Southend United Football Club
is an English football
team based at Roots Hall Stadium in Prittlewell, in the Borough of Southend-on-Sea
, and play in the Football League One
The Club has had three stadiums, The Kursaal, The Greyhound Park and their current stadium Roots Hall.
The Club has been approved a new stadium located at Fossets Farm.
The club was formed in 1906 in the local pub "Blue Boar" and played in the Southern League
until 1920 when they co-founded the Football League's new Third Division
; they finished 17th in their first ever season. In 1921 the Third Division
was regionalised with Southend United joining the southern section and here they remained until league re-structure in 1958. They came close to promotion twice when they finished 3rd in 1932 and 1950, their highest league positions until 1991.
First promotions and relegation
In 1958 Southend joined the new national Third Division
where they remained until 1966 when they suffered their first ever relegation, dropping into the Fourth Division
. Fans had to wait until 1972 to witness the club's first ever promotion as they finished runners-up behind Grimsby Town
. In 1976 they suffered relegation again before grabbing another runners-up spot behind Watford
in 1978. Another relegation in 1980 was immediately followed by one of the most successful seasons in the club's history as they won the Fourth Division Championship in 1981, breaking a series of club records in the process.
But the prospect of a "golden era" for Southend United had to be put on hold for a while after the club sold many of its talented players and the club dropped back into the basement division in 1984 to embark on a fight for survival both on and off the pitch. One of the club's darkest hours saw a season average attendance of barely above 2,000 watch the Shrimpers narrowly avoid the lottery of re-election to the Football League.
Back to back promotion winners
Promotion in 1987 started a period in which Southend United finally fulfilled its potential. Relegation in 1989 was a mere blip because two successive promotions in 1990 and 1991 saw the Shrimpers become "full members" of the Football League for the first time in their history and in 1992 the club finished 12th in the old Second Division
, their highest ever position in the Football League to date. On New Year's Day 1992 they briefly topped the Second Division but their dismal late season form put paid to any hopes of a unique third successive promotion that would have given them a place as a Premier League
founder member. Manager David Webb
then stepped down and was replaced by Colin Murphy
Back to back relegations and rising debts
Over the next three seasons, Southend were managed by Colin Murphy
, Barry Fry
and then Peter Taylor
. In 1995, former Liverpool
player Ronnie Whelan
was appointed player-manager, and Southend finished 14th in Division One
in his first season at the helm, only to suffer relegation a year later.
Whelan was quickly sacked and replaced by Alvin Martin, who was unable to prevent a second successive relegation that pushed Southend into Division Three. Martin left in April 1999, with Southend fifth from bottom in the league. Around this time the club was under threat of bankruptcy and the board decided to sell Roots Hall in preparation for a proposed relocation in 2003. Almost a decade later, relocation has yet to take place, and Southend are still playing at Roots Hall.
Southend's fortunes didn't change until former player Steve Tilson was given the manager's job in late 2003 with Paul Brush as his assistant.
The Steve Tilson revolution
The duo turned things around dramatically and Southend reached their first ever national cup final in 2004 when they met Blackpool
in the final of the LDV Vans Trophy
at the Millennium Stadium
. Over 20,000 Southend fans travelled from all over the world to be part of history, but the team couldn't quite rise to the occasion and Blackpool won 2-0.
In 2004 Tilson and Brush were installed as a permanent management / coaching duo and responded by guiding Southend to promotion via the play-offs in 2005 whilst also making a second successive appearance in the LDV Vans Trophy final. Once again the trophy eluded the Shrimpers as they lost 2-0 to Wrexham, but the third appearance at the Millennium Stadium in the League Two play-off final against Lincoln City brought success as Freddy Eastwood and Duncan Jupp scored the goals that gave the club their first ever taste of promotion via the play-off system and their first major piece of silverware since 1981.
