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The PL League Boss
Apr 28, 2006
PL Headquarters Hullbridge
Now I know that this is't everyone's cup of tea but to pass the long soccerless days here's my take on Blues history season by season:

SEASON 1919-20

The first season after football had closed down for the First World War, and at the start of the season the only worry and priority had been to survive as a club, and this Southend certainly did. The ground had been the biggest obstacle, but the one year lease on the Kursaal had guaranteed the survival for the season. The cup game at Sheffield United and the sale of three players had balanced the books and United had ended the season in a quite healthy financial situation. The general opinion of the team was that they were an average side but with a good spirit, this good spirit had to be down to the manager Mr. Ned Liddell, but he had left and joined QPR a month before the end of the season, so there was a lot of uncertainty on the pitch for the future. Finishing eleventh out of twenty two clubs in the southern league was certainly satisfactory especially as at the end of the season they were elected to the third Division. Getting elected to the Football League sounds impressive, but it wasn’t in reality just a renaming of the Southern League to Division Three with 21 of the 22 Southern League Division One now in the Third Division, the exception was Cardiff City who despite only finishing fourth were elected to the second Division, much to the annoyance of Champions Portsmouth, their place being taken by Grimsby relegated from the second division.

Two other problems had manifested during the season, firstly the extension of the lease on the Kursaal and secondly the behaviour of the fans. It seems strange that the leasing arrangement which seemed so amicable at start of the season, was suddenly a matter of contention six months later. Perhaps it was a feeling that better gates would be obtained in a more central location or a ground which was not so bleak in winter conditions. Thankfully these problems were overcome, a further move would have been expensive and put the club back further.

The behaviour of the fans which got such a bad press, was probably a commonplace occurrence with the world and attitudes having changed with the traumas of the First World War. When Blues “Enthusiasts” were described as the worst in the country, I wonder how many grounds the writer had visited post war. The Upper classes were desperately trying to maintain standards, but the working masses expected more, and needed, then as now, the outlet to let their emotions (and language) out in the escapism of football. The attitude of "may the best team win" was being replaced by "may my team win".

The point of having a reserve side, then as now, is not to win the league or even to especially win games but to bring on young players, experiment and as a stepping stone for getting back to the first team. However while not winning may not have been a worry, to finish a humiliating bottom place having only won two of twenty eight games was frankly an embracement. Another consideration at this time was that the first team and reserve side would play at the same time, the general idea being that the first team would be at home one week the reserves the next and hopefully attract good crowds to both fixtures.

The South Eastern League before the war had had twenty ones sides, including Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and West Ham but had been greatly devalued when the London sides left to join the London League. Games against the big London sides would always attract good crowds, but the opposition in the South Eastern league were not especially attractive.

However the major consideration as always was finance, the club found running a side in the South Eastern League almost as expensive as competing in the Southern League but without the financial return and this was the major reason that it was decided not to run a reserve team the following season.

Hope you enjoy this write up Season 1920-21 to follow in a couple of days.