Worst Ever EFL Start In History?! | TBV Bulletin November 2019

posted 2 Dec 2019, 17:30 by Dan McEvoy

Following on from the success of last season's bulletins, a member of TBV will be continuing to publish their thoughts and comments from previous games, and previewing games ahead of us. These bulletin's are to be published once a month, and the day/date these bulletins are posted will vary from month to month. As always, please be aware that this bulletin in particular may contain some controversial views, and are the views of those involved with TBV, and may not necessarily reflect the views of the club. 

Utterly Disgraceful...

"Well this will be a bit of a novelty for Southend, they've gone over half an hour without conceding a goal...". Not my words, the words of BT Sports Commentators during our performance against Dover. No, seriously, that was their exact words, I am not making that up, that is genuinely what they said. It's desperately sad to be known by national media as the team that can't stop conceding goals, but right now, that is exactly who we are. BT Sports and their pundits for the match were absolutely spot on with their comments about Southend, and judging from the reactions of the fans who made the trip to the Crabble Athletic Ground, I think their assessment of our performance was pretty accurate. It is the first game that I have fully seen every single person in the crowd, myself included, turn on the players and voice their disgust at the players. Our fans have been incredibly loyal, even in defeat, and it wasn't very long ago that I wrote about how our fans were singing "Southend Till I Die" with pride, after losing 7-1 with 9 men on the field. We saw some improvement against Ipswich, where I thought we put up some kind of fight, and Sunderland where we managed to keep them out for most of the game, only losing 1-0... but the hard work seen in previous weeks was undone against Portsmouth, where we lost 4-1. Moving out of that game, we moved onto Dover in the FA Cup on Sunday, and that is what we will be focusing on mostly for today's bulletin.

They think it's all Dover...

Where on earth do I begin with the game against Dover?! I think firstly, I should say that personally speaking, and after watching the game back, the game itself wasn't particularly poor, Dover really gave Southend a game, but for me, my frustrations surround the lack of chance creating, sloppy passing, and general complacency that surrounds the team. I've now watched the game twice; once on the day at the ground, and watching it back on TV during the week whilst writing this bulletin, and the amount of sloppy passes and complacency that was on display was beyond concerning. Even at the end of the game, the players seemed to be happy shaking hands and clapping the away support... it seemed, from a supporter's perspective, that the team didn't care about losing. The only player I will give some credit to after the game, was Elvis Bwomono, who looked visibly gutted in comparison to the rest of the team. He was the only guy who looked like he cared about the result, and was probably the only player to get any kind of credit from the away fans in attendance.

For me, it looked like a lot of the players out there maybe underestimated Dover as opponents, which for any game, let alone a cup game, is always a dangerous thing to do. Our lack of chances created is hugely concerning for me, and the lack of any kind of form is alarming to put it lightly. We have been, in a way, very lucky to get this little mini break in our season, with our next game coming on the 3rd of December away at Burton. It's clear that Sol has got a huge job on his hands, but it's great to see that he is relishing in the opportunity he has here at Southend, and is determined to work "double hard" to get our form back to where it needs to be. As he said on BT Sports before the game, he needs to get the players gelling together as a team, and believing that they can win football games. It is encouraging to see that the team and the squad kind of redeemed themselves in a way with a win against Wimbledon in the Leasing Trophy, but there is still a very long way to go. Unfortunately, not all of the players got the chance to redeem themselves in this game...

Harry Lennon's Controversy

So, as most Southend fans will know by now, it was reported on Twitter and in the Echo that our central defender, Harry Lennon, went out drinking with Dover players, in full Southend United tracksuit, just hours after Southend crashed out out of the FA Cup courtesy of Dover. To say the backlash from this has been toxic from the fans is probably an understatement, and those involved with TBV were very united on what they thought about Lennon's actions. For me, to go drinking with opposing players, dressed in full club tracksuit, just hours after being loudly booed off by the supporters of the club he plays for, is incredibly disrespectful, and, frankly is a slap in the face to all his teammates too. Sol's response to this to banish Harry to training with the U23's was 100% the right decision, and I think all Southend fans are in agreement with his reaction. 

The backlash to this forced Lennon to delete his Twitter account, and it has got to the point now where I feel like if Lennon played for our club again, he would be greeted with an incredibly toxic reaction from our fans. Obviously, TBV don't want to encourage a toxic atmosphere at games, but I feel that the combination of Lennon's actions, and poor results, will mean that Lennon will have a very tough time getting the fans back on his side again after this incident, if he even gets the opportunity to do so. 

I did note that there were a few anti Lennon chants on Saturday vs Oxford, despite him not being involved in the team, which, whilst totally understandable, it just wasn't needed in my opinion. I guess with the team at least 2-0 down at that point, some fans decided to target Lennon as a source of their frustration, which is understandable. But for me, my frustrations lay squarely on the players on the pitch, as they are the ones that are accountable for the performances we are seeing, not Lennon.

