!

Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 1-2 Eastleigh


Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]