Date:Thursday February 19 2009
It's just days away now, so Vital Southend's Editor Glenn Cowan gives us a view from the other side ahead of the weekend's Essex derby.
Q: Has this season been anything like you expected?
A: To be honest this season has been very disappointing, top quality players leaving the club (Flahavan, Maher, Gower, Bailey) - which we have struggled to replace has meant that we aren`t as strong as last season, coupled with the high number of injuries to key players along with suspensions have made it difficult to field the same side twice in many games.
Our play-off position last year had us all thinking that we would be doing something similar this year, sadly that is not the case and despite the chairman and manager denying that they understand what consolidation means that is exactly what we are looking at.
Q: Is the manager still the right man for the job?
A: Without a doubt is the short answer. He is Southend through and through - Legend status.
We get frustrated sometimes with his substitutions or lack of them, for instance in the derby game at our place earlier this season you totally out done us with yours and we had no real answer or response, got lucky in the end I guess!. Also the Richie Foran debacle was handled very poorly - whether that was the board or Tilly, we will never know.<
On the positive side, you don`t stay over 5 years in a manager`s job now a days without knowing what you are doing, this has probably been his most difficult time so far but I am confident he can press on and help us climb back up the table.
Q: Freddy Eastwood - have you moved on?
A: Freddie who?
Q: Which Colchester player would you allow in the Southend team?
I have always liked the look of Marc Tierney, used to look out for him when he was with Shrewsbury - one of my ex-work colleagues is a friend of the family so guess it came from there, decent young left back.
Q: Who has improved, disappointed and surprised you in this season's squad?
Improved: Johnny Herd who has made the step up into the first team squad, excellent young prospect who has done very well for us when called upon, also possesses a great weapon in the form of a "Delap" type throw in, as Chelsea found out to their expense in the first leg. Currently not making the first team due to "accommodating" Adam Barrett @ left back as we have a new defensive partnership between Peter Clarke & Dorian Dervite (Loan - Tottenham)
Also Alex Revell is worth a mention in this category, not everyone`s cup of tea but an honest professional who does genuinely give 110% for the team, and although not in the same class offers something similar to Emile Heskey.
Disappointed: Where do I start, at present there are plenty of players who haven`t performed anywhere near what we have come to expect, Alan McCormack has really struggled to make an impression this year - for the most not his fault as he has been injured and then hasn`t been able to get back to full speed as before.
Simon Francis is another player who if I said has been inconsistent I would be being very generous, has the odd good game where he can be effective and productive, but then lapses back into "another poor performance" - anyone bar Stevie Wonder or Arsene Wenger at the game last night would know what I mean!
I get the impression that he fancies himself a bit and maybe a few games out of the team would bring him back to reality, that said we have been that short of players it hasn`t happened - plus, Tilly I don`t think operates that way?
Surprised: Damian Scannell - well I`m surprised he is still at the club, Taxi!
Q: Kevin Maher - why did he leave?
A: A toe injury kept him out of the team for a while and things kind of moved on without him, there was some behind the scenes talk of a falling out with a couple of players - one of which might well have been Richie Foran - but no one at the club will elaborate.
Was captain marvel for us over a number of seasons and fully deserves to go down as a Southend all time great is scheduled to have a benefit game for his 10 year service with the club - supposedly the first game at the new ground has been promised by Ron Martin.
Q: What is the latest on your new stadium?
A: Still very much on schedule, despite misleading articles in the Echo!
"Uncle" has been keeping us reasonably updated with the progress, although things are a little tougher right now with the credit crunch. What didn`t help was the government enquiry which obviously put everything on hold at the time, maybe they should spend more time enquiring into the likes of Jacqui Smith`s expenses?
Q: Name your best moment as a Southend fan.
Southend 1:0 Manchester United. You know the one, when the player in question 3 scored!
Took on the full might of Sir Alex`s firepower and done 'em - A Tilly masterpiece.
Can also remember an away game with Leeds, got beaten but who doesn`t! They were singing their usual we are Leeds, we are Leeds etc, you may know the one and then they managed to change the song onto stand up if you hate Man U, which without delay we replied stand up if you beat Man U, they weren`t a happy bunch at this point and quickly went back to the old chant, we are.... how boring of them!
Q: What was the greatest derby you can recall between the two sides?
I would say the 3-3 game must be up there, the drama of it all. A commanding lead was taken by us only to throw it all away, still can`t believe that Wordsworth wasn`t shown the red car for jumping in the crowd!
The banter was as usual excellent, from yourselves of course singing in unison when you went 3:2 up, 2 nil and you "messed it up" (perhaps best not to put the real word in!) to us "nicking" an equaliser in the 90+ minute! Then of course the singing was volleyed back, 3:2 and you "messed it up!"
Q: Be brave - tell us a score for the weekend!
Maybe our midweek poor performance and result will be enough pain for us to understand we need a better performance on Saturday, that`s why I am predicting a win for the Mighty Blues of 2 goals to 1.
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