Southend United Football Club database
Sammy Shrimper
A 5 minute history of Southend United FC
Q . OK, so this is all about Southend United Football Club!
A. Yes, that's the team I support and its pronounced Sarfend United.
Q . Why Southend - South end of England, south end of Essex?
A. Neither, the town is to the south end of the village of Prittlewell (which having a priory was the biggest place in the area 200 odd years ago when Southend was named!!).
Q. Where is Southend-on-Sea?
A. In Essex the north of the Thames Estuary, about 40 miles east of London, so we are not actually on the sea.
Q. Why United - Did two teams join together?
A. Not really, Southend United were formed following a meeting on 19 May 1906 when it was decided the town needed a semi-professional club, the former top local amateur team, Southend Athletic, contributed a few reserve players, but that was about it.
Q. Do they wear Blue because they are near the sea?
A. No: Southend Athletic wore red + they wanted to be different.
Q. Strange nickname 'Shrimpers', do they catch shrimps locally?
A. Not in any great numbers although shrimp boats did operate on the Thames until the 50's using cotton nets to catch the shrimps and boiling them on board over braziers to sell to the day-trippers. Cockles are the local delicacy, so Southend could have been the Cocklers.
Q. Isn't their nickname 'the Blues'?
A. For some reason Southend's board of directors favour this so local directional signs, car stickers and the like refer to 'the Blues', but with so many teams called Blues most die hard supporters prefer Shrimpers as it much more distinctive.
Q. Didn't they go from the 4th division to the 1st division in consecutive seasons?
A. It's true, 3rd in Division 4 in 1989, 2nd in Division 3 in 1990, 12th in Division 2 in 1991 then founder members of Division 1 (when the Premier League was formed).
Q. Straight into the League?
A. Yes, Southern League Division 2 + bear in mind the Football League at that time was dominated by teams from the Midlands + North.
Q. So when did they get into the Football League?
A. 1920 when the league formed a third division from all the Southern League clubs. In 1921 this became the Third Division South when the Northern League clubs joined the Football League.
Q. When did they first get promotion?
A. We have moved forward many years now, but to summarise in May 1958 they finished seventh in Division 3 South. The league took the top 12 teams from Division 3 South and the top 12 from Division 3 North and put them in a new national Division 3. The rest went into a new Division 4 + so the Blues automatically started the next season in Division 3 proper. They were relegated to Division 4 in 1996 + were promoted for the 1st time ever in May 1972, runners up to Grimsby Town.
Q. Any Championships?
A. Yes, two. In 1981 they won the 4th division championship under the management of Dave Smith and in 2006 they won League 1 under Steve Tilson. 8 players in the 1981 squad made more than 40 appearances and 5 players in 2006.
Q. Any Wembley appearances?
A. Two, one on 6 December 1930 against Clapton Orient who used Wembley to stage two home league matches while their ground was being upgraded. Southend lost 3 - 1. Then on Sunday, 7 April 2013 they appeared in the Johnson's Paint Trophy Final and lost 2-0 to Crewe in front of over 31,000 Southend fans.
They also appeared in two LDV Vans finals at the Millennium Stadium, both 2-0 defeats and a playoff final victory, in the space of 14 months between March 2004 and May 2005.
Q. Highest League position?
A. Top of Division 1 for 3 hours on New Years Day 1992 after beating Newcastle United 4-0
Q. Cup Successes?
A. Two LDV Vans Trophy Finals at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff; the first on 21 March 2004 when they were beaten 2-0 by Blackpool. The second lost to Wrexham 2-0 after extra time. Then 7 April 2013 in the Johnson's Paint Trophy Final at Wembley and once again lost 2-0; this time to Crewe.
In the FA Cup the 5th round three times. In 2006 they lost in the quarter finals of the League Cup to an offside 'goal' in the dying minutes of extra time. They got to the National Finals of the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1994, although they lost on penalties to Notts County.
Q. Biggest win?
A. 10-1 on three separate occasions, most recently against Aldershot. There was also 13-0 win against Chesham Generals in South Eastern League Second Division in 1906.
Q. Any victories over teams from the top division?
A. 7 November 2006 at Roots Hall, Southend then at the bottom of the Championship took on "the Greatest Football Team in the World" Manchester United who were clear leaders of the Premiership and beat their team of 10 full internationals 1-0 with a stunning Freddy Eastwood free kick.
Southend were the only team from the lower divisions to claim a 1st Division scalp in the first year the League Cup second round was played over two legs, beating Bolton 2-1 on aggregate in 1980. A 3-2 win over Tottenham, but lost on away goals + finally a 1-0 victory against Derby (and 1-0 on aggregate). Did I mention the Man U victory?
Q. Any famous players?
A. Two outstanding - Stanley Victor Collymore; discovered playing in Palace reserves + sold to Forest for about £3m. (different people quote different figures) + Ronnie Whelan at the end of his league career. The 90's produced a crop of players who went on to appear in the Premiership.
Q. Who were the best Southend players?
A. Well Sandy Anderson (1950 - 63) made the most league appearances (451), Alan Moody (1972 - 84) made most in total (502) and Roy Hollis scored the most goals (122 between 1953 + 1960).
Q. Famous Managers?
