Here are the views of four Southend fans who think their side still needs to make additions if it is to challenge this season…
Thanks to REP for posing the questions…
About the fans…
Shrimpboy My first match was in 1997 but I started going regularly with my brother in the 2000/2001 season. Having grown up in Essex I now live in Cheshire now so this is a local one for me.
OldBlueLady I’ve been supporting the club for almost 45 years since my dad first brought me along and I’ve sat or stood in every stand at some point. I’m currently helping to run the club’s Junior Blues on behalf of the Supporters’ Trust – The Shrimpers Trust – of which I’m a board member.
Napster I’ve been supporting them since 1983. I used to be on the Trust committee, now I’m an Exile in Kent.
Floval Flyer I’ve supported SUFC since 1978. I mostly attend home matches, but also the odd away game.
About the opposition…
How do you expect your team to do this season?
We could be on for a slow start as we’re still missing some key positions – including centre backs…
Shrimpboy Our form at the end of last season was dire (we lost seven of our last ten matches) and we lost our two best players over the summer. Some of our summer signings have given me a bit more hope but I think we’ll be at the lower end of the table. If I had to make a prediction I’d say somewhere around the 17th/18th mark.
OldBlueLady I’m always optimistic and I think we’ll finish up just in or out of the play-offs. We could be on for a slow start as we’re still missing some key positions – including centre backs.
Napster I think we’ll finish just outside the play-offs – a slow start, a good middle followed by an agonising end.
Floval Flyer Despite our poor result on Saturday I expect a top ten finish.
What are your thoughts on the manager and his signings?
He’s not too popular at the moment as he keeps touting himself for other jobs in the media…
Shrimpboy The club’s in a better state than when he took over but he’s not too popular at the moment as he keeps touting himself for other jobs in the media. We’re not a club that sacks the manager every year but if our poor form from last season carries over I think the fans will get on his back quickly and I would put money on him not being our manager come the end of the season. He’s made some good signings – Simon Cox was a bit of a coup and we are in talks to sign Jay Simpson from Orient which would be a great signing (he may well have signed by Saturday). If we can get a big strong centre-back in I’ll be pretty happy with our transfer business. In terms of danger men, our left winger Stephen McLaughlin had a good pre-season and scored on the opening day.
OldBlueLady I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea and he sometimes makes some odd decisions/substitutions, but I quite like him. He’s definitely charismatic and he keeps our club in the media eye as a result of his media work, particularly on Sky. We’ve made some good signings, particularly Simon Cox while Nile Ranger could be a very interesting one if things work out. I don’t think Ranger is fit enough to feature yet. Stephen McLaughlin is probably our biggest threat at this moment in time.
Napster I think he’s OK – I’d be very impressed if we can harness the obvious talents of Ranger, and Demetriou looks a class act. Watch out for McLaughlin if he’s on form, his crosses are pinpoint.
Floval Flyer Phil Brown is a bit of a character and I expect a few ups and downs again this season. The signings we have made have been pleasing, especially Cox, and Ranger if he can behave himself. We really need another three players in including centre-back and central midfield if we’re going to push for the play-offs.
Your thoughts on the board?
Our chairman has been pursuing the dream of a new ground for what seems an eternity…
Shrimpboy After having had a lot of financial problems around the time we got relegated to League Two in 2010, things appear to have stabilised in recent years – we have fewer winding-up orders from HMRC anyway! We’ll be getting a decent amount of money from Bentley and Payne who left in the summer and our academy is producing some good young players. Still no sign of this new stadium though…
OldBlueLady Our chairman has been pursuing the dream of a new ground for what seems an eternity. As with the manager, there are plenty that have little time for the chairman, however, you have to ask, who else would we be an attractive investment to? We have an excellent Academy which I know our chairman supports 100% and you have to give him some credit for that.
Napster We’ve had worse directors – but we’re beset by irregular cashflow, debts, and an owner who is putting all his eggs in the stadium redevelopment basket.
Floval Flyer The stadium saga has been rolling on for decades, there is possibly light at the end of the tunnel, but who really knows? The chairman is a bit of a maverick and likes to wind up the taxman so nothing surprises me nowadays.
A score prediction and predicted away following?
Shrimpboy Our defence is a bit shaky at the moment so I certainly think there’ll be goals. I’m going to be optimistic and say 2-1 to us – with Jay Simpson possibly getting a debut goal. Our away support is pretty good and with it being the first away game of the season, I’d expect a following of 5-600.
OldBlueLady I think this will be a 1-1 draw. You still have Anthony Grant on your books, if he plays, he’ll get a great reception from our supporters and I wouldn’t put it past him to score! I think Cox will score for us. We’ll have a pretty decent away following with it being the first away match of the season, I’d reckon around 700 or so.
Napster 1-1 with 600 Shrimpers attending.
Floval Flyer 2-1 (to Southend of course!). We should get around 350 up there.
About the Vale…
Where do you think Vale will finish?
Shrimpboy You’ve got a foreign manager and a lot of foreign players with no experience of English football so I think you’ll be at the lower end of the table with us, but it’s hard to say at this stage. Typically foreign players struggle to get to grips with the lower leagues. You beat us easily at Vale Park last season but your team’s changed quite a lot since then. Keeping Anthony Grant will help – he’s a very popular former player of ours.
OldBlueLady Honestly? I have no idea. Mid-table probably, there are definitely worse teams in the league.
Napster About the same as us – close to the play-offs.
Floval Flyer Mid Table?
A guide for Vale fans…
Can you tell us something about your side we may not know?
Former striker Roy McDonough can not only down a pint whilst doing a handstand, but also holds the record for being sent off the most times in a career…
Shrimpboy We’re the only English club with a 100% record against Manchester United. The highest ever attendance at Roots Hall is 31,000 for an FA Cup tie against Liverpool in 1979 – God knows how they fitted that many people in!
OldBlueLady Our two mascots, Sammy Shrimp and Elvis J Eel take an awful lot of stick but they’re an important part of our team. Sammy memorably took out the Colchester mascot in a mascot race one time so for that he’ll always be a legend with the fans! We also hosted the farewell party of retiring legend Shaun Goater, which coincided with us winning the League One title, lots of Manchester City fans joined in our beach party celebrations.
Napster We once had the largest supporters club in the country. Former striker Roy McDonough can not only down a pint whilst doing a handstand, but also holds the record for being sent off the most times in a career! The US band Odyssey were big Southend fans, and even wrote a song about the ground, “Going Back to my Roots” [not entirely sure about the validity of some of those answers – OVF editor]
Floval Flyer Apparently Justin Beiber is a Southend fan, you can Google that one. Another famous fan, who used to be seen at Roots Hall regularly is Alison Moyet. Oh, and Mo Farah’s cousin plays for our Youth Team.
Can you recommend any forums, fanzines or blogs?
Shrimperzone is where is all happens…
Shrimpboy ShrimperZone is the one.
OldBlueLady ShrimperZone is the only forum of note, you can view as a guest but need to join to comment. We generally welcome opposing team supporters as long as they’re reasonable. Our fanzine is “All at Sea”, I know they were trying to get an online version going but not sure if they’ve done so yet, there are a few past copies on t’internet.
Napster Shrimperzone and we’ve got a great Twitter following.
Floval Flyer Shrimperzone is where is all happens, you can find a wide opinion on any subject.