I have never written for AAS before, never considered it. But after losing 6-1 to our inbred bitter rivals and reading some of the absolute rubbish on that god-forsaken Facebook Group I felt the need to get my feelings out in some way or another…
I’ve been following Southend home and away for 22/28 years of my life and this past two years it’s safe to say have been comfortably the worst. The loss at Dover was a total humiliation and left me sick to my stomach, Harrogate opening day wasn’t much better! Fans are calling for Mark Molesley’s head, I’d love to know who they want in charge, who in their right mind would take the job, and what exactly he has really done wrong. Comparing him to Kevin Bond is an absolute disgrace. Bond was beyond useless, had no ideas of his own and I have seen first-hand evidence of him asking journalists who he should sign. The guy was clueless and inherited a much better team than the Conference South (generous?) outfit we have now and a budget to recruit.
Let’s start with our squad – our senior pros are either playing through the pain/injured and old/been part of the downward trajectory of the last couple of seasons and devoid of confidence. The youth (bar one or two) will probably never play in the Football League again after this season as they’re so far out of their depth it’s untrue. More fitting for the likes of Harlow Town. Our strike force has gone from Hopper, Cox, Humprhys, Kelman to Acquah, Sterling, Goodship and Rush in the space of a year. That’s the downgrade of several levels,not just one division.
Turning this sinking ship around requires more than a miracle.
I think back to that last minute at Roots Hall when Exeter equalised. If fans were there we’d have won I’m sure of it. If we had a striker who gave half a shit, we’d have won I’m sure of it. If you get the chance to watch that Exeter equaliser back, look at the lack of effort Acquah makes to put their man under pressure before he picks out the forward pass that ultimately leads to the goal. Harsh perhaps but those small moments can make all the difference. That ‘win’ could have made for a very different buzz around the training ground and a very different outcome for all Southend fans’ moods and mindsets right now.
I want to go back to Mark Molesley. People question his passion and commitment – look at the celebration from the bench after that Crawley equaliser, listen to all accounts from players that say he’s at the office till 10pm every night trying to summon a miracle to change the club’s fortunes.
There’s also a number of fans crying for us to play to our strengths…what are our strengths? I’d argue it’s our ball-playing centre mids (both MM signings) Taylor and Olayinka therefore we have to play possession football. “Go direct, get it forward” I hear some of you shout. Why? Acquah is incapable of doing anything with his feet or his head. Play it into his chest he controls the ball then loses it on his second touch. Our wingers aren’t likely to win anything in the air. Egbri misses the ball if it bounces beyond shin height. So that tactical genius shout from our fanbase is ridiculous.
Next let’s look at his recruitment, whilst under an embargo there are numerous rulings that not many are taking into account. Signings have to fit certain criteria if they are to be registered e.g. under a certain age, 75% or less wages than the registered player they are replacing etc. Kyle Taylor, James Olayinka, Ashley Nathaniel George, Shaun Hobson, Simeon Akinola, Alan McCormack – I’d argue 3 are our best players, Akinola needs to be the second coming of Freddy Eastwood, most fans were delighted with Macca returning and Hobson granted looks a calamity. That’s not too sad. With all this being said, there is also a real limited number of options for which we can sign in the areas we need. Target men that are realistic options consist of Calvin Andrew and er… not much else. Underwhelming but probably exactly what we need now. We have had other targets, but if offered a place at any of the other 91 clubs or us – not including overseas – they’re choosing the other understandably.
Fans are crying for Sam Hart, again why!? What’s he realistically going to change. He was horrendous defensively before. No one else wanted Sam Hart. He came to us desperate for a club. In my opinion and several others I know we have a better left back in Tom Clifford. Either way again, we can’t sign him nor register Akinola as we’re under an embargo.
Not one man could turn this sinking ship around, which takes me to my final point on why Mark Molesley deserves more time, it also excruciatingly means I see no end to this misery anytime soon. Ron Martin! The chairman that speaks a good game, spins a yarn and time after time gets away with it. He will not walk away from this club until the Fossetts Farm project is complete. He has invested far too much to not see it through. In doing so his management of the club has fallen by the wayside. Tax bills racking up, failing to pay players, signing off on new players despite being told by the medical team not too, not sticking to promises made with several managers when it comes to recruitment, acting way too slowly as if the club is not a priority.
This multitude of negligent acts has left Mark Molesley with the worst squad in my lifetime, and furthermore it has left a club teetering on the edge of existence. If the Stadium isn’t approved soon, it could be too late for the club I love, a club with 114 years of history. I don’t know what I’d do without Southend, even though I’m sick to death of the constant disappointment every Tuesday and Saturday.