What’s that glare heading up the M6? Why, it’s the gleaming figure of Phil Brown of course, a man who has miraculously somehow managed to resist eating himself over all these years.
Whereas his Premier League days at Hull may seem a lifetime away, he deserves a lot of credit for the longevity he has managed at Southend. We know only too well at Wigan Athletic that four years in the job is a lifetime in managerial terms.
I don’t have good memories of Southend United and certainly not from trips to Roots Hall, the home of the Shrimpers, as I believe they are known. Like Tranmere back in the day, they were one of the pioneers of Friday night football – keen to tap into the London market and entice fans of other clubs to come and watch them.
I went there a couple of times on a Friday night with Darren Todd’s Executive Travel Club (anyone remember that?) and on both occasions the game was an absolute sickener. The first time we were 2-0 up at half time and ended up losing 3-2 to a wonder goal from Martin Ling, he of the infamous sweary post-match dressing room rant.
I watched it over and over again on the end of season video, he was basically out on the touchline, just over the half way line and smacked home a banana shot which swerved all over the place and ultimately nestled in the top corner. I don’t think any of the 50 or so away fans who went spoke a single word on the five hour journey home.
I seem to recall we went there again the year after and lost 2-1. Finally, to add insult to injury, I booked on the coach when we played them again a couple of years later, with Southend flying at the top of the league, and you can guess what happened! Yes, we won 2-0!! Unfortunately, I was suffering from a rampaging bout of manflu (years before it became an officially recognised condition) and had to drop out of the trip.
So, it’s nothing personal but seeing as everyone keeps saying that some team is going to be on the receiving end of a good hiding from us sooner or later, well I hope it happens on Saturday. It’s not without logic either given the number of chances we are creating but there’s also the possibility that those chances will dry up as well so we can’t afford to be overconfident.
Our home form has been superb so far and long may it continue but there’s always the chance that a tight 1-0 win could go the other way. Let’s hope that the superb fight (literally in some cases) and desire that has been exhibited thus far remains within the team throughout the season and the ability that exists within this squad should take care of the rest.
Article first published in the Wigan Evening Post’s 12th Man column on Friday 13th October 2017
You can find out more of what Jimmy thinks about Southend on Episode 33 of the Pie at Night Podcast. You can find it in all the usual places, our Soundcloud page, on iTunes or by searching on your preferred podcast app. You can also get it on our brand spanking new AudioBoom page, or if you like it here, by clicking play on the player below…