Southend United are currently looking for a new manager following the resignation of Kevin Bond. After he narrowly helped Blues to avoid relegation on the final day last season, supporters were hopeful of an improvement in this campaign.
However, Bond did not enjoy a great start to the season with the Shrimpers. They failed to pick up a single point from the first six league games under his guidance so he resigned.
The target for the new manager will be clear for all to see – keep Southend United in League One.
Who has been linked?
Gary Waddock, who was Bond’s assistant, has been taking training this week. Waddock has previous experience as a manager at League One level as he was the Wycombe Wanderers manager when they got relegated in 2011-12. Waddock helped Bond with some of the recruitment this summer so has a good understanding of what each player can bring to the team. One of the problems with that though, is that the players that they signed have generally been pretty poor so far. The most notable name who moved to Roots Hall this summer was former Aston Villa defender Liam Ridgewell. Ridgewell was a decent defender back in the day but it looks as if the 35-year-old has declined now. He has only made one appearance so far and that was in a 3-1 defeat to Blackpool.
Other new signings such as Nathan Ralph, Mark Milligan and Joe Shaugnessy have not looked inspiring yet. They have all been defensive acquisitions but Southend have conceded 17 goals already this season – the same number as Bolton Wanderers, a team who have been unable to field senior professionals in their opening games. The 17 goals which they have conceded is the highest in the EFL this season. It is obvious that if they are to stay in the league then Southend must stop conceding so many.
Based on his recent managerial record, Waddock probably would not be the best man to stop the poor defence from conceding so many goals. His last job was at National League Aldershot Town where he got sacked after they were initially relegated into the National League South. Off the pitch problems with Gateshead meant that Aldershot kept their National League place but Waddock did not keep his job. It is very likely that he will only be used as an interim manager until the Shrimpers find their man for the long term.
Southend legend Adam Barrett is the bookies’ current favourite for the role at 3.0. Barrett is a boyhood Southend fan who had two spells with the club as a player over a combined period of eight years. He experienced three promotions in total with the club. Barrett would be a popular choice with the fans, however it would be his first ever job as a manager. Former Shrimpers player Ben Coker took to Twitter to say that Barrett would “change the mentality” of the club. Coker giving his support to Barrett suggests that it is very possible that he has been considered for the role. Barrett currently works at Millwall as a coach but would most likely fancy the switch into management should it be presented to him. Being a commanding centre-half in his playing days, he would be a good choice to try and tighten up the incredibly leaky defence.
It is not just the defence that the new manager will have to worry about though. Southend have struggled for goals this season too. Three of the four goals they have scored this season came in the 4-3 defeat to Wycombe. Two of the goals in that game were unstoppable strikes from outside the penalty area from Steven Humphrys. That shows that they are struggling to break teams down and create chances because simply they will not be able to rely on longshots for their goals.
Former Bolton Wanderers manager Phil Parkinson could be a potential candidate to help Southend score more goals. Parkinson resigned from Bolton after troubles regarding their takeover. He has been successful in this division before as he led the Trotters to promotion in 2016-17. Parkinson will ensure that the team is hardworking on the pitch. That may be a good trait to have as the squad is lacking quality so having the correct work ethic will be vital in their quest for survival. Parkinson has previously managed Colchester United though – Southend’s biggest rivals.
Sol Campbell was successful as Macclesfield Town manager last campaign as they rose from the ashes to survive in League Two. Campbell’s success there somewhat went under the radar as the Silk Men looked dead and buried before he took over. They were seven points adrift at the bottom of the league when he picked up the reins. An upturn in form meant that the miraculously went on to secure their survival. Just a few months later though and Campbell resigned due to issues with wages going unpaid. The fact that players were not getting paid for periods of the season and they still managed to stay up was huge testament to Campbell and his motivational skills. Another bonus if the Shrimpers opted to go down this route is that he is currently out of a job so would require no compensation or permission from another club.
Campbell currently represents decent value at 13.0. Should the Southend board look at what he achieved last season with Macclesfield then they may decide he is capable of repeating the feat with them. The route they are most likely to go down though would be to appoint Barrett. He is a man who knows and loves the club so will be desperate to save them from relegation. The short price of 3.0 may put off some punters but it may only be a matter of time before he is backed into an odds on price. Whoever gets the job will have a huge challenge on their hands to keep Southend in the league.