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Boreham Wood v Southend United – Vanarama National League – Meadow Park – Saturday (3pm) – Preview
Tin hats on – It’s gonna be a bumpy ride!
And let’s be perfectly honest, it’s a ride most of us want to get off. But there are one or two small signs of potential positivity, although like most Blues fans, seeing is believing and we haven’t seen too much up to now!
Where to start? Football! In itself, an unsafe sanctuary where Southend United are concerned. Kevin Maher, along with Darren Currie and Mark Bentley, came, saw and must have ultimately wondered exactly what to do after inheriting a group of footballers we’ve already recognised are simply not up to the task.
Despite lacking fitness, ability and confidence, Southend provided their incoming managerial trio with a steady, yet unspectacular opening 45 minutes at Victoria Road last weekend, creating a few half-chances and generally looking reasonably solid at the back.
But let’s get something clear. Dagenham & Redbridge have recruited well and within budget. They possess a far better squad than Southend and that was highlighted further during five mad minutes in which the Blues alarmingly collapsed like a pack of cards.
Frustrated fans pointed fingers at individuals. Goalkeeper, Harry Seaden took the brunt of their criticism. Maher’s post-match response was notable. “The players give everything and that’s the one thing I can’t complain about,” he told us. Some might have seen it as wrapping his lambs in cotton wool. Personally, I believe there is a realisation that, for now, he is largely stuck with these players. Throwing them under the bus again isn’t going to help him get a tune out of the proverbial broken instrument – Clever management!
Until Maher can recruit a sizable number of replacements, he is reliant on this group picking up the odd result here and there, ensuring we don’t become cut adrift as we have in the past two seasons.
Indeed, having had a week to implement his ideas, it will be interesting to see which of them are capable of a positive response. In the meantime, I’ve no doubt a list has been compiled and sent containing the names of those he would like to replace. Easier said than done with contracts in mind, I’m afraid.
In the meantime, CEO, Tom Lawrence provided us with a statement, initially expressing his delight at the managerial appointments before confirming that discussions with Stan Collymore, to engage him in a formal capacity, are ongoing.
Collymore’s involvement has, at times, spit opinion. Nevertheless, I for one remain positive towards Stan. After all, where exactly were we going before he showed up?
What’s next? Ah, the new stadium. No, really! Southend Borough Council’s development control committee meeting granted planning permission following the clubs latest application. Plans to redevelop Roots Hall into homes once the relocation of the football club is complete were also been approved.
A swift nose through social media suggested a reasonable amount of scepticism toward the announcement. Firstly, it has become something of a running joke over the last three decades and besides which, plenty of Blues supporters remain doubtful that the club will be the ultimate benefactor from the project. That particular debate will continue to run and run.
Nevertheless, within 24 hours of the stadium announcement, it was reported that Chairman, Ron Martin along with former sidekick, Geoffrey King (remember him?) were to appear in court charged with failing to pay over £5m in tax following two land deals in Cheltenham and Thundersley.
Blimey, it doesn’t rain, does it! Now I’m aware that the charges in question have nothing to do with Southend United Football Club and taking into consideration innocent until proven otherwise. But just think how this looks from the outside to potential investors, sponsors and even new signings who might just have had their heads turned and expectations raised following Maher’s arrival, after all, Mr Martin’s association with the Blues is often prioritised by the football fraternity.
The duo was released on bail with a plea and trial preparation hearing set for November 23 at Southwark Crown Court. The whole sorry saga is extremely uncomfortable and appears to have a knock-on effect, unfairly tarnishing the Blues already damaged reputation a little further.
I’ll tell you what – let’s talk football again. With the Dagenham performance in mind and having looked at the players in training, Maher has managed to bring in Sheffield United duo, Zak Brunt and Kacper Lopata, while Hamzad Kargbo and Benji Kimpioka head out of Roots Hall back to their parent clubs.
It remains to be seen whether the new additions will feature at Boreham Wood on Saturday, but it’s a positive sign that the management team have a plan and want to implement it as quickly as possible.
I wouldn’t be surprised if another signing is made before the weekend. As I’ve mentioned before, this isn’t a small operation. The squad requires major surgery simply to compete, let alone challenge. However, a step in the right direction on the playing front.
Boreham Wood are currently amongst the promotion contenders, sitting third in the table with eight wins from their thirteen matches to date, including a comfortable win over last weekends conquerors, Dagenham.
I’ve no doubt Maher has set out his message, his rules. Some will respond, some will fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, I still think it’s a little early to see a transformation in our fortunes on the pitch in terms of a result, even if the structure and balance appear a little less haphazard as to what we have become accustomed to over the past four years.
Jeevesie’s prediction: Boreham Wood 1-0 Southend United