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Barry The Parrot Does East Fife ......

It might be a wet and windy Monday Morning, I am tired after my flight back from Edinburgh was delayed due to inclement weather but I AM PROUD TO BE A SUPPORTER OF SOUTHEND UNITED. The mighty pink and blue army travelled Fife shire in vast numbers, made friends with fellow fans from East Fife, Dundee and Raith Rovers.

Every fan who was fortunate to travel is a credit to Southend United. They flew from Luton, Gatwick and Stansted, some travelled by train, others drove, whether on the Friday afternoon picking their son up from school and stopping at Wigan Rugby League on the way up; left Southend at 03:30 on Saturday morning and arrived at East Fife in time for the first game or took time off work and took a leisurely drive to Scotland. Some fans camped, some stayed with family and friend and some in log cabins. B&Bs, Travel Inns, Premier Inns, hotels etc also featured.

They came to support the team and have a good time and they did. One fan, who hates flying, was convinced to fly up, hated the whole journey and celebrated when the plane finally touched down - first thing he did upon arriving in Edinburgh was to book a train ticket home.

The next time those of you complain about the noise from our younger supporters, whose drumming and singing shows their passion for the team, think again. A number of these youngsters stayed in the East Fife club house on Saturday after the two games, took part in their Quiz Evening, bought copious numbers of raffle tickets and paid over inflated prices for auction items. They also helped the evening's bar takings. You will not hear any complaints from the officials of East Fife - in their eyes these young fans are heroes and the amount of money they invested on Saturday could buy East Fife a new player. It should also be remembered that these youngsters go to every game home and away.

Other Southend fans supported the club' takings by purchasing items from the club shop and supporting the bar throughout the two days.

Throughout the weekend there was no trouble, no arrests just true fans supporting their team. We did not see Southend score any goals, in fact only three goals were scored in four games from open play, but we see four sets of supporters mingling and doing what the weekend was all about (i.e. watching football in a friendly atmosphere). It was also fantastic to see a large number of the travelling fans stay to watch East Fife win the final yesterday afternoon.

Several of us joined the East Fife Supporters Club and also built links with Raith Rovers. It was fantastic to see Richard Coxell at both games, whilst visiting family in Scotland, as his work means he has limited opportunities nowadays to visit Roots Hall or travel away.

The star of the weekend was Barry the Parrott who on Saturday kept the Raith Rovers and Southend fans entertained and on Sunday entertained the East Fife and Southend fans. He should be given honorary membership of the Trust and free travel however he wants to go to away games. He certainly kept young Alfie Jeeves entertained on Saturday.

Congratulation to East Fife on winning the tournament and their officials and supporters for making us welcome - WHERE NEXT - THE USA??????????????

Finally a big thanks to the players of Southend, who whilst not winning any games, ensured that they appreciated the support of the travelling fans.

As a trust member I am pleased that the members agreed to financially support the "tour" - in my eyes it was money well spent.

Trevor Bashford
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