Southend United v Leyton Orient – Sky Bet League Two – Roots Hall Stadium – Saturday 3pm – Preview
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.
Colchester United 2-0 Southend United
Match: 43 Won: 8 Drawn: 14 Lost: 21 Points: 38 Position: 23rd Nils: 25
During five decades of watching Southend United, I have endured no less than ten relegations, but this one has provided the most anxiety and pain simply because I don’t see any way back.
The best assessment I can offer for Tuesday’s gutless derby defeat is that one team wanted it and the other didn’t. Southend’s 100-year membership of the Football League, quite literally, surrendered without a fight – Not just at the JobServe, but throughout a quite staggeringly bad season, even by our recent standards!
For the umpteenth time, Blues didn’t lay a glove on the opposition. No shots on goal. Colchester won easily. I know the U’s fans have been critical of Chairman, Robbie Cowling. But the proof is in the pudding. I guess survival was more important to those at the helm of one club than it was the other. One Team In Essex? It certainly feels that way right now, and worst of all, it doesn’t come as a great surprise to me!
Anger has turned to outrage on social media. The fans largely pointing the finger directly at Ron Martin, which is understandable, after all, he makes the decision, he has overseen this entire charade which has gathered momentum at a cosmic pace over the past three seasons.
The Save Our Southend Group issued a statement of their own immediately after the game, explaining;
Tonight, the inevitable finally happened, it is a culmination of three years of mismanagement, poor decision making and, frankly, a lack of care. Next season Southend United will no longer be a Football League team. We will be lining up with Weymouth, Wealdstone and Kings Lynn. That is no slight on those three clubs, we are lining up with them because we absolutely deserve to.
This club has been in a never-ending downward spiral in the last three years. Lessons should have been learned last season. They weren’t. It was not the time to try a manager with no experience at any meaningful level, although his hands were tied from the moment he arrived.
Criminally, not clearing debts and keeping the club in a transfer embargo proved a fatal decision for this season and ultimately our Football League history. That falls completely onto the shoulders of the Club Chairman, Ron Martin. He is the owner, he makes the decision and he must shoulder the blame.
It is absolutely vital that the club is competitive next season and sets out with the aim to bounce back at the first time of asking. We can only do this if the club is properly financed, due diligence is carried out on all transfers and an early, sensible, managerial appointment is made.
Save our Southend call upon Ron Martin to;
• provide funding plans for the next twelve months
• give an assurance that all tax bills are paid
• provide details for funding the club once we move into Fossets Farm
• employ a CEO with the utmost urgency
• acknowledge the errors of the recent past, and learn from them
We continue to support the club and the players through thick and thin.
Meanwhile, Phil Brown must now be wondering exactly what he has walked into?
Obviously, he was going to offer a defiant stance post-match – Perhaps something he should be admired for? But ultimately, a man with more than forty years of experience in the game will know that the game is up.
I noticed Brown standing in the centre circle following the post-match press conference, collecting his thoughts no doubt. I for one, would love to know exactly what was going through his mind?
On arrival home from Colchester, my attention was drawn to a Twitter post from Stan Collymore, offering to put a team together to buy the Blues and give the fans a competitive club.
I’ve met Stan several times in press boxes up and down the country and I can confirm that the Blues are close to his heart. But whether Mr Martin would sell, particularly with a sizable payday coming his way once Roots Hall is redeveloped, is open to debate. Every man has his price, but I ultimately fear that any businessman worth his salt and with the club at heart will realise that this is a labour of love project as opposed to a lucrative opportunity, besides which, I think it’s a case of Red Adair before Rothschild, taking into consideration the current state of the club – on and off the field.
Anyway, Leyton Orient… Do we have to?
Let’s get it out the way. The O’s have improved significantly under Jobi McAnuff and although a play-off place might just be beyond them, this season, the interim boss has surely done enough to persuade the owners that he is the man to lead and sustain a promotion challenge during the next campaign.
I don’t doubt that the O’s will hammer the final nail into Southend’s coffin this weekend. But remember, it’s not about this one or the last one. It is what has shamefully been allowed to escalate over a sizable period.
As for the Blues – Will we come back stronger from this, just as the likes of Orient, Exeter, Doncaster, Cambridge United and Lincoln? The truth is, I really don’t know? After all, death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.
Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 0-2 Leyton Orient