Category Archives: Southend United

McCall Sacked: Is Southend’s Powell Next?

Scunthorpe United sacked Stuart McCall yesterday, following a dismal run of results.

His win rate was 30%, with his loss percentage at 60%, it was this that cost him his job.

He had been at the helm for less than a year, managing The Iron for only 209 days.

209 Days doesn’t sound long and in some ways it’s not, but given that a new manager needs time to get to know his players, implement his ideas, then get the team playing the way he wants, without factoring in injuries and suspensions, then it’s a relatively short period of time.

This prompted speculation that Chris Powell, the manager at Southend, was going to be next.

A surprising factor in McCall’s sacking, is that Scunthorpe, though on a bad run of results, weren’t in the relegation zone. However, as you will have read above the loss ratio was very poor, and on paper 60% looks disastrous both to fans and the board, but when you factor in the well-documented, mitigating circumstances, then perhaps his record shouldn’t be as heavily frowned upon.

Though McCall and Scunthorpe parted company yesterday, Chris Powell at Southend was still in a job, despite suffering a 2-0 defeat to Peterborough at the weekend, a performance in which the players looked lazy and lacklustre.

Comparing the two teams’ records this season, on current form, Southend sit in 20th position, currently safe from relegation, just one place from the 4 teams below them trying to get out of the drop zone. However, they have not scored in their last 2 matches and during March alone have scored just 3 goals, conceding 12.

So whilst the speculation about Powell intensifies, it is worth remembering that Phil Brown, a previous incumbent of the hot seat, went through a similar rough patch during his tenure, so Southend do have a history of sticking by their managers, before pushing the panic button.

Phil Brown was in charge for almost 5 years, Paul Sturrock for 3 years prior, and before him Steve Tilson was in charge for 7 years.

All the named managers were able to achieve stability for a small town club, without massive finances, and kept them in the division they were in, or managed to get the club promoted against this backdrop.

With such a track record,  it could be argued that Powell will have time on his side, and the backing of the board, to help keep Southend afloat.

Appointed in January 2018, he inherited a side low on confidence and had only a couple of months until the seasons end in April to steady the ship.

Add pre-season into the mix and then you come back ready for the rigours of a new season. The fact that Powell hasn’t yet had a full season at the helm could be a major influence in why he is entrusted as club manager.

An organised, efficient manager; he gets his teams organised and hard to break down, so despite the speculation,  Powell could still turn things around.

League One: 11 Teams & an 8 point battle

As we near the business end of the season in the English Football League One, there are 11 teams, seperated by just 8 points.

8 points might not sound a lot given the previous relegation history of this league, but this has been no ordinary season in this league.

It has given us everything including drama, unexpected results, upturns in form, managerial changes, some good some bad and some just inspired.

From Bristol Rovers in 13th Position on 44 points, down to Bradford City, who this week took over from AFC Wimbledon as the strong men of the division, on 36 points, it could be said that none of the teams from 13th, down to 20th are considered safe, by any stretch.

Bristol Rovers, Scunthorpe , AFC Wimbledon, Rochdale and Bradford, among these teams have changed managers this term, with Bradford and Rochdale , being the latest to change, though it could be said, that in Bradford’s case, the appointment of Gary Bowyer, is their 4th Managerial change this season, with history not favoring relegated teams who change manager more than once.

Bristol Rovers and AFC Wimbledon, appointed managers who have fresh innovative ideas and this has been reflected in these two clubs upturn in form, both previous occupants of the bottom slot, Rovers now occupy 13th, with AFC Wimbledon sitting in 22nd position and just 3 points away from the teams directly above them.

In fact a win at home to Gillingham on Saturday, would potentially see the ‘Dons climb out of the bottom 4, which would represent a total turn around in fortunes.

Previous seasons have seen 50 points being the safety mark to avoid relegation, but given the unpredictable nature of results this season, and with just 8 games to go, it is quite conceivable that less than 50 points will be enough this season?

