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SOUTHEND UNITED’S five-year stint in Sky Bet League One was brought to its inevitable conclusion after EFL clubs voted to end the campaign following the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Coventry City and Rotherham United celebrated promotion to the Championship, Blues, along with Bolton Wanderers and Tranmere Rovers slip into League Two following a desperate campaign.
Southend had avoided the drop by the skin of their teeth on the final day of the 2018/19 season. However, that dramatic 2-1 success over Sunderland at Roots Hall Stadium only served to paper over the cracks.
Blues continued to struggle badly under the management of Kevin Bond and although his departure and a first win of the season at the ninth attempt conjured up by caretaker boss, Gary Waddock, Southend couldn’t kick on.
The appointment of Sol Campbell altered the course very little as Southend continued their rapid decline. Although notable performances from some of the younger players at the club – thrust into the first team during a particularly bleak period – offered a glimmer of hope for the future.
But when football was curtailed in March, Southend found themselves second from bottom in League One, sixteen points from safety. Indeed, only Bolton sat below the Blues. The Trotter’s having started the season minus twelve points following financial issues that threatened the clubs’ future.
It now remains to be seen whether former Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal defender, Campbell, will remain at Roots Hall. Last week, Chairman, Ron Martin, speaking on TalkSport 2, explained; “He’s ambitious and he assembled a good management team, probably I would argue, almost too good for League Two.
“Quite what he feels about being in League Two I don’t know.”
With Southend likely to be fielding a youthful side come the new season, further struggle and frustration could lie ahead for the Roots Hall faithful who have displayed remarkable loyalty during the worst season in the clubs’ 114-year history.