I’m lucky enough to be writing about Southend United on the Sky Sports Fanzone website this season, so I’ll just be copying my articles for them on here to ensure that they don’t get lost.
League One is a tough league at the best of times, Southend correspondent Martin Hines is hoping that the Shrimpers can overcome obstacles of their own making first.
No money. No transfers. A new ground that has been in the pipeline for what seems like the last twenty years. Five million quid in debt.
And yet we don’t despair. In Steve Tilson we have a local hero as our manager, a man who rescued us from the pitfalls of relegation into the conference one year, to promotion into League One the next year. And then, unbelievably winners of League One the next.
Sure, things haven’t gone great since then, but maybe this is the season for it. With the veteran Dougie Freedman leading from the front, with club captain and Essex boy Adam Barrett shoring things up from defence, and Lee Sawyer, the exciting loanee from Chelsea pulling the strings in midfield.
And let’s not forget it’s the year of the ‘Mousse’. Franck Moussa, the twenty year old Belgian who set shrimper hearts fluttering with the winning goal against arch-rivals and general scum Colchester United in their own ground, in front of the poorest excuse of an audience I’ve seen since Susan Boyle’s bedroom.
League One is a tough tough league to get out of.
You have the teams who were once great but now struggle to come to terms with their own limitations in the harsh face of stardom – like Leeds and Southampton.
Then you have the newly minted boys who are looking to buy themselves out of the league – Huddersfield and Swindon, and also the most disgusting group of yokels ever conceived – Colchester United, and their goofy sidekicks Leyton Orient.
Still though, with Southend being the most family friendly club in the league, at least we’ll be the best at painting kids faces and ruffling their hair, which may come in useful considering our ever youthful side.
If it sounds like I’m moaning I’m really not – the joys of supporting a lower league club is second to none. Perhaps this season we’ll have memories to savour like the last minute equaliser against Chelsea last year, or Freddy Eastwood knocking Manchester United out of the league cup in 2006.
Overall, this could be one of the most open seasons of all time. We could go up, we could go down but always they’ll be the buzz, the spirit and the sheer pleasure that comes from supporting Southend United, truly the one team in Essex.