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Sep 2, 2007
At about 2.10 I walked with my dad to the bus stop on theno.8 route outside Ayres grocers shop in Rectory Road, Hawkwell, to catch the2.20 bus to Southend. In those days the bus got to Priory Park by just before2.40; there was no bypass in Rochford, not even a one-way system - the buseswent both ways down West Street and stopped in the Market Square.
Getting off before the traffic lights, we then crossed theroad and walked up Victoria Avenue, calling in at one of the shops before turningright into Roots Hall for the first time. I queued up at the back of the NorthBank to go through the junior turnstile whilst my dad went through the adultturnstile and waited for me inside the ground. I can’t remember how much it wasto get in, maybe 9d, but the programme was 3d!
We went onto the North Bank and stood about 6 rows from thefront with the goal to our right. There we were, waiting for the 3.15 kick offfor the third Division match between Southend United and Newport County. Myfootball watching up until then had been at Clements Hall Rec in Hawkwellwatching Rectory Rovers in the Southend and District League. I can rememberbeing impressed when my dad told me that Newport’s left back had been captainof Wales.
Aged 8, then what can I remember about the game - not a lot!We won 3-2! According to my programme Southend wore White Shirts with BlueFacings and White Shorts with Blue Stripe. The aforementioned former WalesCaptain left Back Alf Sherwood scored for Newport and that Alex Stenhouse, Bud Houghtonand Peter Corthine scored for Southend. Peter Corthine was my first blues hero!Corthine had just signed from Chelsea, along with Billy Wall, and had scoredhis fourth goal in his first 3 games. The programme told me we were 6 frombottom with 11 games left so a win was much needed. It also told me that the Supporters Club bandwere absent playing in the Southern Area Championship in London and that trainto Colchester on Good Friday left Southend Victoria at 12.55 arriving inColchester at 2.30 – 8 shillings return (40p). We beat them home and away GoodFriday and Easter Monday with a victory against Coventry in between.
Anyway, I must have enjoyed going as we returned 4 weekslater for the last game of the season against Bournemouth a 3-0 win a 7[SUP]th[/SUP]goal for Corthine in 10 games and a final league placing of 12th. Some thingsdon’t change in 58 years!
We haven’t played at Roots Hall very often on April 2[SUP]nd[/SUP]– A 1-0 win against Watford in 1979 which I was at, a 1-1 draw against Chesterin 1991 a 4-2 win against Scunthorpe in 2004 neither of which I got to and a0-0 against Aldershot in 2011 which I suffered.
58 years later and some 1,100 more visits to Roots Hall I’mjust setting off to catch some trains to today’s game from the south coast. Nottrusting the M25 today. I hope I can trust the weather and the pitch.