Well, apparently it’s my turn to write up a blog for the Trust’s Committee Corner, and what a spectacularly busy and interesting time it is for me to be doing so!
Kev and I had a fab wedding back in October, with a few little nods to our football club, not least having our tables named after favourite footballers and getting a local artist to draw us caricatures of them! One of those was Chris Powell, who, as you probably are aware is now manager at Charlton. We put Chris’ name on the table where Kev’s cousins were…one of those cousins happens to be Charlton’s captain, Johnnie Jackson! He felt his boss had his eye on him!
Like many of you I expect, I was very sad to hear about Paul Sturrock’s departure from the club, and, personally, can’t help but wish that had been held back until after Wembley. After all, he’s the one manager who has actually been able to deliver that dream occasion for us – one that I suspect many of us never thought we’d get to see. I hope that, if he does (as we’ve been led to believe) lead the team out at Wembley, he’s given a suitably vociferous cheer of approval from the Southend supporters, for his achievements in getting us there. By rights, we should have been in League 1 this season – those Aldershot lights have a lot to answer for! I doubt Paul would have been leaving us now if we had been. I’m sure you, like me, wish him all the very best for his future.
In the meantime, Phil Brown has been appointed manager. Let’s hope that he can unlock the mystery of why Roots Hall matches seem to be so different to away ones. I remember under Tilly one season, that Roots Hall was an unbreakable fortress. It would be good if we could get some of that back as we have dropped far too many points at home. Lots of theories, I know, but one we come back to time and time again is the Roots Hall crowd. I’m sure where you sit there is someone nearby who takes a negative slant on everything that goes on…maybe YOU are one of those who rarely has a good thing to say. I don’t know if it is the reason or not, but the players certainly seem to be a lot more pressured at home, and it can’t be a coincidence that our best performances seem to be away.
There’s been a lot of negative comment made after it was announced recently that Soccer am’s Max Rushden and Helen Chamberlain will be performing the National Anthem at the JPT final. People seem to feel that it’s just a publicity stunt to boost an ailing show or that the “powers that be” just don’t take the JPT seriously because it’s lower league football. We’ll have to see how things pan out on the day.
Hopefully Wembley will be like one of those wonderful away performances that we manage to pull out of the bag every now and then. We have, apparently, been given the England “home” dressing room, so our boys will be following in the shoes of Rooney, Terry, Beckham and co while they’re getting ready. That dressing room has also been the base for 6 of the last 7 FA Cup Winners. Let’s hope it can be lucky for us.
Getting through to our 1st ever Wembley final has meant that Trust committee members have been incredibly busy organising the official coach travel for our members and the people of Southend. I know Paul Yeomanson must have felt like he was living in the ticket office! Several of us have chipped in with helping out with the bookings, working from when the doors opened to when they’ve closed, and it’s been great to enter into dialogue with so many people in the course of the bookings. Clare’s organised a whole fleet of coaches, it’ll be a great sight watching them all leaving Roots Hall en route for Wembley! 7th April will be a very busy day but I’m 100% confident that we’ve got the best organisation we could possibly have in advance of this to make sure our supporters arrive safely at their destination!
At Roots Hall on the day, we’ll have free face painting for the youngsters while they’re queuing to get on the coaches, and there will be a BBQ and hot refreshments available too, so you can grab yourself a bacon roll and cup of tea before you board your coach and get whisked off direct to Wembley. There’ll be a special Wembley edition of the SJS newsletter for under 16s on the coaches, with puzzles and articles to help keep them occupied. We wanted to get our travelling supporters to the ground at around the time it opens so they can soak up the atmosphere. After all, it’s 83 years since we last played at Wembley, and that was only in a Divison 3 South game against Clapham (later Leyton) Orient, who played a couple of “home” games there in 1930 – we won 3-0 then….a repeat of that would be a result to fulfil our wildest dreams!!!
Win or lose, I hope we all have a special day to remember, I hope the team gives a good account of themselves and we can all hold our heads high in a brief moment of glory.
Wembley……bring it on!