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Is Paul Sansome one of the greatest 12 figures in SUFC history?


  • Total voters
    50
  • Poll closed .

Yorkshire Blue

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Ah-oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, its Sammy!

Yep, first up from the 4th round of nominations is popular goalkeeper Paul Sansome. If Sammy is elected, he'll become the third individual from the double promotion era to be elected, following in the footsteps of his manager Dave Webb and his team-mate Chris Powell. He will also be the first goalkeeper.

Sammy started out his career at Palace, but it was at Millwall where he got his breakthrough and he racked up over 150 appearances for the Lions appearing alongside such legends as Dave Cusack, Anton Otulakowski, Dave Martin, Paul Roberts and er Dean Neal, as well as some right donkeys like Teddy Sheringham, Neil Ruddock and Sam Allardyce. George Graham was his manager and Theo Foley assistant.

Signed for Southend in March 1987 by fellow nominee Paul Clark, Sansome became an instant crowd favourite through not being Eric Steele. He made his deubt against Chesterfield at Roots Hall, marking his debut with a clean sheet, the first of many, and played six games that season before his season was curtailed by a broken jaw.

The following season he was Southend's undisputed number one, playing in all but 2 league games, but his steadying presence at the back wasn't sufficient to prevent Southend shipping 75 goals (an improvement on the 88 conceded the season before with Eric Steele and Paul Newell in goal, but a far cry from the days of the record setting Mervyn Cawston) and Southend were relegated on the last day of the season.

As all Southend fans know, that was the start of something special and Sammy played in every game for the next two seasons as Southend achieved a historic double promotion.

The division 4 campaign could not have got off much better for Sammy as he kept an incredible eight clean sheets in the first ten games (and just as incredibly conceded 8 goals in the other two games!), playing behind a defence including current assistant manager Paul Brush and young centre-back and future Hall of Famer Spencer Prior. However Prior's broken leg ruled him out for the season and in his absence the defence faltered until Paul Clark and the young on loan Spurs central defender, Guy Butters linked up in January to help inspire the club to 5 consecutive home clean sheets. In all Sammy kept 21 clean sheets that season whilst conceding 48, which went a long way to helping Southend to 3rd place and promotion to the 3rd division.

Promotion to the 3rd might have been expected, but the following season's exploits were beyond the fans' wildest expectations as Southend blitzed division three to achieve a historic promotion to the promised land of the second division. Sammy was once more ever present. His total of 12 clean sheets might have been down on the previous season and the goals conceded slightly up on 51, but for so long as the likes of Angell, Benjamin, Ansah, Tilson and Martin were banging in the goals (all five hit double figures), it really didn't matter.

The following season Sammy was once more between the sticks, as Southend continued their relentless assault on the football league, most memorably topping the table on New Year's Day having thrashed Newcastle 4-0. Sammy even missed his first game in three years when that cheating little ******* John Hendrie dived to get Sammy sent off and give Middlesbrough an undeserved penalty and 1-0 victory (bonus question - which player went in goal and what is he now doing?). Sammy was then suspended for a game, allowing the talented, but at this stage, raw, youngster Simon Royce to make his Blues bow.

Sammy managed to hold off Roycie for most of the following season, but come the big game against Wet Sham, Sammy was suspended after another red card and his young understudy who he'd been coaching came in and played a blinder. Sammy was reinstated the next game, but from this point on he had serious competition for the Southend goalkeeper top. A couple of games later, B***y F*Y - never one to be afraid of making changes - did the unthinkable and dropped Sammy for the first time in his Southend career. Sammy was however back in the team for the final game of the season as Southend memorably beat Luton in Stan's final game, to ensure safety.

The following season Sammy held onto the keeper's gloves, limited Roycie to just 4 starts (bizarrely Roycie started both games against Barnsley that season and appeared twice against Grimsby- in fact 4 of Roycie's 8 first appearances were against Grimsby - Sammy can't have been fond of those teams!) as Southend looked a good bet for at least the play-offs until Judas Fry's act of treachery. Peter Taylor was unable to keep the momentum going as he lost the dressing room, leading to Southend to slide down to the lower reaches of the table.

The 94/95 season saw the end of an era. Southend had started the season well, with Ronnie Whelan's influence in midfield taking the team up to an undeserved spot just shy of the play-offs, but with Otto sold and Whelan battling his legs, Southend's season disintegrated. The team was tail-spinning towards relegation when Vic Jobson (still no nominations) intervened from his sickbed to send Spud on holiday and make Steve Thompson caretaker manager. Thompson knew the team needed shaking up and instantly recalled from out of the cold Tilson and Sussex, along with the fit again Whelan. It didn't do the job and Southend lost (albeit unfortunately) his first two games. More changes were clearly needed and for his third game he also brought back Gary Jones, Mick Bodley and the young keeper Simon Royce. This did the trick as Royce kept consecutive clean sheets and never looked back, establishing himself as the Southend number one.

