Q . OK, so you are Southend United Football Club!
A. Yes, that's the team I support and its pronounced
Q . Why Southend - South end of England, south end of
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!!).
Where is Southend-on-Sea?
A. On 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
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. 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
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. Didn't they go from the 4th division to the 1st division in consecutive
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).
Any Wembley appearances?
A. Well, one on 6th December 1930 against Clapton Orient
who used Wembley to stage two home league matches while their ground
was being upgraded. Southend lost 3 - 1. They have however appeared
in two LDV Vans finals and a playoff final at the Millennium Stadium
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. The highlight was the first major cup final in their
98 year history when the Shrimpers appeared in the LDV Vans Trophy
Final at the Millennium Stadium Cardiff on 21 March 2004. Unfortunately
they were beaten 2-0 by Blackpool. They appeared at Cardiff again
one year later in the LDV Final, but lost to Wrexham 0-2 after extra
time. In the FA Cup the 5th round three times, in the League Cup
in all of its forms never beyond the 3rd round. They got to the
National Finals of the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1994, although they
lost on penalties to Notts County. On Saturday 28 May 2005 at the
Millennium Stadium they beat Lincoln to win the League 2 playoff
final 2-0 AET.
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. 7th 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. Then a 3-2 win over Tottenham, but lost on away goals + a 1-0 victory against Derby (and 1-0 on aggregate). Did I mention the Man U victory?
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),
Roy Hollis scored the most goals (122 between 1953 + 1960), but
if you want the views of the visitors to this site follow
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. The answer in 2003 was that
bad financial management appeared to have left them in dire
straights, a development consortium, South Eastern Leisure (UK)
Limited bought them out at the end of 1998 and there were
immediately attempts to save
a few bob, so that and a complete failure to employ any managers
or coaches who could bring success saw them languishing in the
mid to lower reaches of the third division with no real sight of
promotion. Then they employed Steve Tilson as manager, Ron Martin,
the effective owner and latterly Chairman got the football bug and things certainly
picked up, both on the field and financially with back to back promotions
in 2005 + 2006. However the club accounts published in 2005 show the
Club £5m in debt with few assets. The rise to the Championship under Steve Tilson
has dramatically increased the average home attendences and there is a real optimistic
buzz around the Club and the town where 15,000 people turned out to cheer
the players as they celebrated becoming League 1 champions.
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?
The answer in May 2006 seems quite positive. It is proposed to move to the current training ground in Eastern Avenue, behind
Boots + Laces. Ron Martin's company Martin Dawn, bought
the other 50% share of the company that owns Southend on 3 March
2006. Now he wants to capitalise the Club and as part of that
exercise significantly improve
the Club's balance sheet. Architects are due to be appointed in May 2005 then a detailed planning application
for the stadium will be submitted in late summer. Environmental,
traffic and similar assessments to be considered, but the new Town Mayor
is extremely positive and has promised a quick decision (but that still means
around 4 months). Once approved the tender process will take
around 2 months, then mobilisation and around 15 months to build.
So around 21 - 24 months from planning to completion so the
optimistic assessment is a new stadium for the start of the
Historically SEL exchanged contacts to acquire
the necessary land in August 2002, the agreement being subject
to a successful planning application to build a B+Q store on part
of the site. Southend Council resolved to grant planning consent
in December 2002 and as matter of course the application was referred
to the Secretary of State for his approval. He has requested a
public enquiry which gave in principle approval to the whole development.
This was given in January 2005, then the development partners
in SEL took differing views as to the economic viability of proceeding
which was not resolved until Martin Dawn brought out Delancey
in March 2006.
sold Roots Hall in March 99, although initially Southend were
told they could continue to play at Roots Hall for a maximum of
4 years i.e. March 2003. That deadline was moved to December
2005 and although SEL can legally ask the club to leave at any
time, SUFC have assured fans this will not happen before
a new stadium is built.
The earlier plans submitted for planning consent included
a leisure complex and hotel so a regular income from the site could
be achieved. The plans showed a main stand with a curved roof like
the McAlpine, Huddersfield and smaller two tier stands on the other
sides giving a capacity of around 15,000. Public consultation threw
up the usual NIMBY's, but just when it looked as though consent
might be granted in June 2001 the plans were withdrawn by Southend's
owners to reconsider the leisure use and include more retail units.
A worrying side issue was that the problems with traffic flows to
the ground were not answered to the council's satisfaction. Following the
club's promotion to the Championship on 6 May 2006 Ron Martin formally announced
that he was seriously considering expanding the capacity to 22,000.
During the summer of 2008 the news on stadium seemed to change on almost
a daily basis and as
the Wikipedia article seems to be kept up to date it is worth
There have been many attempts to explain how a club
so deep in debt as Southend and with a comparatively small set
of loyal fans could actually afford a large stadium, but although
there is no public explanation every fans representative that
is given a confidential briefing by Ron Martin seems assured that
he knows what he is doing. The essence seems to be 'the Club will
benefit from non-football related income so as to assist its continued
success and longevity'.
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 at less than about £40.00. However
David has produced four new books with Peter Miles one called 'Potted
Shrimps - Southend United Encyclopedia and History Update 1992
to 1999' which is available at the club shop as are '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 and 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. Finally, 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
T: 01702 304050 (Club)
F: 01702 330164
Q. Don't Southend hold a league record for missing the most penalties in
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. Do you have a question?
A. If so follow
this link and I'll do my best to give an answer.
Q. Do you have an interesting fact to include here?
A. Again please
contact me or become a contributing author.
Page last updated 11 August 2008