One extreme to the other…

Oldham Athletic v Southend United – Vanarama National League – Boundary Park – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview

Southend United Football Club – Appealing on the pitch, appalling off it. The extremes are chasmic. The reality of it all is deeply disturbing. Let’s start with the positives.

Two second-half penalties from Jack Bridge ensured the Blues derby day bragging rites in front of a healthy 7,345-strong audience at Roots Hall Stadium.

Southend thoroughly deserved their 2-0 success over a Dagenham & Redbridge side that always provide stiff opposition. 

Now unbeaten in four, winning three of those outings, Kevin Maher’s men are three points outside the play-off places: “To have over 7,500 in here tells a story of what the players and staff have done since I’ve been here,” the Blues boss enthused.

“To be in touching distance of the play-offs despite everything is a testament to everyone. I’ve experienced some good times here and I know what it’s like, and that was great to hear at the end.

“If we do our job, then who knows what could happen? Whatever happens this season, the lads have been incredible and so have the fans. Let’s give everything we’ve got for three games and see where it takes us.”

Unfortunately, I remain hugely concerned as to where the end of the season will take us. Recently, I’ve doubted whether the Blues can make the top seven. But if they do, I’ll be delighted that Maher, his staff and the players have proved me wrong. But play-offs or not, the football club remains in a dark place with little in the way of encouraging news coming our way regarding a potentially positive change of ownership.

Indeed, no news would be a better description. We are aware that some of the staff are still behind in receiving their salaries, while PG Site Services have once again taken to social media, confirming that they will be ending their sponsorship deal with the Blues. 

It’s quite incredible to think that at a club that has suffered back-to-back relegations, losing their league status in the process and currently appearing to have little chance of regaining it, the football remains the one positive. That very fact should tell you all you need to know about Southend United right now. When, and perhaps more worrying, how will this end?

Anyway, football. Southend faces Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park on Tuesday evening. The Latics are no strangers to off-field issues themselves, but now appear to be in recovery under the guidance of local businessman and life-long fan, Frank Rothwell.

Maher remains focused on what the team can achieve: “We just attack the next game,” he said.

“Other clubs will feel us coming behind them I guess, and if we keep doing what we do, that’s all we can focus on. 

“Whatever happens elsewhere happens elsewhere, but we’ve got to get ourselves right. They’ve got to win games to stay where they are.”

I understand more than three hundred Blues fans will be making their way to the North-West on Tuesday evening. No doubt they will gauge the mood of a club and fanbase setting itself for a return to better, less complicated times. Any chance we can have a pint of what they’re having?

Jeevesie’s prediction: Oldham Athletic 1-1 Southend United 


Brian Jeeves