A. The aforementioned Ronnie Whelan (wonderful player; poor manager); Bobby Moore (great player; dreadful manager); Dave Webb (considered by most to be Southend's most successful manager) and Peter Taylor (former England + Leicester manager; who was told to go on holiday by Southend and they changed all the locks before he came back!!).
Q. Famous Opposition Players
A. Dozens and dozens of course as we have played (and lost to) quite a few top teams in our time, but two perhaps worthy of a special mention. Tony Adams (ex-Arsenal and England Captain) while he was serving time for a drink-driving offence as Dave Webb took the squad along to the prison for a practice match (Tony remembers Brett Angell gave him a hard time that day). Gabriel Batistuta (Argentine / Serie A superstar , European Player of the Year, etc.) played for Fiorentina against the Shrimpers in the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1993 (lost 3-0)
Q. The future?
A. Difficult one that. A development consortium; South Eastern Leisure (UK) Limited bought them out at the end of 1998. Since then HMRC have tried to have the club declared bankrupt on at least 6 occasions and players wages have been seriously delayed more than once. However the owner and Chairman; Ron Martin; has always settled the problems and has got the football bug. Latterly he has given his managers plenty of time to prove themselves which is admirable. Phil Brown's first dozen games produced dire results; but things have improved a little in the 2013-14 season.
Q. Did Southend ever play in blue and white stripes?
A. Yes. Southend moved from their traditional blue shirts with white trim to blue + white stripes from 1961 to 1965 + shortly afterwards decided to change to the navy blue of Scotland. The FA told Southend this was not allowed as it clashed with the referees kit (note to younger readers : referees once wore plain black kits). The protests of 'Well Scotland wear it', were ignored completely by the FA, so they changed back to their traditional blue. Southend flirted with stripes again from 1984 to 1990, but these were in two different shades of blue.
Q. Why was the Shrimp dropped from the club's badge?
A. It was an attempt by the former Chairman, Vic Jobson, to update the club's image and give him a badge on which he owned the copyright and therefore the royalties. The shrimp, known as Sammy Shrimper, was dropped along with the football in the mid-80's and replaced with the Lion + Anchor. Pressure was exerted by the fans to reinstate the old badge, particularly the supporter's club (which still continued to use it), the Southend mailing list and in its own small way this site. Finally at the start of the 2001 season the shrimp made a welcome return!
Q. Are Southend going to move to a new stadium + if so where?
A. Southend's proposed move to a new stadium on the site of their current training ground at Fossetts Farm started in September 1999 when they announced that plans for a new multi-million pound stadium would be presented to Southend Council within weeks.
After much delay in April 2013 councillors agreed to change a planning condition for the 22,000-seat stadium accepting a reduction in a payment towards town centre improvements from £6m to £3.5m and no judicial review took place so from a planning viewpoint all seems well.
The bulk of the initial funding for the stadium comes from the redevelopment of the Roots Hall car park as a Sainsburys supermarket. Most of the land required to do this has been secured. Although no official statement has been made, rumour in the construction industry is that Barr Construction or McLaren Construction will soon start the development works, with the first phase creating affordable housing in Roots Hall Avenue to allow demolition of St. Mary Court.
Q. What was Southend's worst league and cup defeat and who were they against?
A. Southend lost 1-9 away to Brighton on 27 Dec 65 which was the season they were relegated for the first time in their history. They lost 0-8 away to Crystal Palace in the Rumbelows Cup on 25 Sep 90, but Southend scored at Roots Hall after having gone a further two behind so the ever optimistic North Bank started to chant 'We're all going to Wembley'. The final score was 1-10 on aggregate over the two legs.
Q. Are there any books about Southend United.
A. The wonderful 'Southend United - Official History of the Blues' by Peter Mason with statistics by David Goody is no longer available new; but can be obtained second hand. David has produced four other books with Peter Miles one called 'Potted Shrimps - Southend United Encyclopaedia and History Update 1992 to 1999'; 'Images of Sport - Southend United Football Club'; '100 Greats - Southend United Football Club' + 'Fifty of the Finest Matches'. Another great buy is 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' by Bob Sills published by Rambling Bear which was available from the Shrimpers Trust at £5.00. It is a personal account of the fortunes of England and Southend in 1996 and is highly recommended. Also; first published in in May 2005 is 'Press On' edited by Keith Roe; a look at the Blues thro' the eyes of the local press; which is brilliant.
Q. What is Southend's address + phone nos.
A. Southend United Football Club Limited
Roots Hall Football Ground
Victoria Avenue
T: 01702 304050 (Club)
Q. Don't Southend hold a league record for missing the most penalties in a row?
A. Oh yes! On 28 Sep 91 at Wolves we missed our 7th penalty is succession thereby setting a new record.
Q. Any other league records?
A. Southend's 3 draws in the 2002/03 season equalled the record for fewest draws in a 46 game season.
Q. Playoff record?
A. On Saturday 28 May 2005 at the Millennium Stadium they beat Lincoln to win the League 2 playoff final 2-0 AET.
Lost 5-1 on aggregate to Doncaster in the third tier 'semi-finals' in May 2008 and lost 3-2 on aggregate to Crewe in the fourth tier 'semi-finals' in May 2012.