Either way, it promises to be a very exciting and potentially nerve-wracking end to an incredible season.

Who do you think will survive this season ?

Checkatrade Trophy: Is The Format Working?

Last season the EFL brought in a new format for the old Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and really it hasn’t helped teams in lower leagues. The new format encourages teams in the Premier League and the Championship to submit an Under 21’s squad into the competition. So is this format still a good idea?

The final of last season’s Checkatrade trophy was between Coventry and Oxford and broke the attendance record for the competition with 74,434, but all of last season the attendance figures at games across the competition was still low, Peterborough United as an example had an attendance of 1696 at their game against Norwich Academy which is a 4,000 less then their average attendance last season.

Last season as well clubs got fined for not fielding full strength squads,  on the 16th November Luton Town and Portsmouth were fined £15,000 for breaching this rule for all three of their group games, whereas Bradford, Blackpool, Bristol Rovers, MK Dons, Millwall, Charlton, Peterborough, Sheffield United and Southend all got fined £3,000 and Fleetwood were fined £5,000. That doesn’t sound like a lot to big clubs but in lower levels it is a lot to those clubs.

The group format is a nice new addition to the competition but for me I think if you took out participation from the Under 21’s it would be a good competition for lower league clubs and will hopefully increase ticket sales for the clubs as that can help boost finances. They also need to remove the full strength squad rule as fining teams for putting different squads out isn’t fair on teams that need to make sure people in their team stay fit and get a chance to show what they’re worth.

*Feature image courtesy of EFL.com*

 

Is football for the fans anymore?

It’s been a crazy summer for football this year with some crazy numbers coming from the amount that clubs have spent with Neymar and Mbappe etc. The money from the new Premier League television rights deal is well and truly coming to fruition with Premier League spending and revenues on the up. Even in the Championship spending has increased with Wolves paying 14 million pounds for Ruben Neves (just one player!)

 

With all of this money you would think that this would benefit English fans who follow their teams week in week out right? It couldn’t be more wrong as the price of season tickets are going up and kick off times for matches are set to change for an international audience.

 

So this begs the question do clubs really care about their local fans who pay their money to support them through the good and the bad times?

 

The answer to that question has to be a no. English clubs are charging a monumental amount of money to go to football matches and even when they are there the cost of food and drink is extortionate.

 

Premier League newcomers Huddersfield are the only exception from that statement as their cheapest season ticket comes in at just 175 pounds which is amazing considering the start they have had. In reality Arsenal’s cheapest season ticket comes in at just over 1000 pounds. That is a ridiculous amount of money to expect from a working class fan base.

 

Even in League One Bradford City fans were charged 28 pounds at Peterborough for a pay on the gate match. 28 Pounds for an away game in League One is scandalous and shows the director that English Football has taken.

 

On top of the prices clubs have all gone into the corporate fan bases which gives people the opportunities that most fans can’t afford. An example of this is Manchester City’s new Tunnel Club which offers people the chance to meet players and get up close and personal with the management team in exchange for a hefty price. City have alienated their fan base by taking opportunities away from their traditional working class fanbase and giving them to people who can afford to pay for the privilege. It’s not just Man City who are guilty of this as it can be seen up and down the country.

 

I’m not saying that the people who go to matches in corporate hospitality are wrong because they have paid for the service and fair play to them. Whats wrong is that most English clubs no longer see their traditional fan bases as the most important.

 

Another example can be taken from the recently named Carabao Cup. The third round draw for the competition took place live from China at 4:15 AM (GMT) meaning most British fans were sleeping when their teams draw took place. A spokesman for the FSF said: “In our 2017 national supporters’ survey fans expressed increasing frustration at instances of overseas audiences apparently being prioritised over domestic supporters. Holding the draw in Beijing at that time can only increase the sense of disconnection many domestic fans feel.”

 

Do you think that English Football is losing touch with its fans and becoming corporatised? Let us know in the comments section below…