I can only hope that this incident, as well as the mini break we've had during November's fixtures has woken up a few players who may not of been "pulling their weight" within the team, but unfortunately it's too early to tell whether or not we will see an improvement in the future.

We Go Again...

We originally planned for this bulletin to be released before Oxford, but we decided to hold off for a week and see if there was any positives we could add in... sadly, there were no positives at all, and our worries and concerns from Dover carried over to this game too. So rather than dwelling on a horrible result against a side who hadn't beaten us in the league at home beforehand since 2003, we are choosing to move on from this game and result, and move towards our game vs Burton on Tuesday.

Should any of the players be reading this bulletin, our message to you is pretty simple; regardless of what you might think, the fans STILL have your backs. We care about our club, some of us more than others, and what you hear in the stands, in one way or another, is our passion for our team to succeed. Every single person who pulls on the colours of Southend United, and represents our club has our undivided support in the stands. When you, as a player, disrespect that either by turning on the fans, or doing irresponsible things like mentioned above, you see reactions like the ones you saw following the Dover game, or the pure frustrations and anger following our defeat to Oxford. You saw the feeling of pure joy and jubilation of survival in this league at the end of last season, that feeling was indescribable as a fan. It was a tough end to last season; we were slowly sleepwalking into a relegation battle, something no-one wanted to see, and survival on the final day of the season, was a huge relief for fans. Whilst we are currently 22nd in the league, and, at present, deep in a relegation battle, the season is NOT over yet. It's only the end of November, and we have a LOT of time to fix this, but an immediate response is required. 

We are a passionate fanbase, who, if anything, are guilty of caring too much about our club. A lot of people willingly give up their spare time and money to follow you around the country week in, and week out, and it's now up to YOU, both as individuals, and as a TEAM, to repay these fans' faith. How can you do that? Simple, play with passion, with pride, with grit and determination... show us you care about winning. The time for talking about improvements are OVER... the time to show up and FIGHT is NOW, and that starts on Tuesday.

We face tough opposition on Tuesday with Burton sitting in 14th. This will not be a "walk in the park", it will be a hard game, and we need to work hard to get a result... but it IS possible if you fight together, as a team. The travelling fans will continue to back you - repay their faith and show them just what it means to play for Southend United.

Final Thoughts

After a particularly negative bulletin this week, I felt I would end on a bit of a positive, and a thank you. For those of you who were at Dover or Oxford, you will have noticed that, for the first time ever, we were using a brand new drum, which has been kindly put together by the wonderful Southend supporters involved with Blues On Tour.

For those who are unaware of who Blues on Tour are, they are an official supporters group who organise coach travel around the country supporting Southend United (formerly known as TravelZone/ZoneTravel). Now, following Southend at the moment in time seems like a huge task, considering our form and our results... but with Blues on Tour, supporting Southend away is made a lot easier when surrounded by great people, and making good memories of away days, in most cases in spite of the results. Those heavily involved with TBV are regulars on the Blues on Tour coaches, and we highly recommend their services - we have made great memories all over the country as a group, thanks to the hard work of Wino and his crew. We encourage those who may not have travelled with them before, to join us for an away trip in the near future - you never know when our luck and fortunes will turn around!

The addition of a new bass drum is something we've been looking into for a long time, so when the opportunity arose, we were 100% on board with it. Whilst the new drum is slightly smaller, it is taller, and certainly packs a punch, with a notable difference being made at both the games the drum's been present at (Dover away & Oxford at home). The best thing about the new drum is that we now have the capacity to utilise the drum at away grounds with terraces (subject, as always, to away club's permission).

The arrival of a 2nd drum will mean we can switch drums where necessary, so a huge thank you to Tezza, Wino, and all of those at Blues on Tour for their ongoing kind support of TBV - we will find a way to repay your support! For those of you who want to join us and Blues on Tour on an away trip soon, check out the link below.

Blues on tour Website: www.bluesontour.co.uk

Finally, a huge thank you to those who continue to support the team, both home and away; your support for our club is absolutely unbelievable. With only 5 points on the board, and only 1 win this season, we totally understand why people are put off of supporting the team at the moment. It's not easy to watch us at the moment, but the results WILL improve with time. We have only 3 away games left this year, Burton on the 3rd December, Bristol Rovers on the 9th, and Bolton on the 21st, so my message to the fans is simple. Come and support us, join the fans on a little mini Christmas party tour of the country with Southend, and let's try and have a great day out regardless of the football... who knows, we may witness a Christmas Miracle! 

Let's continue to get behind the team, and show everyone how passionate we are about OUR club. 

Up The Blues!

The Blue Voice