On 29 April 2006 the Shrimpers were promoted to the Football League Championship, the second highest tier of English football, after a tense 2-2 draw with Swansea City at the Welsh club's new Liberty Stadium. Southend were crowned League One champions on 6 May 2006, the final day of the season, after beating Bristol City 1-0 at Roots Hall in front of almost 11,400 fans. The 87th minute winner came from Wayne Gray, who had come on as a substitute for Shaun Goater, who was playing his last professional game. Fans from his former club Manchester City had made a special trip to the game to give their hero a special send-off at the end of a long and distinguished career. For Southend United the championship title, the club's first in 25 years, was just one stop of an amazing three year journey from the depths at the bottom of the Football League to just one level below the Premiership, a journey that has not only seen two successive promotions but also two national final appearances in Cardiff. On 6 May 2006 manager Steve Tilson was named as the League Manager Association's Manager-of-the-Season for League One.
The club has a local rivalry with fellow Essex side Colchester United. The two clubs were promoted from League One at the end of the 2005/06 season after a long battle for top spot was eventually won by the Shrimpers. The rivalry extends back many years. At the end of the 1989/90 season Southend's promotion from the Fourth Division coincided with Colchester's fall from the Football League and the clubs had to wait almost 15 years before meeting once again in competition when they met in the Southern Final of the LDV Vans Trophy; the Shrimpers triumphed 4-3 on aggregate to secure their first ever appearance in a national cup final. The two clubs met again in the same competition the following season, with Southend emerging as the victors once more after a penalty shootout.
One of the Shrimpers' most memorable victories was in the fourth round of the League Cup against trophy holders Manchester United on 7 November 2006. United fielded a side with 10 internationals including Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. Southend won the game 1-0 thanks to a 30 yard free kick from Freddy Eastwood. Southend goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan was voted man of the match after a treble of world class saves from Manchester United's Portuguese winger Ronaldo. With this meeting being the only ever between the two sides, it left Southend as the only team in English football to have a positive record against the Red Devils.
Southend drew another Premiership team in the next round, Tottenham Hotspur. The Championship side forced Tottenham to extra-time, only to be undone 5 minutes from time by a Jermain Defoe goal, which replays later showed was offside.
Southend United started the 2006-07 season reasonably well, beating Stoke City 1-0 on the opening day. Just a few games later Southend beat Sunderland AFC 3-1 at Roots Hall Stadium. After that, Southend did not win a league game for 18 games until the 9 December 2006 when they beat Southampton 2-1. The Blues then followed this with a convincing 3-1 win over promotion-chasers West Bromwich Albion, on New Year's Day 2007, and an away victory over Cardiff City that took them to five games undefeated. A 3-1 victory away to Birmingham City on 31 January 2007 saw the Shrimpers lift themselves from the bottom of the Championship, moving above Leeds United on goal difference. On 9 February 2007 the Shrimpers defeated QPR by a scoreline of 5-0. It was to be a nightmare return for Southend's former goalkeeper Simon Royce, conceding in only the 9th minute when his attempted clearance rebounded off of the onrushing Lee Bradbury and into the net.
Regrettably, the form did not last and after a humiliating home defeat to Colchester and many others, the Shrimpers were relegated to League One. Freddy Eastwood and Jamal Campbell-Ryce were both sold – to Wolves and Barnsley respectively. Despite this, Southend were able to finish sixth in League One at the end of 2007-08 thus qualifying for a play-off place against Doncaster Rovers. Southend drew the home leg 0-0, but lost the second leg 5-1.
Southend United currently play in the 12,392 all-seater Roots Hall
stadium, which has been their home since 1955. The future of this location has been in doubt since it was sold to property developers in 1998. Planning permission is currently being sought for a new 22,000 seater stadium to be located on the team's training ground at Fossets Farm
On 24 January 2007, Southend Borough Council unanimously agreed to give planning permission for the new stadium at the proposed Fossetts Farm site with Rochford District Council following suit 24 hours later. The application was subsequently submitted to Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for government approval. However, the application was unexpectedly "called in" at the beginning of April 2007, a move which at best delays the development by some considerable time and at worst might jeopardise the whole project entirely. The inquiry began in September 2007. In October 2007 a "final" inquiry began where chairman Ron Martin called for supporters to show in numbers at Southends local governing headquarters. As of last time hundreds flocked to the streets and a decision will be made early next year.
