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Is Chris Powell one of the greatest 12 figures in SUFC history?

  • NO - he falls short

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    65
  • Poll closed .

Yorkshire Blue

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 27, 2003
Messages
35,029
Location
London
Fighting Talk on Radio 5 Live has a segment called Defending the Indefensible where pundits or comedians (note Mark Lawrensen the two are separate) are given an outrageous statement that they have to somehow justify for 30 seconds of airtime. Now I've always fancied my chances of playing devil's advocate and had fully intended to provide balanced arguments for each player on the Hall of Fame ballots, but finding something negative to say about Chris Powell?

My proudest moment as a Shrimper was attending Anfield to see Sir Chrissy Powell line up for England in a European Championship qualifier against Finland. Chrissy had been called up a month or two earlier in Sven Goran Eriksson's first England squad. That itself had been one of those JFK being shot moments - where were you when you found out Chris Powell had been called up? Well I was in those days living up to my username by actually living up north and I happened to be in a pub. As the the squad was flashed up on screen the cry around the pub went up "who?" except for me who screamed "yes, finally!". His debut against Spain itself was memorable for him nutmegging one of the then finest footballers in the world, Gaizka Mendieta, and he put in a fine display as England led off the Eriksson era with a convincing 3-0 win, which lead to him being picked for Sven's first competitive game. The story goes that on hearing Chrissy Powell had been called up for England the Charlton tea-lady had burst into tears. Now standing for God Save the Queen and seeing one of Southend's own lining up for England, I must confess that I had a tear or two in my eye as I tried to fight back the emotions.

Chrissy might have been playing his club football for Charlton at the time, but in my - by now watery - eyes he'd always be a Shrimper. By every criteria Chrissy seems to be a Southend legend. Undoubtably the greatest full-back ever to pull on a Southend shirt, he'd graced the blue of Southend for 290 appearances over 6 seasons, being a virtual ever present during the club's most successful spell ever. His first season was our arguably our greatest ever as after over 90 years of trying we finally reached our holy grail of Division 2 (as well as equalling the club's record ever win by thrashing Aldershot 10-1). From then on his graceful defending, pace, calmness and reassuring presence at the back as well as his sweet left foot going forward, not to mention the legendary wiggle were key as we held our own and sometimes more. He might not necessarily have been the star the year we went up, but as the seasons went on his star shone ever brighter. He was the key defensive figure, but going forward a ridiculous amount went through him considering he was the left-back yet our key attacking player. The beginning of the end of our Division 2 stint can be traced directly to when we sold him to fellow promotion chasers Derby. When he went our (admittedly optimistic) promotion hopes disintegrated whilst Derby powered onto the Premiership, a stage Chrissy Powell was to grace for most of the next decade but not a single person begrudged him the move. The next season we were feebly relegated. By the team the England call-up belatedly came he was already 32 and past his prime - he was probably a better player when he was gracing the turf at Roots Hall than when he was donning the three lions which just goes to show how lucky we were.

So what is there bad to say about the world's nicest footballer? Well, after much thought all I've been able to come up with is that he was once sent off for peacekeeping during a 21 man brawl in the Anglo-Italian cup, he retired from competitive football during the 2004-05 season (and we don't talk about it) and there are some photos of him floating around the internet of him keeping some pretty suspect company. Oh and his right foot was purely for standing on. He probably wouldn't be my first choice, but he's got to feature somewhere near the top.

An England international who'd starred 290 times for the club during its most successful spell ever, who'd stayed loyal when he'd had chances to move on, who nearly a decade later still turned up to cheer the club on at the Millenium Stadium, the finest full-back the club has ever had. If anyone should be wiggling it, just a little bit as an inaugral member of SZ's Southend United Hall of Fame, surely that has to be Chris Powell.
 
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