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Vanarama National League outfit, Southend United have appointed former captain, Kevin Maher as their new first-team Head Coach.
The 44-year-old returns to Roots Hall Stadium having undertaken an assistants’ role at Sky Bet League Two side, Bristol Rovers. Twice the one-time Republic of Ireland under 21 international took the reigns at the Memorial Ground on a caretaker basis. He also spent a brief spell in charge at Chelmsford City following the departure of Clarets boss, Mark Hawkes, a position he held following another stint at Southend, coaching within the Shrimpers youth set-up.
Speaking on his appointment, Maher enthused: “I’m absolutely delighted.
Walking back in and the familiar surroundings that I’ve been so used to throughout my playing career and also coaching career, I’m delighted to be back and can’t wait to get started and hopefully help the club move in the right direction.
“While it’s brilliant to have the connections as a player, what I’ve learnt throughout my career has been a massive part of that and we had some brilliant times, we want to bring them back.
“It’s going to take time. It’s been a difficult time for the club in the last few years, but everyone is now pulling in the direction that we want to bring success back to this football club.
“If we are all in it together there’s no reason we can’t start to turn things. Slowly, we will do that, I’m sure of that because there’s a lot of good people at the Football Club and we all want the same thing.”
Maher will be assisted by former Barnet boss, Darren Currie. Currie joins Southend from Sheffield United where he was joint manager of the Blades under 23 side.
The 46-year-old gleaned valuable experience, largely as an assistant to John Still at Dagenham & Redbridge. He also spent two years in the hot seat at Barnet, leading the B’s to the National League play-offs before departing The Hive after failing to agree on new terms with the club.
Another former favourite returning to Roots Hall is Mark Bentley, who has recently caught the eye managing at Canvey Island.
The Gulls currently top the Pitching In Isthmian League North table, playing an exciting, attacking brand of football. Bentley appeared 93 times for Southend between 2004 and 2006, helping the club to back-to-back promotions ahead of a move to Gillingham. He has also managed Grays Athletic, where he finished his playing career in 2016
Hertford-born Bentley will fill the role of first-team coach as the overhaul of the Blues continues following the dismissal of Phil Brown and Craig Fagan after Southend’s disastrous 4-0 home defeat at the hands of Chesterfield a fortnight ago.