If this is discipline, what would have been disorder?

Southend United v Tranmere Rovers – Sky Bet League Two – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday 7pm

Damage report…

Oldham Athletic 0-0 Southend United

Match: 33 Won: 7 Drawn: 8 Lost: 18 Points: 29 Position: 23rd

Oh, and a new column; Nils: 18 – Back in the relegation zone – The proverbial iceberg is right ahead!

Of course, there are still doubters. The ‘it won’t happen to us’ brigade – but the supporter’s response on social media following the Boundary Park draw would suggest that the majority of the Roots Hall faithful cannot be fooled.

Southend United have failed to score in 18 of their 33 league matches. Just think about that for a minute! 

It’s down to those selected to put that particularly grim statistic right. But somebody in a professional position recommended them, somebody signed them and somebody agreed to the players receiving a contract, therefore suggesting they are good enough to compete at a professional level.  

But the simple fact is, the footballers charged with scoring the Blues’ goals are not good enough! And as the ‘SS Shrimper’ frolics ever closer to the trap door, those at the helm appear to have run out of ideas on how to steer the club clear of the biggest disaster in its 115-year-history.

Nile Ranger was a brave move, had he been fit enough for a return to league football. But who, amongst Southend’s remaining frontline has ever produced anything of note at this level before?

“I think the stats speak for themselves. That’s the alarming part from today, that we’ve created enough chances to win the game and unfortunately we haven’t put them away,” Mark Molesley bemoaned after Saturday’s stalemate.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, only one stat matters – the result, and Southend United have not been getting enough of them for the best part of three years!

As for chances to win the game and haven’t put them away – We’ll, misfiring, wasteful, unlucky, call it what you like but eighteen scoreless outings in the league (you can chuck in a couple more from the Carabao Cup and Papa John’s Trophy for good measures) should be enough to confirm that this isn’t a new thing and those who recommended them, signed them and agreed to the players receiving a contract, need to look a little harder at what they have brought to the table and perhaps take some responsibility themselves?

I’ve no doubt the players are honest. But that commodity alone isn’t enough in a division as ruthless as League Two. Southend desperately requires a merciless streak. They don’t possess it and haven’t for some time. The supporters, even the most blinkered, can surely see that – Why is that so difficult for those recruiting the players the fan are expected to pay to watch?

I’ve kept an eye on those keeping company with Southend towards the foot of the table. I don’t believe either Colchester (I was there, and they were awful on Saturday) or Port Vale will go down and of the bottom three, Barrow appears the best equipped and indeed the most confident of getting out of trouble. Sorry if that hurts or isn’t what you want to hear, but I’d rather be recognised as an honest journalist, even though I’d rather hope in this case to be proved wrong.

So what is the answer? Unless someone stands up to be counted, I’m afraid there isn’t one at this moment. Fifteen shots and four on target was more than Southend United had produced un their last umpteen matches put together – but still zilch! Evidence that goalscoring is a natural art, and at whatever level, it can be taught. If I know that – at best an Essex Senior League footballer during my playing days (I scored a smashing goal for Stambridge at Woodford Town – Top corner, I’ll tell you about it someday) – then surely the Blues recruitment team – professional people – are aware of it too?

What’s next? Tranmere Rovers. Surprisingly beaten at the weekend by Crawley Town – only their second setback in fifteen matches in all competitions, but still a reasonable bet for a top-three finish.

Leading goalscorer, James Vaughan, missed the Prenton Park defeat and will again be absent at Roots Hall after undergoing knee surgery. A glimmer of hope for Southend, particularly as the Birkenhead side have one eye on a Wembley final several days later.

But let’s be honest. It was once reported that a crewmember onboard the Titanic told embarking passenger, Mrs Sylvia Caldwell, that ‘God himself could not sink this ship! But unless something clicks and the onion bag starts bulging pronto, it will be time to man the lifeboats as Southend United plunge towards the icy depths of the National League with little sign of this stricken footballing vessel limping to safety.

Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United nil… 

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]