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Life President
1st April 2005: Southend United 2 – 0 Bristol Rovers (League Two)
The second half of the decade began with our beloved Shrimpers surging up the league on the back of a series of virtuoso performances from new signing Freddy Eastwood. From the second week of January we went on a long unbeaten run which extended as far as this match on April Fools Day. Tilly had just been awarded the Manager of the Month award and as Roots Hall filled up for this Friday evening kick-off we all hoped and prayed that the curse would not strike. We needn’t have worried as a confident side scored two early goals through Mark Bentley and a Wayne Gray penalty which were enough to stretch the unbeaten run to a record-equalling 17 matches and take Southend to the top of a league table for the first time since that 4-0 win over Newcastle well over a decade earlier.

10th April 2005: Southend United 0 – 2 (aet) Wrexham (LDV Vans Trophy Final)
The unbeaten run had to end somewhere and sadly for Southend that place would turn out to be Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium where for the second season running more than 16,000 Southend fans experienced LDV Final heart-break. Although the performance was much better than the previous year’s had been, Eastwood & co could find no way past Wrexham’s future England goalkeeper Ben Foster and extra time goals from Spanish goal machine Juan Ugarte and Darren Ferguson were enough to send the crisis-hit Welsh Club home with the trophy.

30th April 2005: Southend United 0 – 1 Yeovil Town (League Two)
The defeat to Wrexham had resulted in Southend’s league form stuttering at exactly the wrong time however at the end of the month we were still top of the division and went into this match knowing that a win over second place Yeovil would all but guarantee League One football for the Club. Yeovil knew that the same was true for them and in front of the largest crowd at Roots Hall since the ground became an all-seater stadium (achieved by using just a single row of seats in the North Stand as segregation) both sides appeared to be suffering from the nerves of the occasion until, with little over five minutes remaining, Phil Jevons scored to send the three points to the West Country.

7th May 2005: Grimsby Town 1 – 1 Southend United (League Two)
Going into the final match of the season we knew that a win over mid-table Grimsby would be enough to achieve promotion. A draw could have been enough if Swansea failed to win their match at Bury but when Swansea took the lead barely 30 seconds into that game no Southend fan was under any illusion – it was either a win or it was the Play-offs. When Grimsby took the lead twelve minutes after half time things didn’t look good but a Freddy Eastwood goal with 20 minutes to go took things right to the wire. However it was not to be and the draw here, coupled with the result at Bury where the referee had blown early following pitch invasions from the Swansea fans, meant that we were to drop out of the Promotion places and into the dreaded Play-offs,

28th May 2005: Lincoln City 0 – 2 (aet) Southend United (League Two Play-off Final)
Following a victory by the only goal over two legs against Northampton, we were faced with a third trip to the Millennium Stadium in 14 months. Just 7,000 fans decided to make the trip this time but those who did go saw Southend finally break their scoring drought in Cardiff. After a nervous 90 minutes in which Lincoln arguably shaded proceedings, an extra time corner from Nicky Nicolau fell to the feet of Freddy Eastwood who made no mistake from a yard out. Minutes later Eastwood beat two Lincoln defenders before squaring the ball to Duncan Jupp who slid the ball under the keeper from eight yards to score his first goal for nine years and spark joyous celebrations in the stand and from the player himself. After seven long, and often tedious, years in the basement division we’d been promoted!

19th October 2005: Southend United 1 – 0 Nottingham Forest (League One)
After an ominous-looking opening day defeat to Port Vale, Blues adjusted to life in League One confidently and an early-season run of form saw them well and truly at the right-end of the table. Victory in this match, live on Sky against former European Champions Forest, would result in a record-breaking eight straight league wins and would take us to the top of the division. Sure enough in the closing period of the game Freddy Eastwood climbed off of the bench and was on hand from close-range to fire home the winner.

29th October 2005: Bristol City 0 – 3 Southend United (League One)
Some had doubted whether Freddy Eastwood would be able to replicate the form that he’d shown in League Two however any doubts would have been dispelled at Ashton Gate where, on his 22nd Birthday, Eastwood scored a sensational hat-trick including a brilliant third from fully 30 yards which brought a generous round of applause from the home fans.