On March 6 2008, after years of frustration for the Southend faithful, Fossets Farm was given the green light by the Government. The club hope to move in at the start of the 2010/11 season.
- Coca-Cola League One Champions: 2005–2006
- Coca-Cola League Two Play-off Winners: 2004–2005
- Third Division Runners-up: 1989–1990
- Fourth Division Champions: 1980–1981
- Fourth Division Runners-up: 1971–1972, 1977–1978
- LDV Vans Trophy Runners-up: 2003–2004, 2004–2005
- Southern League Second Division Winners: 1906–1907, 1907–1908
- Southern League Second Division Runners-up: 1912–1913
- Essex Professional Cup Winners: 1950, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1962, 1965, 1967, 1972, 1973.
- Essex Senior Cup Winners: 1983, 1991, 1997, 2008
- Essex Thameside Trophy Winners: 1990
- Biggest Victory: 10-1 v Golders Green, FA Cup, 1934/35; 10-1 v Brentwood, FA Cup, 1968/69; 10-1 v Aldershot, Leyland Daf Cup, 1990/91
- Heaviest Defeat: 1-9 v Brighton & Hove Albion, 1965/66
- Highest Attendance (All Comps): 31,033 v Liverpool, FA Cup, 10 January 1979
- Highest Attendance (League): 21,020 v Leyton Orient, Division Three (South), 9 September 1955
- Lowest Attendance (All Comps): 945 v Cambridge United, Associate Members Cup, 16 December 1986
- Highest Average Attendance: 12,089 1949/50 Division Three (South) - Southend Stadium.
- Lowest Average Attendance: 2,103 1984/85 Division Four - Roots Hall.
- Most Appearances (All Comps): Alan Moody (506 - 1972-1984)
- Most Appearances (League): Sandy Anderson (452 - 1950-1962)
- Most Appearances (FA Cup): Alan Moody (32 - 1972-1984)
- Most Appearances (League Cup): David Martin (25 - 1986-1993)
- Most Appearances (Other Cup): Kevin Maher (25+1 - 1998 to 2008)
- Most Goals (All Comps): Roy Hollis (135 - 1954-1960)
- Most Goals (League): Roy Hollis (120 - 1954-1960)
- Most Goals (FA Cup): Roy Hollis (15 - 1954-1960) and Billy Best (15 - 1968-1973)
- Most Goals (League Cup): Sammy McMillan (5 - 1967-69) and David Martin (15 - 1986-1993)
- Most Goals (Other Cup): Brett Angell (10 - 1990-1994)
- As of 29 September 2008.
Out on loan
- 2008- Paul Furlong - Former Chelsea, QPR and Watford striker, signed on a free transfer from Luton Town
- 2006 Michael Ricketts - England capped striker who was sacked by the club after only 2 substitute appearances, allegedly for being overweight.
- 2005-2006 Shaun Goater - Experienced Bermudian striker who ended his career with Southend in their successful League One promotion campaign.
- 2004-2007 Freddy Eastwood - A striker of Romani background who scored a hat-trick on his debut against Swansea City. He was signed from Grays Athletic and went on to score a famous free kick against Manchester United in the League Cup. Eastwood played a major part in Southend's consecutive promotions.
- 2003-2005 Michael Kightly - Former Tottenham trainee who only made 13 appearances over 3 seasons and was released. Signed by Grays Athletic; labelled the "Ryan Giggs" of non-league football by Sir Alex Ferguson and was signed up by Wolves.
- 1997-98 Neville Southall - Veteran goalkeeper who was loaned to Southend from his long-time employers Everton.
