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Irish_Shrimper

Ant from across the Pond
Joined
Aug 13, 2007
Messages
5,310
Location
Limerick, Ireland
This week, Mark (Overseas Shrimper) from Malta takes part in the Interview with an Exile...

1) How long have you been an exile?
A) I have been in exile since ’95, mostly in Malta but with stints in India and back in London. Even though I returned to the UK, it was for work and I didn’t make a return to Roots Hall, or Southend itself, until 2002.

2) Why did you leave Essex?
A) I felt I needed to get away for a bit in order to kick start my career as I was getting stuck in a rut. What turned out to be a short period of time away to clear my head and get back to business turned out to be something rather long term.

3) Most memorable trip?
A) I’m a bit town by this. There are two very important trips to watch our team play and they’re very different. First up... August 9th 2003. First game of the season. It was the ‘Wignall Revolution’, a time of hope soon to blossom into despair! Gower scored both our goals in a 2-0 win. The reason this was so important was that it was the first time the soon-to-be Mrs Shrimper visited the Hall and watched our mighty Shrimpers play. There was something special in taking her to the place that meant to much to over the years. She loved the atmosphere and, being Brazilian, loves football.
The second trip is much more obvious: Same season, different manager (thank God). LDV visit number 1. We flew over from Malta, drove to Cardiff with my brother’s family and some friends the day before the match, stayed overnight... and then the next day... so many supporters around the town, the massive arena where little Southend United were going to play. Simply breathtaking. The result though... that was painful to take... as was the performance on the whole. But on pure spectacle, an amazing experience.
Not a bad first season for Mrs Shrimper supporting Southend United! Puts my 1988 start to shame somewhat.

4) Whilst SUFC fans prepare their usual Saturday home routines of pub, Fish House, match, what is your Saturday routine when the Blues are playing?
A) I don’t really have a routine as such, especially now we’ve got a 2 year old son and finished restoring a farmhouse in Gozo and moved in. They keep us pretty busy. I no longer subscribe to Blues World as the service was awful. When I can I log onto the SZ chat room and monitor proceedings on Sky’s Live Score Centre.

5) Have you followed any team in particular from Malta since your move out there? And what is the quality of football like in the country’s league?
A) Not really, but I suppose Birkirkara F.C. would be the team I’ve had the closest affinity with. Alan Sunderland (the ex-Arsenal player) was one of my first neighbours in Malta when he was managing Birkirkara and then another friend of ours managed them later on.

6) Favourite current and past player, and why?
A) When I first started watching Southend, I really liked Peter Butler for his fighting spirit (certainly not his Ronaldo-like skills). Also, Chrissie Powell was a favourite of mine. Favourite current player is Adam Barrett. He always gives 101% and bleeds blue.

7) Any plans to move back?
A) Not for now. Malta is a very relaxed place. On the beaches of Essex I would get looked at funny for my choice of swimwear, whereas on the beaches of Malta and Gozo, the skimpier the clothing the better. I have the following on order for next summer...let the good times roll ;)



8) Favourite SUFC kit of all time?
A) In my time watching, it has to be the last Spall Firholm, followed by the Betterview ‘lucky kit’. From before I followed The Shrimpers, it has to be the Bukta white shirt with blue sleeves number from the early 80’s.

9) Have you converted many people where you are situated to the Blues' cause?
A) Quite a few people watch out for our results now, especially one friend who keeps up with the latest news as well.

10) Hardest part of being exiled for you?
A) Saturday morning routine of beer, Fish House, more beer and game. I really miss that. The run up to the game is almost the main part of the day... the anticipation of it all. I also miss away days.

11) Special and memorable characters / rogues from your travels that deserve a mention?
A) Mark Osborne and Jason Whitworth, I remember Ginger Lee leading the North Bank.

12) Least memorable trip as an exile?
A) Got be Leeds away last season. Ouch. Met Adam Barrett at a petrol station on the A127 a couple of days after when I was on my way back to the airport and told him I came over to watch ‘that’. He apologised. That kind of made up for it.

13) Where is the weirdest place you may have bumped into a fellow Shrimper abroad?
A) I haven’t.

14) Why are the bus drivers, and drivers in general in Malta such loonies? :)
A) Can’t really comment as I am one of them!


15) Season expectations?
A) Play-offs.

16) If you were in Tilly's shoes for a day, is there anything you would do differently?
A) Take a quick F.A. coaching badge on use of substitutions before the 92nd minute. Other than that, I defer to Tilly’s professional knowledge of the game.

17) Favourite club captain in your time supporting the club?
A) Adam Barrett for the same reasons he’s my favourite current player. What better example of leadership?

18) Away kit: Reds or Yellows?
A) I’m not as bothered as some seem to be. Yellows reminds me of Jobson and isn’t as traditional as some seem to think. The new yellow shirt is nice though. Reds not great either. I think our home kit should be navy blue shirts, white shorts and the reverse for away.

19) When you do happen to get back to the Southend area for a rare home match, besides football, what do you look forward to the most?
A) Teaching my brother how to play FIFA 09 properly. Spending time with my brother’s family.

20) If we could sign any player in January (Within reason!) who would you open Uncle Ron’s cheque book for?
A) Lambert from Bristol Rovers looks good at the moment, but would be pricey. Being over here, my knowledge of other players is somewhat limited.

21) South, East or West stand?
A) NORTH!

22) Being a member since 2003, how has Shrimperzone changed and evolved between then and now? And how important do you see it in keeping up to date with SUFC related news?
A) In essence I don’t really think it has changed that much in the way of general SUFC talk. It always depends on what there is to talk about and there’s the usual apposing opinions etc. The forums have, and I think, always will be the main attraction of the site. What I think has changed most is the organisation of the site and the moderation (I know there’s a section of the ‘community’ that will deplore this, but I think it is necessary to keep things in order and to keep the owners out of court. The number and diversity of forums has also expanded over the years, which makes the content richer.

23) Did it take much adjusting when moving to Malta? Getting used to the weather, the people, etc. And if the clock turned back, would you still make the move?
A) Malta was familiar to me already as we have a Maltese side to the family, so there wasn’t much adjusting to do. That’s why I chose Malta, the familiarity of it. I’m glad I made the move away, but sometimes I wonder if I should have moved on from Malta. I guess I get itchy feet.

24) Aberdeen Shrimper seems to be of the opinion Liz Hurley will win this years Totty Cup. Can she, in your opinion, do the business, or who do you think will win the title?
A) Liz Hurley? I think she had her time a while back, but that’s Aberdeen for you... living in the past. I’d like to see Beyonce or Rihanna scoop the Cup. Yummmmmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeee.



Big thanks to Mark for taking the time out to answer the above this week. Next week, Nick (Spanish Shrimper) will go under the spotlight.
 
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