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The PL League Boss⭐
Apr 28, 2006
PL Headquarters Hullbridge
MY Life as a Shrimper PART ONE 1952 to 1976

I have been asked to give a Preview and the following is a short review of PART One of the newly published Book “My life as a Shrimper” The story of my personal journey supporting Southend United.

The story starts with my birth in 1952. I was born opposite the Stadium Ground just before the FAC Rd 5 game against Sheffield United and from an early age I was indoctrinated into Shrimper life but it wasn’t until the early 1960s that I started to go to Roots Hall.

Growing up in Southchurch was a good grounding for many a Southend fan and I soon found myself a regular watching those pin striped Shrimpers. Money was tight, but at the age of 12 I went on my first away game to QPR on an Eastern National Coach. It was the time of Mods and Rockers, cushions being hurled on to the pitch from the East Stand and the collection in a blanket round the perimeter at half time.

The Summer of 1966 saw England win the World Cup but doom and gloom hung over South East Essex as the mighty Shrimpers came to terms with the humiliation of their first ever relegation to Division 4. The first Season in the lower division was expected to be a quick return, but despite early promise we faltered at the last hurdle in a season which saw the emergence of crowd disturbances.

I was still at school but spent my Summer holidays working in a local Supermarket to finance my away game craving and the following season I was a regular on the excellent Youth section Coaches, but as a naïve 15 year old I found myself a victim of crowd violence. These were difficult days for a youngster in pre-segregation football and if you wanted to go to football you had to toughen up and get streetwise quickly. With seven games to go we were virtually promoted, the only question was who would win the title, us or Luton, but then an incredible collapse saw us miss out for a second season.

In Season 1968-69 I was now working, and watching the “Boys in Scotland Blue” was my main purpose, but again it was a troubled Season with a serious Coach crash coming back from Swansea and serious trouble at Lincoln when the Coach was delayed at the local hospital for some time while some of our supporters received treatment. It was also the Season of an incredible FA Cup run, scoring 22,conceding 3 and of the football league making us change our colours. It ended with yet more disappointment as we narrowly missed promotion for a third season running.

The next two years were somewhat subdued as we found ourselves struggling in the basement division.The Youth section Coaches were stopped, so away travel by Train became very expensive and dangerous and I must confess that I got involved in the crowd trouble.

Eventually in 1971-72 Promotion finally happened culminating in the promotion games against Gillingham, yet being elevated back to Division 3 was an anti climax and while I was a regular at home games, away games became more of a rarity, they were expensive and I was trying to stay out of trouble. One exception was in 1973 when the “Shrewsbury Eight” rekindled the away day experience.

My life was changing, it needed to, I had a good financial move to the Midlands at work, where I was to marry and have children and really the 1976 Derby Cup match at the baseball ground largely bought closure to this first part of my Shrimper career.

A further review of PARTS TWO AND THREE will follow shortly.

This book is a ShrimperZone Production and can be purchased for £11.99 via the Shrimperzone Merchandise Shop or by sending a PM to Cricko or McNasty or seeing them in the Spread on Matchdays. Buy it here...... DoDTS's Masterpiece.