Southend fans are pleased with their manager, are still waiting for new stadium news and have a lot of respect for former player Anthony Grant.
In our opposing views feature, REP chats to fans of Port Vale’s next opponents.
About the fans…
MANOR15 – A fan for 15 years and season ticket holder for ten, temporarily exiled due to university.
OLDBLUELADY – I’m a third generation Blues fan, my grandad having been part of the group that helped build Roots Hall back in the 50s. I’ve been coming along since the early 70s.
SHRIMPERGARRY – A 47 years old Blues fan, season ticket holder and shareholder.
AGENTLOMAS – I have been a fan for 17 years and attended my first game when I was three.
How do you expect your team to do this season?
Phil Brown has made us very hard to beat so I wouldn’t expect too much of a relegation fight….
MANOR15 – More or less as we have so far. Struggling at times against the better sides, but picking up points against those around and below us and a season of mid-table mediocrity. Injuries to strikers could cause us problems as we don’t have much depth there, but Phil Brown has made us very hard to beat so I wouldn’t expect too much of a relegation fight.
OLDBLUELADY – As one of the pre-season favourites for relegation (amongst forecasters) I will be more than happy with an upper mid-table finish this season, anything above and I will be ecstatic!
SHRIMPERGARRY – I think we’ll struggle against sides with big budgets but the season has shown so far we should be able to hold our own in this division. I’ll say twelfth.
AGENTLOMAS – I expect us to find our feet quickly. We won three in a row (beating Millwall away, Scunthorpe at home and Crewe away) prior to our defeat away at Burton on the third. Based on that, if we can keep it up, we’ll easily finish mid-table. Anything more than that is a bonus.
Who should we watch out for?
Dan Bentley is tipped for higher things by people that know…
MANOR15 – If fit, Noel Hunt has the intelligence to really cause problems and it’s clear that he’s played at a much higher level.
OLDBLUELADY – Ben Coker, our left back. Also Noel Hunt, if he’s fit, still shows an amazingly good footballing brain, he just needs to get a few others on the same wavelength!
SHRIMPERGARRY – Noel Hunt is a class act, but due to injuries seems to only play one game in three! Dan Bentley is tipped for higher things by people that know.
AGENTLOMAS – This one’s easy, Ben Coker and David Worrall. Coker is our left-back and works wonders with Worrall, who tends to switch wings. Ben is an attacking left back and Worrall is dangerous on both sides of midfield. Both are great free-kick takers too.
What are your thoughts on your manager?
Brown is a decent manager and like any manager, wants to get the best out of each of his players. He’s made some really good signings…
MANOR15 – Pretty good, last season’s promotion was needed and he’s carried on with the same tactics of being hard to beat and usually grabbing a goal and protecting a lead. It’s working so fair play to him.
OLDBLUELADY – Phil Brown is a bit marmite, you either love him or loathe him. I’ve had a bit of an opportunity to meet him in the course of Junior Blues events and he’s always been great to work with, very proactive with the youngsters.
SHRIMPERGARRY – Phil Brown sets his teams up to not concede so we don’t often see many goals, however he’s an astute man who seems well respected in the game by those who know (although often not by opposition fans).
AGENTLOMAS – Brown is a decent manager and like any manager, wants to get the best out of each of his players. He’s made some really good signings, especially the experienced striker, Noel Hunt.
What are your thoughts on your board?
MANOR15 – This would be easier to answer if we had a clue what was going on, we were due to move into our new ground in 2011 and a spade is yet to go into the ground, with plans changing every five minutes. That said, Ron Martin has put the money in for a few signings and training ground improvements since Brown has come in.
OLDBLUELADY – Off field I believe we have one of the best Youth Academies around in the lower leagues. We also have an excellent Community and Educational department. The board, well, our Chairman is despised by many supporters and our attempts to build a new stadium have been going on for decades so it’s not really any big surprise! I do believe it will happen though and in the not too distant future.
SHRIMPERGARRY – Oh dear, where do I start? A new ground has been on the drawing board for decades now, there is a pattern that sees exciting new plans announced then silence for nine months then a change of plan. We seem to be able to invest in the squad and facilities one month and then being taken to court by HMRC or another creditor the next. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes!
AGENTLOMAS – The board as a whole aren’t bad but when it comes to Ron Martin, our chairman, the first thing people will mention (and I don’t blame them) is our potential new stadium. He’s promised us for ages that building will start but it never has.
Which one Vale player would you take?
Anthony Grant was a very popular player at Southend as he stuck by us when many others walked away…
MANOR15 – I know a few would love Anthony Grant back as pretty much the only player who didn’t deserve us after relegation in 2010, but a striker with Tom Pope’s record certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
OLDBLUELADY – I think you have a great player in your Watford loanee Uche Ikpeazu!
SHRIMPERGARRY – Anthony Grant was a very popular player at Southend as he stuck by us when many others walked away, so I’d have him back.
AGENTLOMAS – Anthony Grant. No doubt. An excellent team player and in my opinion, one of Port Vale’s best players. I would welcome him back to Roots Hall with open arms.
How do you expect Vale to do this season?
MANOR15 – Mid-table, maybe pushing for top-half if you hit form or other sides drop off. Seems you’re making slow and steady progress, the opposite of what we usually do!
OLDBLUELADY – Similar to us I think, bubbling around mid-table.
SHRIMPERGARRY – Probably a bit similar to us. mid-table
AGENTLOMAS – Like us, I think Port Vale will comfortably finish mid-table, although could be one of the sides to make a late push for the play-offs, having seen your run-in.
A score prediction?
MANOR15 – We’re unpredictable at home so hard to say, I’ll go for 1-0 to SUFC with a goal from David Mooney.
OLDBLUELADY – Our home support is not the most patient and they get on the players’ backs. If we start well, then things will go OK but if we don’t the impatient ones will start making things difficult for the players and it could all end up going wrong. I am hopeful, so I will say 2-1 to us. I reckon Worrall and Mooney to score for us.
SHRIMPERGARRY – 2-1 Southend with goals from Mooney and Worrall for us and a rare Anthony Grant strike for you!
AGENTLOMAS – I think we’ll draw. 1-1, David Worrall scoring for us and Ikpeazu scoring for Vale.