And now, the end is near, and so I face the final curtain…

Colchester United v Southend United – Sky Bet League Two – Jobserve Community Stadium – Tuesday 7pm – Preview

Going… Going… Gone!

Perhaps not quite, after all, the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings. But the Mezzo-soprano is now all but ready for the heartwrenching final act.

Damage report…

Exeter City 0-0 Southend United 

Match: 42 Won: Drawn: 14 Lost: 20 Points: 38 Position: 23rd Nils: 24

In the great scheme of things, the only difference between ‘Molesley Southend’ and ‘Brown Southend’ is that one plays a little wider and a little higher up the pitch. Obviously, that offers a greater opportunity to be creative, but, if we are to go to war with the oppositions – Phil’s words, not mine – then they will be needing sufficient armoury to get the job done. Unfortunately, once again, it was feather dusters instead of firecrackers – Exeter was let off the hook – Colchester and Grimsby picked up rare wins – Southend’s race as good as run.

It’s not rocket science – We all know where the problem lies on the pitch and have our own suspicions where they lie off it too. But the fact is, our football club is in a bad way. 

I know there are still people out there who will scoff at this – they did so when I suggested it three years ago – five years ago… Well, you get the picture. 

I will be at the JobServe on Tuesday evening. I covered Colchester’s win over Walsall at the weekend. It was an honest performance by a team playing on the front foot. Oh, and if you think that modern-day footballers simply don’t care, I can confirm that the relief amongst the group on the final whistle reverberated around the empty stadium, and was no doubt felt by U’s fans across the county.

Yes, I know. You don’t want to hear it. But I think Blues fans – and remember, I am one – need to know what we are facing up to on Tuesday evening. It’s been dubbed the biggest Essex derby in history – It isn’t. Important was five, ten, twenty, how about forty-two games ago. Why did it not seem so fundamental to the club back then?

Blues finds themselves on the brink, not because of the result on Tuesday, but through everything that has gone on before. I’ve always thought that Southend appears to be the only football club on the planet that seem surprised by the start of the season. It came as little relief when we finally joined the party fifteen games in because let’s face it, the damage had already been done. 

To those who still ridicule, Colchester followed by Leyton Orient are likely to provide the killer blow to our 100-year stay in the Football League. Just think about that for a minute. While some sections of our support remained obsessed by what was happening elsewhere, the rug was quite literally being pulled from under our feet by some appalling man-management. I guess it’s true – those who laugh last and all that!

But there’s no time for ‘I told you so’s – As a collective, Southend United must look to the future. The hierarchy has several important questions to answer. The vast majority of Blues fans refuse to be fobbed off any more. Supporting the Blues is an emotional rollercoaster, just as it is for our counterparts at Colchester, Orient, Walsall and every other ‘this is what we are’ provincial football club. But the last three years have been rubbish – a waste of time and money. Someone up there knows that, but will they be prepared to do anything about it? We need cast-iron guarantees – cards on the table – no waffle – no compromise.

Talk of a new stadium, for me, remains cheap. Mr Martin suggested that support from the council is strong across all Parties. How many councillors are there across the borough? How many of them, have you heard singing the praises of the project from a footballing perspective? What streams of income are available to the club on non-matchdays to make the club sustainable? Can you see my concern?

Anyway, Tuesday, Colchester. Anything other than a victory is curtains for Southend. It’s a game I believe we are capable of winning. Indeed, defensively, I think Blues have the stronger hand, although Colchester counter than offensively.

I for one, won’t be holding any grudges should the U’s tip us over the edge. As far as they are concerned, it is all about them, a professional approach, a ruthless streak, survival, all the traits I’d like to be labelling to Southend.

I think Southend’s football has been more palatable this last two game. Some will agree, some won’t. I understand that, after all, two more goalless draws isn’t really getting us anywhere fast.

Ironically, Frank Nouble has impressed since returning to Colchester on loan from Plymouth Argyle. Talk about the right player at the wrong time. I’d imagine his presence back in a Southend shirt would have propelled us several places up the league. A physical forward, suited to the division – the answer to Southend’s problems.

Frank Nouble – The right man at the wrong time? (Kieran Galvin ActionFotoSport)

In truth, I think the U’s and Blues might cancel each other out. But as I’ve said before, I’m looking beyond this game, whatever league Southend might be playing in, there needs to be change. There needs to be positivity, transparency and honesty. As supporters, we all hold our own opinions on players, managers, chairmen etc; but those priceless commodities are something we all agree upon and at the very least, all deserve.

Jeevesie’s prediction: Colchester United 0-0 Southend United

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]