Opposing views: Southend Utd

Opposing views: Southend Utd

Southend fans would love to sign Anthony Grant and just want some clarity on their new stadium…

Best player last season?

Promotion would have been a distant dream if it wasn’t for his superb run of clean sheets at home and match-winning saves…

SHRIMPERGARRY – Probably our young goalkeeper, Daniel Bentley, who broke a club record for the most consecutive home clean sheets. He’ll turn 22 in July this year but he plays like a much more experienced ‘keeper. His gamesmanship antics in the penalty shoot-out during the play-off final at Wembley showed him to have self-confidence beyond his years. Whether he’ll go on to play for England, as Phil Brown predicted, remains to be seen but he certainly has a bright future in the game.

MANOR15 – Dan Bentley, our young goalkeeper who is destined for the top. If we didn’t get promoted he’d have been off and deservedly so, promotion would have been a distant dream if it wasn’t for his superb run of clean sheets at home and match-winning saves. Young Jack Payne could be one to keep an eye out for over the next couple of seasons.

AGENT LOMAS – Daniel Bentley. A highly rated ‘keeper who we’ve done well to keep hold of. He won the Fans’ Player of the Season and Player’s Player of the Season, if I remember correctly. He broke the club record of the longest amount of time without conceding a goal at Roots Hall. We went eleven games without conceding a goal at home. For the record, we only conceded nine goals at home (league games only) during the whole season.

Highlight(s) of last season on the pitch?

SHRIMPERGARRY – Er, that’s easy – a Play-Off Final win at Wembley!

MANOR15 – Joe Pigott equalising with about 20 seconds left of injury time of extra time in the Play-Off Final. It was the highlight of my time supporting Southend, let alone the season!

AGENT LOMAS – There’s quite a few! Doing the double over Portsmouth for the second season in a row, the 3-2 win at Oxford, coming from behind to win with ten men, our 10 match unbeaten run from 19th December – 10th February, winning all our games in April, which put us in contention for automatic promotion on the final day and of course, winning the Play-Off Final at Wembley!

Worst moment(s) of the season on the pitch?

We took a couple of thousand away fans up there to enjoy the promotion celebrations… and promptly lost 3-1! It’s a long way home…

SHRIMPERGARRY – The last game of the season at Morecambe, a win guaranteed us promotion and we took a couple of thousand away fans up there to enjoy the promotion celebrations… and promptly lost 3-1! It’s a long way home.

MANOR15 – Morecambe. We’ve never beaten them in the league and one of our longest journeys. We needed a win to get promoted. Lost 3-1. Enough said.

AGENT LOMAS – The 4-1 defeat to Wycombe was a disappointment. We took the lead in the second minute, Jack Payne scored, then it all went downhill from there really. We conceded four and had Jerome Binnom-Williams sent off. Also, having our unbeaten run ended by Accrington.

Sum up the season in a sentence or two?

SHRIMPERGARRY – It probably matched my expectations, I thought with our squad we should be challenging for promotion and we were there or thereabouts all season.

MANOR15 – Fighting for promotion and the play-offs was pretty much what was expected, and similar to the season before, but with the lottery of the play-offs I felt we did well to get promoted, particularly given how Wycombe played all season.

AGENT LOMAS – Typical Southend! One of the better seasons in recent years to be honest, not just because we won at Wembley but also because of the general team performances week in, week out.

Your view on off-field affairs this season?

We’re still waiting for further news on the long-promised new stadium, whether I’ll see it in my lifetime remains to be seen…

SHRIMPERGARRY – We’re still waiting for further news on the long-promised new stadium, whether I’ll see it in my lifetime remains to be seen. Most fans are pretty sceptical about it by now – the saga has been dragging on for years. Most bizarre thing of the year was the purchase of the London Soccerdome (former David Beckham academy), which is now in bits on our training ground.

MANOR15 – Bizarrely things haven’t been too bad this season, progress on our new stadium is non-existent as ever, but we’ve paid a few for a player for the first time in a number of years and bought the London Soccerdome to help the growth of the youth side of the club.

AGENT LOMAS – Can’t think of much that has happened really, apart from once again being promised that work would begin on the new stadium and the site for the place (the stadium) remains untouched. Along with the way Barry Corr left the club. No-one saw it coming, he wasn’t at our victory parade after the Play-Off Final, but instead we heard he was in Cambridge on that very day for talks with them (Cambridge).

What are your expectations for next season?

SHRIMPERGARRY – Ideally I’d love to see us in the play-offs, realistically I think mid-table.

MANOR15 – Ideally I’d say top half, realistically bottom half but close to mid-table, it all depends on if we can get a goalscorer in, we’re hard to beat but need some goals to get wins.

AGENT LOMAS – Ideally, I’d take a top ten finish, although to be completely honest, I’m not expecting us to be challenging for promotion this season, as nice as it would be! Realistically, I think we’ll finish mid-table, anything more than that is a bonus in my eyes!

Where do the club need to strengthen on the pitch?

Now we’ve lost Barry Corr to Cambridge, we need strikers desperately…

SHRIMPERGARRY – We need to sign some strikers as with the loanees returning, Barnard being released and Corr signing for Cambridge we only have a relatively untried teenager as an out and out striker at the moment.

MANOR15 – Undoubtedly up front, we’ve only got one recognised striker and he is a youngster with only a short loan spell in the Conference for experience. I’d expect at least three strikers to come in before we kick off, and some League One experience would help.

AGENT LOMAS – Up front. Now we’ve lost Barry Corr to Cambridge, we need strikers desperately. The loss of Joe Pigott (returning to Charlton after being on loan for the second half of last season) is also a big blow to the side. As of today, we only have one striker, Jason Williams, who has only made four first team appearances since coming up from the youth team in 2014. Phil Brown has held talks with former Leyton Orient striker David Mooney, who I feel would be an excellent addition to the side. We just need strikers!

If you could take one Port Vale player for next season who would it be?

Anthony Grant would have been welcomed back as well, though we don’t really need to strengthen in central midfield. Grant is a Good player at this level…

SHRIMPERGARRY – If you hadn’t already let him go to Bury, then Tom Pope would have been a handy acquisition for us, but in his absence we’ll take any other striker likely to score double figures next season! 😉

MANOR15 – Ben Williamson, purely because we need a striker who can score goals! Tom Pope would have been a great signing for us. Anthony Grant would have been welcomed back as well, though we don’t really need to strengthen in central midfield. Grant is a Good player at this level, frustrating but at times funny how successful he is at diving to win free-kicks in your own half. Defensive minded and good positioning.

AGENT LOMAS – Of course, everyone would have said Tom Pope had he not left for Bury. Personally, I know you’ve only just signed him but I’d happily take Anthony Grant. He’s a decent midfielder and he’s also a former Blues player and was a fans’ favourite during his time with us.

What do the club need to do off-field to improve?

SHRIMPERGARRY – Start building the new stadium

MANOR15 – Some clarity over the new stadium, if it’s going to happen and when.

AGENT LOMAS – Some positive news on the new stadium would be welcomed by many, as we, the fans. have been told before that the club have been given permission to begin construction, yet nothing has happened.

 

If you were granted one wish for next season, what would it be?

Realistically, consolidation is the aim and mid-table would be a good season for us…

SHRIMPERGARRY – Promotion

MANOR15 – Realistically, consolidation is the aim and mid-table would be a good season for us.

AGENT LOMAS – To do the double over Colchester. After not playing them for five years, that would be nice!