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Shrimper

Life President
Joined
Jun 16, 2008
Messages
7,803
I'm getting very irritated with the lack of news regarding new faces or even links to new faces that could potentially join Southend United. As soon as we beat Cheltenham we lost two of our key players in the season with the end of Dervite and Robinson's loans from Tottenham and Watford respectivaley and around a month after the season ended for us we lost our best defender, Peter Clarke, on a free to Huddersfield. Losing your player of the year is never a nice prospect for fans but the loss of that player on a free is very hard to take but it is something that seems to be a reccurance at Southend. Previously, last year before we embarked on a promotion campaign after our relegation from the Championship we lost Darryl Flahavan and Mark Gower both on free's. Our best keeper at the time and our best winger. We offered both of them new contracts but they both turned us down despite the prospect of new longer contracts and it does beg the question; Why aren't we able to keep these players?

In the case of Mark Gower we apparently offered a significant deal to the player; as stated in this article we also offered Darryl Flahavan a new one year deal so the real question now has to be where our club stands in stature and where it ranks amongst others. We are apparently in the hunt for ex-Reading central defender Alan Bennett at the moment and it's looking likely that he'll opt for newly promoted Brentford over us. We agreed terms with ex-Tranmere center back Ben Chorley and his agent but he opted to move to Leyton Orient at the last minute, so it's hard to understand how we're lagging behind Brentford, a newly-promoted club with a real chance of relegation and Leyton Orient a topsy-turvy club who sacked Martin Ling and are situated in an area where they compete with several Premiership clubs for attendance.

Without trying to sound biased towards my own team, Steve Tilson is one of the best managers in the league and his 6 years at the club along with a fairly decent record go a long way to prove this. A quick hop to his profile on the LMA Website gives you a brief outline of his achievements and awards. The award for manager of the year in our promotion year from 2005 shows that he is a very apt manager and he isn't afraid to speak his mind. However, he is prone to changing his mind. One such moment is his stance on having 7 subs in the league. Whilst originally in favour a year ago he is now morally against it, mainly due to the lack of players at the club and the probability that clubs will be less willing to loan out players if they can plonk them on the bench in one of the 2 extra spots now allocated. Which leads me onto the actual team;

As of writing we've offered American keeper Ian Joyce a one-year extension to his contract, which he has accepted and we have missed out on permanently buying Theo Robinson, who we had on loan last year due to it being "too expensive". Which is something that doesn't get me seeing as we've sold Freddy Eastwood for £1.5million , Jamal Campbell Ryce for £750,000, Nicky Bailey for around the same amount and if you couple that with the big money games we had against Tottenham (twice), Manchester United and Chelsea (twice) it's hard to understand why we haven't spent at least some money. However, given Tilson's previous foray's into spending it is understandable why he hasn't done this. A brief round-up on his past spending shows this;

  • Matt Harrold for around £100,000 ~ Was released on a free after two turgid years which saw a rather fruitless account of 3 goals in 52 official appearances. He now plays for Wycombe Wanderers and has a record of 9 in 37 games.
  • Billy Paynter for around £200,000 - Was another striker who had a poor time at Southend, in his solitary season at Roots Hall he failed to score at all in 9 official appearances. He was shipped out to Bradford on loan in 2007 and scored 4 in 15 before moving to Swindon Town and notching 19 goals in 78 appearances.
  • Zoltan Liptak for around £50,000 - Failed to make a single appearance whilst at Southend and was loaned out to Conference side Stevenage Borough where he made 2 appearances. Was sold to Ujpest for around £60,000 at the end of the season and spent some time on loan at Southampton before joining his current club FC Fehervar. Liptak was signed by Tilson as he impressed by the center-backs appearance against Witham Town in a pre-season friendly and claimed that he "desperatley wanted to sign him".
  • Lee Bradbury originally on loan but later signed for an undisclosed amount, thought to be around £100,000 - Lee Bradbury once commanded Manchester City's record transfer fee spent on a player at £3.5million, now-a-days this is a drab compared to the vast amounts they are spending now. Bradbury was highly recommended and Tilson even said in an article that "Leo Roget couldn't say enough nice things about him". In Bradbury's single year at Roots Hall he only scored 5 goals in 47 games which means he's added not only to another list of poor buys but another poor striker.

