It’s important to remember that one swallow doesn’t make a summer

Cambridge United v Southend United – Sky Bet League Two – Abbey Stadium – Saturday 3pm – Preview

I’m happy to hold my hands up and admit I got it wrong. My pre-match prediction for the Blues trip to Newport County (a 3-0 defeat) was wildly inaccurate, with Tom Clifford’s deflected free-kick earning a valuable three points and providing a lifeline ahead of Saturday’s trip to Sky Bet League Two leaders, Cambridge United.

I think everyone was a little critical when we saw the Blues line-up at Rodney Parade. Starting with no recognised frontman at a time when there is no room for error certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Nevertheless, whether Mark Molesley got it right or got lucky will remain open to debate. But what he did get was three points, and at the end of the day, either rout to this ever more rare commodity is more than welcome from a Southend United perspective.

Of course, it was also a welcoming sight to see fans taking to social media, expressing their delight that the Blues were off the bottom of the table. I was even lucky enough to receive one or two personal messages, letting me know my prognosis was unsound. But it is vitally important to acknowledge that one swallow does not make a summer. Southend United remain in a fragile state both on and off the field. Failure to recognise this will result in fatal consequences – I’m sure the hierarchy, as well as the fans, need no reminding of that!

Anyway, sorry to douse the proverbial bonfire, but it is something I’ve found concerning for some time. I fully understand the whole ‘support the team through thick and thin’ logic. However, some Blues fans surface only after a rare victory and with the sole intention of scoffing at those who care greatly and have continually aired their concerns over the current state of affairs.

I know and respect that everybody is entitled to an opinion. But having covered Leyton Orient through a particularly troubled period under the ownership of Francesco Becchetti and having witnessed at close quarters how their supporters collectively fought tooth and nail for their precious football clubs’ very existence, I have to ask what exactly these ever-decreasing number of followers are seeing? Will they resurface if Southend gets a tonking on Saturday? – I very much doubt it!

Now the last thing I want to do is drive a wedge between an already divided fanbase, and I hope that ‘tonking’ doesn’t materialise, but surely it has not gone unnoticed that Southend United are still in a whole heap of trouble and even staying up, let alone a single victory will only be papering over the cracks.

Football supporters largely want the same thing from their club – I know I do. Honesty and effort on the field, transparency off it. I think we are all well-drilled in defeat and even the odd relegation along the way. But when those two imposters spiral out of control, which over the past three years at Southend United, they have – then the fans bold enough to ask questions are entitled to answers. Why has a football club with so much potential and with reasonable crowds in a large catchment area sunk into such a disparaging state? Why has a succession of managers in recent times failed so alarmingly? Why has the recruitment of players been so poor? And most importantly, how are we collectively going to reverse the cycle and get out of this mess?

Whatever the answers, weather permitting, Southend’s immediate concern is a trip to league leaders, Cambridge United.

This is as good a time as any to face the U’s. While Southend was celebrating in South Wales, they were on the wrong end of a cuffing at Salford City. Their pride hurt, resolve left in question?

But make no mistake, recording back-to-back victories this weekend remains a huge challenge for Southend. The reality of it is that Cambridge are still top and despite the mild midweek hysteria, Blues are still in the relegation zone. In Paul Mullins, Cambridge posses a frontman with two more goals to his name than the entire Blues team combined during the current campaign.

With Stevenage winning and Barrow having games in hand, the pathway ahead is still precarious, and that doesn’t take into account that others, such as Grimsby and Bradford City could put on a spurt, similar to Scunthorpe.

As I said, we all enjoyed the moment at Newport during the week and all remain hopeful. But with the evidence in front of you, ask yourself, are you supremely confident of a satisfactory outcome to all this?

Jeevesie’s prediction: Cambridge United 2-0 Southend United

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Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]