Royce played every game of the 1995/96 season, producing some astonishing displays and often being the difference between conceding just the three goals and letting in the double figures Keith Dublin's "defending" merited. Sammy, use to being an ever present himself had to make do with a place in the reserves, being only occasionally given a spot on the bench. He therefore accepted a loan move to B***y F*y's hated Birmingham City, to become Judas's 68th signing in 25 months.

Fortunately, Sammy showed himself to be the true Southend legend we all know him to be, as replacing the injured Bart Griemink (forget Darryl v Bart, how about Sammy v Bart?) and he had an absolute shocker. He only played two games for them, and I have hazy recollections of one game being a vital cup quarter-final in which he scored an own goal and him conceding about seven in the other. Maybe this was wishful thinking, but I seem to recall Agent Sansome successfully sabotaged their season.

The following year he was back at Roots Hall, but he made only three further appearances. His last appearance at Roots Hall was fittingly a victory, 5-2 against the team who finished champions. At the end of the 96/97 season, he was let go and joined Gravesend as Player-Manager. I think he also made a return to Roots Hall when in his 40s, as an emergency goalkeeper, narrowly beating out Terry Alderton for the spot on the bench, but I may have dreamed this as I can find nothing substantiating it!

Sammy wasn't a particularly spectacular keeper, maybe lacking the brilliance of a Royce, but he was a rock steady influence at the back. He wasn't infallible, one fumble against Oxford when he ended up throwing the ball into his own net was particularly memorable, but such events were very much the exception rather than the rule over his 9 year Southend career and that aside it is hard to think of many other occasions when he made mistakes.

His 357 appearances is a record by a goalkeeper for Southend, and 6th on the all-time list behind only Moody and Pountney who have already been elected, Paul Clark who is up for election in the next fortnight and Sandy Anderson and Tony Bentley (no nominations yet). He'll always be remembered as the keeper who was ever present for that historic double promotion, but will that be sufficient for Sammy to be elected into the Hall of Fame?

Paul Sansome
samo.jpg

Southend 1988-1997
Total appearances 357 (308 league, 8 FA Cup, 19 League Cup, 22 Other Cup)
Promotions: 2 (1989-90, 1990-91)
Relegations: 2 (1988-89, 1996/97)
 

palexander

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Tricky one, I think Roycey was the better keeper (not forgetting Flavs too!), but Sammy's achievements and general cult status gets the nod from me.

The keeper who filled in for Sammy wouldnt be Tilly would it :) I remember he was usually the 'sub' keeper....
 

Yorkshire Blue

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I suppose the ancillary question is where does he rate amongst Southend keepers.

He was undoubtedly a legendary keeper but I think I'd have to put him below Royice, who was a premier$hite quality keeper and it showed, and Mervyn Cawston who set all the goalkeeping records, although was before my time. Possibly George Mackenzie, Southend's most capped player would be in this category as well.

For me, that puts him in the second tier alongside the likes of Harry Threadgold, Billy Moore, Ted Hankey and Darryl Flahavan. All five were long time servants, although it is difficult to judge Hankey, Threadgold and Moore as they were before my time. Having seen both, I'd definitely rate Sammy above Flavs, but I've no idea where he'd rate compared to the others. His main claim is being part of that double promotion side and that does add a lot of weight to his claim as he was ever-present in both seasons.

I am however struggling to think of a defining performance for Sammy. I can't think of any saves he made that would rank alongside Roycie's save against Edinho or Mildenhall's save against Chelsea, or any legendary performances. My abiding memory is of a solid keeper, rather than a great one. I think for that reason he probably falls a bit short of the necessary greatness, but being a favourite of mine, I won't exactly be disappointed if he gets in.
 

Yorkshire Blue

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Tricky one, I think Roycey was the better keeper (not forgetting Flavs too!), but Sammy's achievements and general cult status gets the nod from me.

The keeper who filled in for Sammy wouldnt be Tilly would it :) I remember he was usually the 'sub' keeper....

Correct! It was Tilly.
 

