In the spotlight: Southend United

In the spotlight: Southend United

Fact File

Full Name: Southend United Football Club

Year Formed: 1906

Nickname: The Shrimpers

Stadium: Roots Hall

Capacity: 12,492

2021/22 Finish: 13th in the National League

Review of the 2021/22 season

Southend United started their maiden season in the National League with a 1-0 away victory at King’s Lynn Town. However, that would be their only win until the start of October as they got two wins from their first 10 games. A 4-0 defeat at home to Chesterfield secured Phil Brown’s fate as the former Hull City manager left after six months in charge. Club legend Kevin Maher returned to Southend to replace Brown as manager. His side continued to struggle until the turn of the year as they were just about out of the relegation zone. A 1-1 draw away at Bromley on Boxing Day began a 13-game unbeaten streak which included a 2-2 draw at the Technique Stadium. That run took them well clear of the drop zone and into midtable. Despite a relatively poor last two months of the campaign, Southend secured a 12th place finish with a 1-1 draw away at Torquay United on the last day of the season.

Manager – Kevin Maher

The current Southend United manager is a club legend at Roots Hall; Kevin Maher spent ten of his 20-year professional career with the Shrimpers. The midfielder scored 25 goals in 450+ appearances as the club won the 2004/05 League Two play-offs before winning the League One title the season after. Maher finished his career with Chelmsford City before moving into coaching. The former Republic of Ireland U21 international spent four years as a youth coach with Southend before having spells as a caretaker manager with Chelmsford and Bristol Rovers. In October 2021, Maher made a return to Southend as he replaced Phil Brown as manager. The 45-year-old turned the Shrimpers from a relegation-threatened club to a mid-table side.

Star Player – Rhys Murphy

Rhys Murphy is an experienced player in the National League as he has had spells with numerous clubs at this level. More recently, the striker moved to Chelmsford City and scored 28 times in 43 games. He joined up with Yeovil Town in the fifth tier the season after and impressed in the two seasons he spent at Huish Park. Overall, Murphy bagged 34 goals in 65 appearances and secured a move to Southend United in June 2021. He had a good first half to the campaign despite the Shrimpers’ poor form, creating a very good strike partnership with Sam Dalby. The 31-year-old scored nine times in 24 appearances but suffered a knee injury in January and missed the rest of the 2021/22 season. The former Republic of Ireland U21 international is hoping to come back stronger ahead of the new National League campaign.

Overall Head-to-head Record

P53   W27   D15   L22

Chesterfield have the slight edge over Southend United when it comes to the head-to-head record. The first fixture of last season saw the Spireites come away from Roots Hall with a 4-0 victory – Danny Rowe scored a hat-trick and Saidou Khan joined in with a fourth. Both sides were drawn together in the FA Cup first round and Rhys Murphy gave the Shrimpers the lead at the Technique Stadium. However, Khan, Luke Croll and Kabongo Tshimanga sent the Blues through to the second round. The last fixture saw a competitive 2-2 draw in the league; a late Fraser Kerr own goal saw a share of the spoils.

Played for both – Marc-Antione Fortune

Marc-Antoine Fortune had played for a host of clubs before signing for Southend United in 2016 including Celtic, West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic. The veteran striker scored his first goal in a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient in the EFL Trophy. He scored seven goals in 36 appearances whilst also signing a contract extension on January 1, 2017. Fortune also scored during a 4-0 win away at the Technique Stadium against Chesterfield – a result that confirmed the Spireites’ relegation to League Two. The forward spent another year at Roots Hall bagging another four goals in 41 games. He signed for Chesterfield the following season and scored seven goals in 28 league games as the Blues finished mid-table in the National League. Since then, the 41-year-old ended his career with La Louviere Centre.