14th January 2006: Southend United 4 – 1 Brentford (League One)
Despite a slightly dodgy December (as per usual), Southend remained well and truly in the Promotion picture going into the new year and were playing with the confidence and swagger of a team who believed that they were the best at that level. This was never seen more clearly than at this game at Roots Hall where Brentford were blown away by one of the most complete performances I’ve ever witnessed from a Southend side. New signing Efe Sodje opened the scoring and was joined by Mark Gower, Adam Barrett and even Che Wilson (his first goal in League football) with just a spectacular strike from DJ Campbell for the visitors.

4th March 2006: Colchester United 0 – 3 Southend United (League One)
Having opened up a sizeable lead at the top of the table, Southend made the short trip to Layer Road knowing that the hosts themselves were looking at complete their own unlikely promotion campaign. A tight match was anticipated and such was the demand for tickets that when the away allocation was sold out within hours, arrangements were made to hire the big screen from Everton’s Goodison Park which was set up at Roots Hall. The match was a gloriously one-sider affair with Freddy Eastwood’s early goal being closely followed by one from captain Kevin Maher. When Che Wilson scored the third from a tight angle with barely a third of a game gone, Southend fans at both grounds were in a state of delirium.

1st April 2006: AFC Bournemouth 1 – 1 Southend United (League One)
Possibly a surprising choice but one picked for a single reason – James Hayter’s challenge on Efe Sodje resulted in the big Nigerian breaking his leg. Sodje was never the same again and, arguably, our defence has never recovered.

29th April 2006: Swansea City 2 – 2 Southend United (League One)
Blues travelled to Wales for the first time since the Play-off final hoping for a second successive promotion in the Principality. Brentford needed to better our result in order to take the promotion issue to the final weekend and it looked like that would indeed happen as twice Swansea took the lead through Rory Fallon, only for Southend to twice fight back thanks to two brilliant finishes from Eastwood. With Brentford leading at Griffin Park thanks to a late goal it looked like we’d be denied however in stoppage time Hartlepool centre-half Michael Nelson headed home to deny Brentford and to send 2,500 Southend fans into ecstasy 180 miles away.

6th May 2006: Southend United 1 – 0 Bristol City (League One)
Promotion had been assured but the title was still waiting to be won. However this match would arguably best be remembered as being the final to be played in the career of Shaun Goater, against one of his former clubs and watched by more than 100 fans of another of his former clubs, Manchester City. When The Goat was replaced with seven minutes to go the game stopped for a full two minutes as each player and the referee shook the hand of a true legend of English football who was awarded a standing ovation. The game had barely settled down again when the ball broke free for Wayne Gray to fire a low effort into the corner of the South Stand goal via a deflection to secure the title ahead of Colchester. In the words of Steve Tilson “There’s only one team in Essex”.

12th September 2006: Southend United 3 -3 Norwich City (Championship)
The Championship season started well, at least at home. One of the most dramatic matches of the early stages of the year saw Norwich make the short trip. Despite an early goal from Freddy Eastwood, Blues found themselves 3-1 down just after the break thanks to two goals from Rob Earnshaw and one from Dickson Etuhu. A superb Steve Hammell freekick brought Southend back into the game but it wasn’t until the very end of stoppage time when the ball broke free to Mark Gower in the six yard box and he fired home.

7th November 2006: Southend United 1 – 0 Manchester United (League Cup 4th Round)
Not much needs to be said here, surely? Alex Ferguson, on the 20th anniversary of taking charge at Old Trafford, brought a strong team at Roots Hall, with ten full internationals in the starting XI and more on the bench. When Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney were named in the team against a side which had rapidly dropped to the foot of the Championship many feared the worst, but that night a miracle happened thanks to Freddy Eastwood’s brilliant freekick winner, some stunning goalkeeping from Darryl Flahavan and vintage defending from Spencer Prior and Efe Sodje. Goliath had been beaten and Southend were front-page news all around the World.

