Can’t forget to remember…

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

Following a weekend of inactivity due to the lack of an Emirates FA Cup first-round tie, Southend United are provided with a huge test of their recently found play-off credentials when top-of-the-table Notts County arrive at Roots Hall Stadium on Tuesday evening for a BT Sport televised Vanarama National League encounter.

Some are seeing these as halogen times at Southend United. The Blues are playing reasonably well, unbeaten in nine and currently occupy sixth place in the table. Throw into the equation troubled Colchester United’s woes and some Blues fans are already thinking that all their Christmases have come early.

But have they or is this a case of the perfect storm for the clubs’ hierarchy? While contrasting emotions submerge Roots Hall and JobServe Community Stadium, I’d rather keep my eye on the ball. In-form Southend United are flying on the pitch but remain in a perilous position off it!

Dampening the bonfire, Jeevesie? Perhaps, yes! I’m fully aware that any potential elevation back into the Football League needed a platform and that this current group are doing their utmost to provide it. But as a supporter, I remain angry as to how we found ourselves here in the first place. I won’t let that go. It shouldn’t be forgotten. It was the result of appalling man-management over a lengthy period, coupled with awful recruitment.

Sixteen years ago this week, Championship outfit, Southend United entertained and conquered Manchester United in the League Cup. A truly memorable night and one to savour. I remember Sir Alex Ferguson commenting in his post-match press conference on the Blues ambitiously looking to move into a new stadium.

Sir Alex was taken in. We all were. Pictures on the clubs’ official website of levelled land, destined to become new training pitches simply don’t cut it. Come back to me when the bricks start stacking up and with the cost of building materials continuing to rise, I remain sceptical about completion schedules, or in the case of the new stadium itself, a starting date, particularly bearing in mind our financial plight and subsequently damaged reputation due to the late payment of bills and staff.

Anyway, back to football. While it can’t be ignored what a wonderful job Kevin Maher, his staff and players have achieved in recent weeks, the same can be said of Magpies boss, Luke Williams and his charges who are a point clear at the summit having lost just one of their seventeen league matches to date.

Notts have found goals easy to come by, scoring 45 times during that period, with their potent frontman, Macaulay Langstaff hitting the net seventeen times in as many matches.

“They’re doing ever so well and they’re top of the league for a reason,” Maher explained.

“It’s a massive test for us, but I’m sure they’ll feel the same. They’re a very good side and one that score a lot of goals. We’re in good form, their form has been first class and we’re looking forward to it.

“It’s one that you want to impose your game on, but whatever happens tactically, once you cross the white line it’s down to the players to perform. Hopefully, the players are in a good enough place to do that and we’ll see what happens.”

Of course, it will be a mammoth result should Southend come up trumps. Equally, an indicator of where the team want to be should we fail. I remain confident that Southend can and will claim a play-off place come the end of the season. But excepting Southend United Football Club as a work in progress has long since worn thin. At the moment, our troubled Essex rivals remain a division above us, and although that might change over the coming months don’t forget how that happened in the first place and especially when we have far bigger challenges hovering just over the horizon.

Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 1-1 Notts County


Brian Jeeves