Mohave Shrimper

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Got to be in the Hall of Fame, he may not have been spectacular but when I started watching the Blues aged 12 in '91, he was always there, steady as a rock. A True Legend, 357 appearances, two promotions says it all. I seem to remember getting his autograph when a few Blues players opened a sports shop in Rayleigh, and being more excited to get his signature than that of Powell or Otto. It also says alot of his ability & the type of man he was that he trained Roycie.

Vote Sansome In! Because iiiiiiiiiiiiiiitt'ssssssss Sammy!
 
Last edited:

Napster

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away at Birmingham, back in 90/91 season I think, when we equalised in the last minute and Dave Martin was sent off, Sammy was immense. I've not seen a better keeping performance since. 100% legend.
 

SportBilly

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110% yes. As I said in the earlier thread, my abiding first memories of Roots Hall were Sammy in goal and the chant as he took a goal kick. No, not the best ever keeper at RH, made some saves look fantastic with some theatrical diving, but probably the most likeable. Legend for me.
 

leeblue

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Quite simply the best goalkeeper in my twenty six years of supporting the blues, better all rounder than flavs and royce an absolute must for the hall of fame
 

shrimpereeee

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Over the last 35 years he's certainly been up there with the best....but the Hall of Fame should be reserved for the very best. My vote on the goalkeeping front would have to go to Mervyn Cawston.
 

Uncle Leo

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Well before my time, but if you're talking great Southend goalies, I suspect a few of the older generation would mention the late Trevor Roberts.
 
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Well before my time, but if you're talking great Southend goalies, I suspect a few of the older generation would mention the late Trevor Roberts.

I would for one.

I was a big fan of Sammy and his longevity & loyalty to the club makes him an outstanding candidate for the HoF. However and as pointed out on an earlier post in this thread, is he the best goal keeper ever in a Southend shirt. IMO the answer is no, I would rate Trevor Roberts, Jim Stannard, Simon Royce and Mervyn Cawston who I consider the best permanent keeper we have had. I would suggest that loanee John Burridge may well have been the best, but like all opinions that is purely subjective.

As much as I loved Sammy I can't vote for him for the HoF.
 
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What a hard shout, as Southend have had their fair share of decent keepers and this is really as the title states one of the 12 Greatest players to represent SUFC, I have a foot in both camps, when you talk about keepers he is up against Cawston, Royce, Flavs, so was/is he better than them my opnion for what it is worth No, but only just I would have to put Cawston and then Royce just ahead, but then it would be a very close call

Sorry Sammy I really am :-(
 

RobM

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Royce's downfall was his kicking which is still awful. As demonstrated in the 5-0 defeat of QPR!
 
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Royce's downfall was his kicking which is still awful. As demonstrated in the 5-0 defeat of QPR!

Every keeper has his slight weakness and on that day he was caught cold, made up for it when we played Gills on Boxing day, single handed gave them the draw against us
 

SUFC_Al

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he gets my vote, he was the undisputed number one during my formative years follwing SUFC around the country. So often we travelled that 'Sammy' would acknowledge us behind his goal.

In terms of quality we've had better 'keepers but he was very reliable, making mistakes rarely and that's something you always need from your goalkeeper. He marshalled his defence well and if not the most spectular of players in this vote, he kept goal during what was then our most successful period in the club's history.
 

Southend Neil

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A legend and certainly played a massive part in our double promotion and in us maintaining our place in the 2nd tier. However he isn't the best goalkeeper we have had in my opinion and bearing in mind the one who was superior (Royce) isn't in the HoF, then it has to be just about a no.
 

OldBlueLady

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I would for one.

I was a big fan of Sammy and his longevity & loyalty to the club makes him an outstanding candidate for the HoF. However and as pointed out on an earlier post in this thread, is he the best goal keeper ever in a Southend shirt. IMO the answer is no, I would rate Trevor Roberts, Jim Stannard, Simon Royce and Mervyn Cawston who I consider the best permanent keeper we have had. I would suggest that loanee John Burridge may well have been the best, but like all opinions that is purely subjective.

As much as I loved Sammy I can't vote for him for the HoF.

Agree 100% Harry, sorry, very clear "no" from me this time. If we have a GK in, then I'm of the opinion big Merv is the best I've known during my time supporting.
 

leeblue

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spoke to my dad and he loves sammy but as mentioned above he reckons theres only one choice for goalie......mervyn cawston, as I said in my time of watching blues sammy is the one for me, always a hurdle when doing something like this- the timescale and which keepers different people have seen
 

Ex-Member1

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Being one of the old school, I remember being in awe of the likes of Harry Threadgold and Trevor Roberts and although Sammy was very good, I don't think he was in the class of the others. I therefore would not nominate him.
 
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