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jack the shrimper

Youth Team
Mar 13, 2011
Not sure where this should go - thought that seeing as it's Southend-related, I'd put it here.

I'm looking towards a career in football journalism and wrote an article for the latest issue of All At Sea, which I'm sure some of you will have read. Obviously I'm always looking for ways to improve my writing, so I'd be really grateful if some people could give me feedback. What have I done well/badly? Any constructive comments would be greatly appreciated.


Secure the Future

As we know all too well at Southend, financial difficulties are a plague on many clubs in the Football League. In many of these cases, a loyal support is the saving grace of the club’s financial state. However, Blues supporters will also empathise with the belief that loyal supporters can be taken for granted and are often underappreciated.

There are those who turn up week after week, year after year, never expecting, well, anything. Each season, they pin their hopes on the fortunes of the latest team in a conveyor belt of rough-edged hopefuls. These, I fear, are a dying breed of football supporters amongst the Sky Sports subscribing, prawn sandwich eating, #footybantz participating masses: which is why it’s vital that clubs attract new generations of support on a continual basis.

For the recent FA Cup game against Brentford, my friend and I chose to sit in the South Upper stand, for a change to our North Bank season tickets. Aside from the obvious contrasts in atmosphere and view, one thing that struck me was the amount of empty seats in the West Stand Family Enclosure. Granted, season tickets don’t cover cup games, but with discounted prices that were available for a game against higher league opposition, I was disappointed to see the desolate nature of the very place where my perpetual love for Southend began.

I first went to Roots Hall at the age of 7, when the club offered £2 tickets to children at my school for a game of their choice in 2003. If it wasn’t for the discounted tickets on offer to young children and a cheap option in the Family Stand, I daresay that my parents may have guided me to support the likes of a successful Premier League team, or West Ham (it doesn't bear thinking about...). I’m a firm believer that it's vital for the club to attract young children to the club, and to make it a natural choice for local parents to guide their children towards supporting Southend.

Of course, the positivity surrounding the club in my early days of supporting The Blues meant that attendances were always going to be higher than they are now - we were moving in an upward spiral (thanks to RM for that one). However following our draw against Brentford and the sight of a mostly-empty Family Enclosure, I felt compelled to ensure that new generations of supporters would continue to come through the turnstiles and into Roots Hall.

This brings me on to the Future Blues scheme. It might not have caught your attention, but it certainly caught mine. As though the club had read my mind, it was announced in mid-January and I for one was delighted to read of its launch. In essence, the scheme gives local primary school children the opportunity to get free match tickets to various home games across the season. It may not be revolutionary, but there’s nothing to lose. Why accept having empty seats when there are in excess of twenty primary schools in the Borough alone? As unattractive as it may sound on the face of it, a trip to Roots Hall on a rainy Tuesday night in January can make a lifelong Shrimper out a child who may otherwise be lured by the quality and drama of football when they see City winning the Premier League, without even being able to point out Manchester on a map.

In conclusion, I feel that it’s vital that the club continues to make this a fundamental aspect of its involvement in the community. Each new generation of support is vital for the future of any club, and Southend is no different.