Former Wimbledon trainee and U20 England international Neil joined Southend in the summer of 2002. He scored on his debut against Hull and finished the season as the top scoring mid-field player with 7 goals. The pick of the bunch was probably a superb curling free kick at Lincoln, which Mr Beckham would have been proud of. He is equally at home at left back or left midfield, but although he appeared to be playing as well as anyone else during the early part of the season, Rob Newman dropped him and didn't appear too keen to bring him back. In the end Neil missed 21 games in total, but always played with commitment and formed a useful partnership on the left with Damon Searle.
Fortunately Wignall appeared to recognise him as a good player and he signed a new contract in the summer of 2003, one of only six first team players retained. Reports were that he looked about the best player in pre-season training, but he pulled up with a hamstring injury during the Gillingham pre-season match and is still recovering at the time of writing.