- 1996-1998 Jeroen Boere - Another ex West Ham United player he was Dutch and played as a striker, died in his Spanish home on August 16, 2007 at the age of 39.
- 1995 Lee Chapman - Experienced striker who was loaned to the club from Ipswich Town and played just one game.
- 1995-97 Mike Marsh - Former Liverpool midfielder who had two seasons at Southend before retiring through injury.
- 1994-97 Ronnie Whelan - Experienced former Liverpool and Éire defender who had three seasons at Southend and for the latter two of those seasons was player-manager.
- 1992-93 Stan Collymore - One of the most controversial strikers in English football, Collymore established himself as a regular goalscorer before being sold to Nottingham Forest, and later represented England.
- 1990-96 Chris Powell - Talented defender signed from Crystal Palace who later had three spells at Charlton Athletic, as well as playing for England and serving as PFA chairman since 2005.
- 1989-1993 and 2004-2007 Spencer Prior - Tall centre back who won 4 promotions whilst with the Shrimpers. He went on to sign for Norwich, Leicester City, Man City and Cardiff before re-joining Southend in 2004.
- 1988-90 Justin Edinburgh - Young full-back who was sold to Tottenham in 1990 and collected an 1991 FA Cup Final winner's medal the following year.
- 1985-86 Frank Lampard Sr - Veteran full-back who had success earlier in his career with West Ham.
- 1984-1985 and 1985-1990 Roy McDonough - Controversial striker who held the English record for the highest number of red cards in a career
- 1979-83 Garry Nelson - Much travelled striker who later wrote the successful book "Left Foot in the Grave".
- 1971-73 Peter Taylor - Had a short, uneventful spell as player before joining Crystal Palace and England, later Shrimpers, England Under-21's and England senior team manager.
- 1965-67 Eddie Firmani - first player to score 100 goals in England and Italy.
- 1906-08 Harold Halse - Scored 91 goals for Southend before moving to Manchester United, playing in three FA Cup Finals and turning out for England.
- 1997-99 Alvin Martin: West Ham United & England - Sacked after two disastrous seasons which saw Southend fall into the bottom half of Division Three
- 1995-97 Ronnie Whelan: Liverpool and Éire : also former player - Sacked after the first of Southend's two successive relegations in the late 1990s
- 1993-95 Peter Taylor: Tottenham Hotspur & England: also former player - Sacked after failing to get Southend anywhere near the top of Division One
- 1986-87 1988-92 2000-01 2003 David Webb: Chelsea - Had four spells as manager, winning two successive promotions in his second spell
- 1984-86 Bobby Moore: West Ham United & England: captain of England 1966 World Cup Winners - Failed to make his mark in management
- 1970-76 Arthur Rowley : holds the record for the most career goals in the Football League (434 from 619 games) - Had six years as manager during the 1970s
- 1934-40 David Jack: Former Arsenal player: first player in the world to be worth over £10,000 - Failed to grab many headlines as a manager
Southend have a rivalry with another Essex side, Colchester United. The overall competitive head to head record for the rivalry stands at 28 wins to Southend, 23 wins for Colchester with 16 draws . . Southend also hold by far the superior collection of honours (Colchester possessing none above non-league level) and have so far spent 7 seasons playing in the second tier of English football, whereas Colchester only completed their first in May 2007.
Southend are also rivals with Leyton Orient.
The closest geographical club to Southend is actually Gillingham, across the Thames in Kent, but they are not considered rivals despite sharing divisions several times.
Additionally, due to his action of jumping ship to join Birmingham City in 1993 (and taking most of the coaching staff and some of the club's more talented players), a fair majority of Southend United fans have hated any club managed by former manager Barry Fry. At the time of the defection the Shrimpers were in the unlikely position of a play-off spot for promotion to the Premier League. Some see Fry's departure as the start of a demise of the football club that resulted in two successive relegations and a close call with relegation from the Football League itself.
Southend United's main press coverage is from The Echo
, a local newspaper serving Essex
. The current Southend United reporter is Chris Phillips.