Those signings show that Tilson still has a bit to learn and if you put them with some other signings that haven't added mutch to our squad (Gary Hooper , Michael Husbands & Carl Pettefer to name but a few) then you can understand why he's so cautious to splash the cash on anyone, at the moment of writing our current squad looks like this;

Steve Mildenhall - GK
Ian Joyce - GK
Simon Francis - DF
Adam Barrett - DF
Osei Sankofa - DF
Johnny Herd - DF
Anthony Grant - MF
Damian Scannell - MF
Kevin Betsy - MF
Stuart O'Keefe - MF
Alan McCormack - MF
Franck Moussa - MF
Jean Francoise Christophe - MF
Francis Laurent - FW
Lee Barnard - FW
James Walker - FW
Alex Revell - FW
Justin Hazell - FW
Dougie Freedman - FW

A quick look at our squad shows that we have a core center of English, Irish and Scottish players which would hold us in good stead should any foreigner rule come in place. Our youth policy and development is good, Franck Moussa , Johnny Herd , Stuart O'Keefe and Justin Hazell are all youth players and Moussa and Herd are often involved in the first-team with Herd having 6 caps and Moussa with 45 and 2 goals, one of which was a crucial winner against Colchester in the Essex derby.

If i'm honest our front-line is poor and i'd look at changing that but obviously our priority is our defence. We have our loyal captain fantastic Adam Barrett who is a rock at the back. He needs to form a deadly partnership with whoever comes in to replace Peter Clarke. Clarke and Barrett were on excellent terms and were brilliant at communicating with each other and help slow down the draft of goals flowing past Mildenhall along with Dervite. We should look for someone who is tall and agile at the same time. Ben Chorley fits that bill but alas, as stated earlier, he buggered off to Leyton Orient. If we are chasing Alan Bennett as stated then he would be a good signing. At a towering 6ft 2inches he would be a perfect player to fill the gap although he has allegedly been offer a professional contract with Brentford.

Another position we should be looking to bolster is the right and left-back positions. We are apparently trialing Andrei Stepanov and Guus de Vries. Stepanov is another player who is tall at around 6ft and can play across the back four, little is known about Guus de Vries but according to Wikipedia he is currently plying his trade for FC Emmen in the second division of Dutch Football, i cannot comment on him so if any Dutch followers could let me know how he is that would be grand.

Our midfield is almost complete i feel, it needs one experienced and talented head who can command our wing and be versatile enough to play in the center as well. This is the one area that i'm yet to hear anything about, we haven't been linked to anyone as of note but two players who i wouldn't mind bringing in are Hal-Robson-Kanu from Reading and Lee Sawyer from Chelsea. Both have previous experience with us and are likely to be released or sold to help beat the recession and cut down on wages. Sawyer is a fans favourite so i'd love to have him back.

This brings us finally onto our attackers. James Walker is crap, to be frank, Alex Revell isn't the best but the amount of effort he puts in is superb and i would rather keep him than let him go. We got rid of Charles Ademeno and Paul Furlong at the end of the season so we've cut down a bit but Lee Barnard is very injury prone as is Dougie Freedman and Alex Revell broke his leg in January so to trust him with that task of our strike-force is a dangerous one. We do have Francis Laurent who we signed out of the blue and he is brilliant. A very astute signing. I would've loved to have brought back Robinson but he "cost too much" and we've not been linked with anyone so, throwing names into the hat, i'd like to see us make an offer for Jordan Rhodes and Danny Pilkington is versatile and can play in both the wings.

Whoever we do sign i am confident in Steve Tilson and Paul Brush, they are idiots to the game and as Tilson is a local lad i'm sure he'd want the best i'm hoping we don't leave it as late as the week running into the opening game meaning we end up with the dregs. Here's hoping...

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I did have a colorful display of flags but it won't let me have more than 12 :( Any feedback is welcome as i am hoping to become a sports journalist. :)
 
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