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My sincere thanks go to the many people who willingly or unwittingly have contributed to these pages especially Jeff Hughes who's excellent SUFC site was my initial inspiration, the members of the SUFC Mailing List past and present who provide me with most of the up to date news and perhaps mainly Dave Goody the Club's unofficial historian whose contribution to 'Southend United The Official History of the Blues', 'The Official PFA Factfile', 'Potted Shrimps', Endsleigh + Ultimate Football Year books + the Club's Programmes is truly brilliant + without whom I would be sunk.

Peter Miles, Keith Roe and Peter Mason have all produced books on the Shimpers that I constantly use for reference. Soccernet from ESPN, the tremendous reports and tweets from Chris Philips of the Evening Echo and the stunningly comprehensive information from Tony Brown and the team at ENFA are other excellent sources of information. Thanks must also go to John Walton for allowing me to publish his extremely descriptive match reports.

Finally, although the chances of this being read by any of the contributors to is virtually nil I still would like to place on record my debt to them when it comes to advice on the creation of this website.


A fan's story

My Dad was an Arsenal fan, but his boss supported Southend and sometimes offered him free stand tickets to Roots Hall, so on Saturday 11 March 1961 I was taken to watch Southend play QPR and saw a forgettable 0-0 draw. Two more 0-0 draws, two defeats and one win spread over the next three years did nothing to inspire so, with one exception which was also a defeat, I gave up all real interest in football for the next 7 years.

However on Friday 29 October 1971 encouraged by the Shrimpers good home form that season I went to watch them beat Barrow 1-0 with a Terry Johnson goal, next home game Exeter were beaten 3-0, then Villa 1-0 in the FA Cup and it was as simple as that, I was hooked.

Moving 100 miles from Roots Hall in 1988 did not stop me attending most matches home and away and I have seen 1,992 Southend first team matches and watched them play at 182 grounds since that Barrow win.

Inspired by other fans sites in the mid 90's I decided to produce a site primarily intended to provide statistical and historical information on the Shrimpers from 1971 to the present day. The first site went on line on 1 June 1997, three makeovers followed in reasonably quick succession, until in 2004 I decided to learn PHP web programming and write a bespoke interactive site which certainly went some way beyond the brief I originally set myself.

Although rather proud of my efforts the world of the internet and computers moved on rapidly. Mobile phones and tablets became a common way of accessing information and monitor screen sizes grew substantially wider than the 800 pixels common in 2005. Web technologies changed too so I decided in 2010 to rewrite the site's interface completely and at the same time check and update the database. Three years of quite intensive effort which included spending ages trying to fix things that just weren't working as well as they should produced this site which went live on 15 June 2013.


Known issues

Please note that this site is continually evolving and has new historic as well as current information added on a regular basis, but I try to ensure that everything published is correct and note if it is not complete.

I'm aware of the following errors / problems which I am working to resolve.

If you receive any error notices, find links don't work, or can help by providing photos / articles for the site I'd be really grateful. Please email me.

Robin Michel
January 2014