9th December 2006: Southend United 2 – 1 Southampton (Championship)
Despite the distraction of the Carling Cup, a horrendous run in the league of 17 matches without a win looked likely to effectively relegate us before Christmas. The run was finally brought to an end thanks to goals from Freddy Eastwood and new signing Alan McCormack, despite a late consolation from Gregorz Rasiak. The relief on the faces of the players (and fans for that matter) was evident at the final whistle and finally we had something to build on.

20th December 2006: Tottenham Hotspur 1 – 0 Southend United (aet) (League Cup Quarter Final)
The first ever major cup quarter final in Southend United’s history was a tense, nervous affair played out in freezing conditions at White Hart Lane. Whilst I’ll always think that Darryl Flahavan’s performance against Man United wasn’t as good as it’s made out to be (c’mon all those shots were right at him!) in this match he performed sheer heroics to keep Spurs at bay. The match appeared to be heading for penalties when with six minutes of extra time remaining a rare Southend attack brook down and the knackered Kevin Maher could do nothing to close down Dimitar Berbatov as the Bulgarian raced down our left before crossing for Jermain Defoe to tap in despite being clearly two yards offside.

9th February 2007: Southend United 5 – 0 QPR (Championship)
The league highlight of the Championship season saw QPR demolished at Roots Hall. Having been gifted an early goal when ex-Shrimper Simon Royce’s kick bounced off of Lee Bradbury and into the net, Kevin Maher and Mark Gower put on a master-class in the second half. After six months in the bottom-three, Southend leapfrogged QPR and out of the relegation zone.

6th April 2007: Southend United 0 – 3 Colchester United (Championship)
The good results didn’t last and on Good Friday 2007 Colchester well and truly took revenge for the hammering they’d taken at Layer Road the previous season. A Jamie Cureton hat-trick, helped by Efe Sodje’s suicidal first-minute header straight to him, was enough to gift the bragging rights to our neighbours.

9th April 2007: Preston North End 2 – 3 Southend United (Championship)
I could have picked any one of a number of great away wins that season (including Cardiff, Birmingham and Ipswich) but the Preston match will be remembered for three reasons. Firstly, Kevin Maher’s fantastic brace, secondly for Alan McCormack’s brilliant volley which almost broke the net, and thirdly (and more sadly) because it was the last time that a certain Romany Gypsy centre-forward would ever play for us. Freddy limped off injured in the first half and with him went our final hopes of staying up as we prepared to enter the final few games of the season with a Lee Bradbury/Matt Harrold strikeforce.

6th May 2007: Southampton 4 – 1 Southend United (Championship)
The Championship season concluded with another hammering this time at St.Mary’s. Southampton needed the points to clinch a Play-off spot and in front of their highest crowd of the season (many of whom had come to pay tribute to their former player and manager Alan Ball) the visitors took a shock early lead through Adam Barrett’s fine goal. It wouldn’t last but by the time the third and fourth Saints goals had gone in a full-scale party had started in the away end as we waved goodbye to the Championship amid scenes which I’m sure most who were there will always remember.

8th September 2007: Southend United 3 – 0 Gillingham (League One)
A stuttering start to the following season had led to Steve Tilson recruiting Sheffield Wednesday striker Leon Clarke in an attempt to fill Freddy Eastwood’s goalscoring boots. Clarke made his debut against Gillingham and what a debut it was. One assist and two goals, including a beautiful chip over Simon Royce in the Gills net won the points for Southend and his goals over the next couple of months would help keep us in the hunt for promotion.

2nd February 2008: Leyton Orient 2 – 2 Southend United (League One)
After a difficult Christmas period, Steve Tilson dipped into the transfer market to assemble the hard-working strike-partnership of Lee Barnard and Alex Revell. This was their first match together, and it took Barnard 27 minutes to open the scoring just days after he scored the winner on his full debut against Leeds. Adam Boyd’s penalty six minutes after the break levelled the scoring but just a few minutes later Peter Clarke picked the ball up and with no obvious passing options in front of him, decided to shoot from fully 35 yards. The ball flew over the Orient keeper to spark jubilant scenes from the away fans. However Orient were to get the last laugh as in stoppage time a cross wasn’t dealt with and Jabo Ibrehe headed home the equaliser.

