Fan Feature: Southend United

southendThe Cobblers head to Southend on Saturday looking to repeat a 2-1 win at Roots Hall last season that set us up nicely for the final run-in. It was a rare away victory for Town against the ten man Shrimpers but it’s set to be a tough outing this time out with the hosts winning both of their opening two games.

Southend United fan, and editor for the popular All At Sea Fanzine website, Jamie Forsyth joins us for this week’s Fan Feature and says that despite a trip to Wembley for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final last season was generally a disappointment:

“I think what we all wanted was promotion from this division,” he says, “particularly as we came so close the season before. The JPT was a major bonus, but the mood was generally one of disappointment. This was exacerbated by the fact our home form, bread and butter as far as the supporters are concerned, was truly abysmal with just six league triumphs all season, and Paul Sturrock cruelly paid for it with his job just two weeks from the final he led us to.”

The mood at Roots Hall wasn’t helped by a transfer embargo placed on the club over the summer and it’s been a case of treading carefully in the market for boss Phil Brown when he did get to bring in players. Jamie says:

“We’ve been under a transfer embargo due to late payment of debts (we did pay them in the end, apparently) throughout the close season, meaning Phil Brown had space for up to 20 under football league rules. This meant he has had to be very careful about who he has brought in, and understandably it meant we’ve missed out on a couple. New signing Julian Bennett had played less than a half before he damaged his cruciate ligament. He was to replace Ryan Cresswell, who along with Gavin Tomlin, Britt Assombalonga and Sean Clohessy, was the notable departure.”

Former Hull City boss Brown appears to have brought a new style to table since replacing Paul Sturrock in March and Jamie says that it’s something that supporters have enjoyed:

“The style of passing football under Brown is different to Sturrock’s more direct approach and the supporters have warmed to it. But a lack of guile is likely to cost us, and while our first choice front two undoubtedly have goals in them, they are somewhat injury prone. Brown had a bad start but has had a chance now to put his own stamp on the team. Supporters are positive about the way this season has started, and 7,000 were there for the opening game, a marked improvement.”

And finally, a score prediction from our Shrimpers enthusiast?

It’ll be a tight game. Cobblers are a good side with a significantly more generous budget than we have. However, we do have the best goal scoring target man in the division available again (Barry Corr) after his absurd red card was rescinded, so we’ll scrape a draw. 1-1.

You can check out all the latest opinion and news at the excellent All At Sea Fanzine here and follow @AllAtSeaFanzine if you’re a Twitter user.

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