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DoDTS

The PL League Boss
Joined
Apr 28, 2006
Messages
8,520
Location
PL Headquarters Hullbridge
THE PAST AND THE FUTURE

Stating the obvious really but this is my take on the history of the club and the lessons to be learnt.

We can only imagine the horrors of the first world war but as life got back to some sense of normality, many longed to get back to dear old Roots Hall, but alas this was not possible and a new ground had to be found. The Kursaal was not initially a popular choice, little more than a pitch with a fence round it, very congested in the summer and bleak in the winter months with bitter cold winds coming in from the estuary. Within a year the cry was to find a new ground but when this came to nothing the directors started to add a few home comforts to the ground like a stand with seating accommodation and later some standing cover for the “bob” supporter. The Kursaal had one great asset the fans were close to the pitch and could engage in banter with the players and within a few years the supporters came to love the bleak ground. However with all this the fans wanted and demanded some success and under Manger Ted Birnie the club progressed for the next 10 years, despite as always having to sell his best players, and in 1931-32, Mr Birnie seemed to have put together a promotion side (Champions only promoted), however an inexplicable dip in mid season ended that dream and they finished a disappointing third. It was a golden opportunity that went begging and the club failed to break into the “big” time.

A new Stadium was being built in Sutton Road for Greyhound racing around this time, which was largely ignored by the Southend football public, and it came as a shock when it was announced just before the end of 1933-34 that the club was to move there the following season The move happened meekly without protest and the club relocated to a brand new shiny Stadium. Added to that Ted Birnie was in poor health and retired, he continued to live in Southend and died shortly afterwards after watching a reserve match, a real unsung hero of the club. The directors went for success big time by appointing David Jack as manager, probably the equivalent of appointing David Beckham now. It was another great opportunity for the club to progress, unfortunately David Jack was a great player but not a great manager and in their first year at the Stadium they had to apply for re-election. With the Kursaal gone the fans realised too late that watching football from behind a dog track is no fun. Behind the goals you were a ridiculous distance from the pitch, the atmosphere had gone, the banter had gone, basically football had lost much of attraction for the “bob” supporter. After the war the fans had given up on the Stadium and when the prospect of moving back to good old Roots Hall everyone did everything possible to realise the dream, from raising the finance to building the terraces and so in 1955 we moved back to our beloved spiritual home. The fans were again close to the pitch, there was even cover behind a goal, the enthusiasm was back. It was understood and stated that it was paramount that the club gained promotion in the first two or three years, everything was set for the great leap forward. Crowds increased, performances improved but not enough the elusive promotion didn’t happen the opportunity to become a bigger club didn’t happen.

This brings us to now, with a new stadium at FF in the foreseeable future, perhaps who knows, but the one lesson that history teaches us is that to become a bigger club you have to do it on the pitch. “You can build the best Stadium in the world but without success on the field it will remain empty” this was said in 1955 but is just as true now as it was then.

DoDtS
 
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