16th May 2008: Doncaster Rovers 5 – 1 Southend United (League One Play-Off Semi Final)
A very good end-of season run took Southend into the Playoffs as the form team however after a goalless first leg at Roots Hall a combination of poor defending, terrible goalkeeping and some rotten luck resulted in a heart-breaking end to an up-and-down season.

26th September 2008: Southend United 3 – 0 Leyton Orient (League One)
There’s no doubt that Orient had taken the upperhand from the Derby of Convenience over the decade but we were always going to get payback at some point and sure enough that’s what we got in September 2008 as a Lee Sawyer-inspired side took the O’s to school. Shortly after scoring the third, Dougie Freedman (who had formed a very promising partnership with Lee Barnard) went off injured and has never been the same player since.

28th October 2008: Southend United 1 – 0 Leeds United (League One)
In the absence of the injured Barnard and Freedman, Tilly turned to Alex Revell and new French signing Francis Laurent up front. With a hard-working targetman alongside him Laurent was free to cause havoc and so he did as he forced Leeds to chase shadows for 90 minutes. However the winner came from an unlikely source – a freekick from on-loan fullback Dan Harding.

3rd January 2009: Chelsea 1 – 1 Southend United (FA Cup 3rd Round)
The FA Cup sent Southend to Stamford Bridge where under-fire World Cup winner Phil Scolari sent out a near full-strength team. Few Shrimpers could have been optimistic, particularly when Saloman Kalou was left completely unmarked just after the half hour to nod home Frank Lampard’s pinpoint corner. However Southend dug in, switched to a 4-5-1 with Alex Revell on the right wing and the score remained 1-0 going into stoppage time. Then this happened:

Peter Clarke, thank you.

21st February 2009: Colchester United 0 – 1 Southend United (League One)
The season was in danger of fizzing out by the time Southend prepared to make their first ever visit to the Weston Homes Community Stadium to face Play-off–chasing Colchester. Franck Moussa’s goal was enough to bring bragging rights back to the Essex Riviera for another year.

8th August 2009: Southend United 2 – 2 Huddersfield Town (League One)
It was a long and frustrating summer full of rumours of financial difficulties at Roots Hall and a depressing lack of new signings so not many were confident when on the opening Saturday we faced a big-spending Huddersfield Town side including Peter Clarke and Theo Robinson, who had both left Southend over the summer. Yet against the odds Blues raced into a 2-0 lead and looked comfortable. Two goals in the final 20 minutes saw the points dropped in a manner which would become increasingly familiar over the first few weeks of the season but we’d shown that we could play against the best in the division and not look out of place.

30th October 2009: Southend United 1 – 0 Gillingham (League One)
The rumours of financial problems had long since turned into fact on the back of a Winding-Up petition from HMRC and latterly an Administration order. This match took place at the heart of those problems when it appeared that a ten point penalty was just a question of time. Fortunately the team were still competing on the pitch and a stoppage time winner from Lee Barnard was enough to send the troubled Southend fans home with a smile on their faces.

28th December 2009: Leyton Orient 1 – 2 Southend United (League One)
The decade concluded with yet another trip to Brisbane Road, just days after an embarrassing Boxing Day defeat in the other Derby and when Orient took the lead in the 57th minute it looked like another depressing afternoon. However within moments Adam Barrett had driven home from 10 yards and then with 16 minutes left on the clock Alan McCormack’s shot deflected in via the shins of both Barnard and a defender to secure our first win at Orient since 2001 and send us into the next decade on a high.
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Beefy, it's absolutely brilliant and I owe you rep. Makes you relive those moments all over again and brings a massive tingle! You should post them on 606 and remind everyone on there!
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Great trip down memory lane. Particularly the 05/06 title winning season, couldve picked any number of games, we played with such a swagger as you say.
Good work on this.

However, for me, there are two glaring omissions.

