You’re so pretty, we’re so pretty…

Southend United v Grimsby Town – Vanarama National League – Roots Hall Stadium – Tuesday (7:45pm) – Preview

I’ve given it a lot of thought since Saturday. Admittedly, during my considerable time supporting Southend United, occasionally, I have been privileged to enjoy some decent teams that have been easy on the eye, with who I’ve felt a connection, and above all, have been successful. My personal favourite is Dave Smith’s 1980/81 Fourth Division championship-winning side.

Of course, you’ll all have your favourites. Promotion sides with flamboyant footballers leaving a trail of glittering memories for us to share with future generations of Blues fans. But what about this lot? I’m finding them quite endearing. How about you?

I wasn’t at Chesterfield at the weekend. I was lucky enough to be following the action from the media room at Anfield ahead of covering Liverpool’s Premier League clash with West Ham United. As I’ve mentioned before, several of my regular peers in the press box are aware of my Southend elegancies and have actually provided something of a support group in recent times as the Blues mentally tortured me while the club hurtled at break-neck speed, seemingly towards oblivion.

As we prepared for the task at hand, eyes and ears remained trained to updates from the Technique Stadium. There was genuine excitement from those around me when Southend twice hauled themselves off the canvas to earn a share of the spoils. People are noticing. They can see something is stirring. It’s now up to the football club to enhance it, continue gaining the trust of the town and provide them with a football club they can genuinely be proud of.

I think it’s fair to say, we are still a little short of that 80/81 team, or for that matter, those promoted under Dave Webb, Steve Tilson and to a lesser extent, Phil Brown. Nevertheless, for heart, enthusiasm and the sheer volume of improvement, I think you’d be hard pushed to top this lot.

The fans have bought into it. There is a connection that hasn’t been evident for some time. It’s reassuring to know that the group remain grounded too: “We’ve had small targets we try to hit and little objectives,” Kevin Maher explained in his pre-match press conference ahead of tonight’s game.

“We don’t look too far ahead.

“We put everything into the next game and see where that takes us.

“If you get too far ahead of yourself you can come unstuck quite quickly, we’re staying positive and want to attack the next game.”

Incredibly, this column has become a hive of positivity of late. However, you can’t please all of the people all of the time. While the vast majority of Blues supporters are delighted to see the teams’ fortunes change for the better, I was still able to come across one, who’d posted to social media his frustration that Southend were now three without a win and could forget the play-offs!

No, really! I laughed too! Sure, some people need a little more convincing. But come on? That 4-0 Roots Hall annihilation Chesterfield handed us was only five months ago. As a fan and a football writer, I’ll criticise if I believe it to be warranted, but this was ridiculous!

Anyway, what chance of Southend extending their recent sequence against a Grimsby Town side relegated alongside us at the end of the last campaign?

The Mariners also left it late on Saturday. Emmanuel Dieseruvwe scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to earn Paul Hurst’s men a single-goal success over Woking at Blundell Park. This was their third victory on the bounce in the league, leaving them six unbeaten as well as a point and a place outside the play-off places.

They represent another stiff challenge, similar to that provided by Solihull Moors and Chesterfield. The aim for Southend is ultimately to prove further that we are now able to compete with these sides that are viewed as play-off candidates.

Again, the Southend football fraternity will be looking forward to the match. No doubt keen to see if Maher’s team can make it lucky thirteen without defeat… or four without a win, dependant on what side of the bed you got out!

Jeevesie’s prediction: Southend United 1-1 Grimsby Town

Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]