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When was Southend United's Golden Age?

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .

Reg Martin

No Relation
Apr 2, 2007
The one certainty about the coming season is that people will be telling us they've just seen their worst ever game at Roots Hall, this is the worst ever Southend side, this is the weakest League two ever, I'm not renewing my season ticket, etc, etc. As people were saying this even when we were riding high under Tilly, it makes me wonder when was the time when everything was great for our club?
I've followed Southend from close at hand and from afar since 1970 and it seems to me it's always been a rollercoaster ride.
A battle to avoid applying for re-election in 70-71 followed by a first ever promotion in 1972 with gates of 15k or more in some games followed by selling Bill Garner and a relegation battle the following year. A couple of mid-table seasons and then relegation back to the basement in 1976.
The Dave Smith era had some great times with two promotions and some great cup peformances but it was against a backdrop of falling crowds and hooliganism.
The chaos and near extinction of the mid-80s, crowds down below 2k, followed by more yo-yoing between the bottom two divisions.
Then something I never thought I would see - promotion to the second tier, a six-year stay there but crowds never got much above a 5k average, the owner wanted to move us to Basildon and then Barry Fry walking out when he could have taken us to the Prem.
Late 90s and early 2000s another near extinction, stuck in the bottom tier going nowhere.
Then the glory years under Tilly, two promotions, cup finals, crowds consistently higher than any time since the 60s but still plenty of moaners from early days in the championship until his final season when everyone rallied round Tilly as Ron Martin became public enemy number one.
Followed by another near extinction and now back in the basement again.
So when was the golden age and I'm going to assume no-one on here was around before the 50s when setting up the poll.