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Life President
Oct 28, 2003
We last hosted Blackburn on November 5th, 26 years ago. Fireworks provided courtesy of Brett Angell, twice, and Ian Benjamin giving us a 3-0 victory and our first and only win against them in 12 matches. Angell was in the middle of a run of scoring in seven consecutive matches against teams of the calibre of Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland. Happy days.

This season's curtain raiser will be officiated by the relatively inexperienced Lee Swabey, making the long journey from Plymouth. He turns 34 this month and works as a Sports Manager for TGS Coaching. Previous employment included directorships of two now dissolved sports companies in Devonport (previously Plymouth Dock).

He is in his third season, although he missed a good part of last season through injury doing only 14 matches, bringing his career record to 45 matches with an above average 157 yellow cards and a well above average 14 reds. It is not difficult to find a number of criticisms of some of his performances.

He has refereed Southend just once before, the 2-2 home draw with Fleetwood in April 2016 when the only card of the game was a yellow shown to Adam Thompson. (Although that was just 16 months ago, only 4 of the 18 players selected that day remain at the club and two of them aren't fit!)

Assisting will be another Lee, Lee Venamore an insurance manager from Maidstone and very poor non-league referee, Michael George from North Walsham, Norfolk. Fourth Official will be a very good non-league referee, Alan Young from Ely who works as Referee Development Manager for the Cambridgeshire FA.