A look at Southend United, who join Sky Bet League Two having finished 22nd in Sky Bet League One.
New season, new team takes a look at the five new teams to join Sky Bet League Two for the 2020/21 season.
ABOUT SOUTHEND UNITED
Formed in 1906, Southend United, have spent 100 years in the Football League but rarely got above the third tier. In the 1990s under the guidance of David Webb, Colin Murphy, Barry Fry, Peter Taylor and Ronnie Whelan they spent the majority of that decade in the second tier of English football, but then suffered back to back relegations in 1997 and 1998 and it wasn’t until the guidance of Steve Tillson that they bounced back and won the club’s first title in 25 years when they were crowned champions of League One in 2006. Since then though it has been a very chequered history for the club. Steve Tillson left the club, following seven years as boss, in July 2010, after they were relegated to League Two. They suffered two-winding up petitions from the HMRC the following year and while they did bounce back to League One via the play-offs, when Phil Brown was manager, more recent times has seen the off-field problems return. Financial difficulties marred last season’s campaign as they finished 22nd in the division, with just four wins to their name, and they were relegated back to League Two. Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell, who was manager of the club, left in the summer and has been replaced by former Exeter City player Mark Molesley as boss.
THE MANAGER: MARK MOLESLEY
Having left Exeter City at the end of the 2012/13 season, following a short spell at St James Park, Mark Molesley saw out his playing days at Aldershot and Weymouth. He started his coaching career at Bournemouth under-15s coach in 2015, but after he became boss of Weymouth in 2017 he has made a real impact. He has led the Terras to back-to-back promotions to the National League and started to attract the attention of Football League clubs. Southend, recently relegated from League One in the summer, came calling and he made the switch to Roots Hall. As a player, Mark started off at Hayes, before joing Cambridge City and Aldershot Town. He had a four-year spell at Bournemouth but following their rise up the divisions he went on loan back to Aldershot and then Plymouth Argyle before joining the Grecians on a permanent basis in 2013.
THE DANGERMAN: Charlie Kelman
Having scored seven goals in 19 games for struggling Southend last season, 18-year-old Charlie Kelman is certainly a player with a lot of promise. The United Sates under-20 international made his professional debut for Southend United in a League One match against Plymouth Argyle in January 2019 and scored his first professional goal in that match by netting from his own half during stoppage time.
2019/20 SEASON IN REVIEW
Southend United lost their first six games in Sky Bet League One last season and didn’t pick up their first victory until September 21 when a Charlie Kelman goal away at MK Dons gave them a surprise 1-0 win. That didn’t spark a revival as the next 16 League games saw them fall to 10 defeats and six draws before they picked up their next win, a 2-1 win away at Accrington Stanley. Victories against Lincoln and Bristol Rovers would follow but either side of a six game losing streak that saw them condemned to relegation long before the season was cut short because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
DID YOU KNOW?
Southend United were the visitors to St James Park on Saturday, May 3, 2003, when we lost our Football League status. Steve Flack scored the only goal of the match as the Grecians won the game 1-0 but victory for Swansea City at the Vetch Field meant the victory was inconsequential as the Grecians finished 23rd in the table and were relegated to the Football Conference among on-field protest against the then owners of the club John Russell and Mike Lewis.