09/08/05 Bradford City 0-2 Southend United

Maybe this was more of a personal one but after an opening day defeat at home to Port Vale (shaky start having just come up), I remember trudging over the Pennines after work to our game at Bradford who had been relegated from the Premiership 4 years previously at a time when, unlike today, such falls from grace were quite rare (in fact, this must have been the first time we faced an ex-Premiership side in the League since we got relegated from what's now the Championship the first time).

Memorable for two reasons: Guttridge's first goal for us and the first time we really got to use the 'You're not famous any more' chant in my memory (both at the club and Dean Windass who was still playing up front for them).

After the game I thought to myself 'we might be alright in this division'. How right I was!!

14/04/07 Southend 1-3 Barnsley

The game that followed the previously-mentioned high of Preston (after which, we looked like we may be in a decent chance of surviving) was this relegation six-pointer (after which, it seemed like it would take as miracle to keep us up).

A great read nonetheless.

Thanks for the memories.
Great stuff, I think there is one glaring omission: Yeovil 2005. One down at half-time, we turn in a sublime attacking performance to win 4-1, with Eastwood, JCR and Jay Smith all coming off the bench to terrify Yeovil.

Probably the highpoint of a decade in which we beat Man U.
I did consider both the Bradford and Yeovil matches for the reasons mentioned. There were a lot of other matches which could have gone in but they'd have had to go in at the expense of other matches. It was hard getting down to 50
Beefy, fabulous work - it's been great re-living some fantastic memories of the past decade, and it just goes to show what a brilliant time we've had, especially under Tilly and Brush.

I hope you won't mind me quickly mentioning a couple of matches that have stuck with me that aren't in the top 50:

20th April 2004: Southend United 2-2 Hull City (Nationwide League Division Three)
Hull arrived in south-east Essex with promotion almost assured, whilst a run of ten points from a possible fifteen after the LDV Vans Trophy final had made sure that we had eased clear of the relegation zone, which had been a genuine threat earlier in the campaign. This remains the best basement division match I have ever seen in terms of free-flowing football, and I would imagine it will remain so - looking back it is easy to see how Hull progressed to the Premier League and we made it as far as the Championship in subsequent seasons. Mark Gower's low drive gave Blues the lead, but Junior Lewis headed an equaliser eight minutes later. Kevin Maher's fine finish put the Shrimpers back in front during first half stoppage time, but a Tigers side featuring three future Premier League regulars - 'keeper Boaz Myhill, left-back Andy Dawson and captain Ian Ashbee - levelled again midway through the second half through Ashbee's sweet finish.

30th January 2007: Birmingham City 1-3 Southend United (Coca-Cola Championship)
Taking out the emotion of Preston, this was the most impressive of our away victories in the Championship. Rock-bottom, travelling to second-placed Birmingham on a cold January night and having lost 4-0 to the West Midlanders a little over a month earlier at Roots Hall, the only slight fact in our favour was a recent win on our travels at Cardiff City. When Peter Clarke contributed an own goal in front of a dedicated away following just eight minutes in, surely we didn't have a hope. Except, of course, our luck would change and goals from Maher, Eastwood and finally Gower, with a sublime finish from a short corner, after Darryl Flahavan and the Shrimpers back-line had withstood a barrage of efforts, secured a fabulous victory.
Great stuff, I think there is one glaring omission: Yeovil 2005. One down at half-time, we turn in a sublime attacking performance to win 4-1, with Eastwood, JCR and Jay Smith all coming off the bench to terrify Yeovil.

Indeed. That remains to date the most complete footballing performance I've seen from us. They came out after Half Time riled up by Jevons celebrating like an arse, Guttridge lashed in a deflected effort early on and the remaining 40 minutes were a joy to watch... Every pass came off, every move tore Yeovil apart and we could've scored 5 or 6 in the first half alone.
2 excellent articles Beefy and im sure if you got in touch with the club, could fly straight into the programme!


wot he said........swansea away still ranks as my second favourite day of being a shrimper (bury away, benji etc no.1) the two bits you have done are superb