If you’ve listened to the English Football Show before since its inception in 2017, you may have noticed I love to sneak in a Southend United reference whenever possible.

But you may be wondering as to how I began supporting them.

It all began with a Road to Glory career mode on the popular EA Sports video game series FIFA.

Several years ago, my good friend Amar and myself couldn’t decide who we would see rise from League Two to the cream of the crop in European football, culminating in a Champions League victory.

From that moment onwards, we have always started every new edition of FIFA with a Shrimpers career mode as we aim to place them alongside Europe’s elite – a place we can only dream of them playing in the future.

In the beginning, the guys that stood out to us were bustling striker Barry Corr, the versatile Ryan Leonard and promising attacking midfielder Jack Payne.

Corr, who is currently without a club, became somewhat of a personal cult hero as he continuously banged in the goals for me during my FIFA adventures especially in the lower tiers of English football, where he has spent the majority of his career.

Leonard was so often the standout in game and watching highlights of fixtures across the seasons, so it wasn’t a surprise when he eventually did earn a move to Sheffield United. Although he does now play for a rival of the club in Millwall, make of that what you will.

Meanwhile Payne, has shown his potential in real life having earned a move to Huddersfield Town in 2016, although he is now out on loan at Bradford City, playing against his former side in League One.

Even in the early days of my support for the club, I would continue to check results and just pray for promotion.

That dream did come true in 2015, when the Shrimpers earned their place in League One after claiming victory on penalties against Wycombe Wanderers in the play-off final.

As a fan it couldn’t have come in more dramatic fashion. An own goal from goalkeeper Dan Bentley in the first half extra time, meant it looked like the season would end in heartbreak but football is so often a funny game.

Joe Pigott wrote himself into Southend folklore that day, a 122nd minute equaliser which sent the game to penalties, with the Shrimpers eventually coming out on top 7-6.

Within the space of 30 minutes, dreams were close to being shattered but all of a sudden fans and players were on top of the world.

In the three seasons since, the club has seen a change of management from Phil Brown to Chris Powell who I would say is under a little bit of pressure right now.

Lately, results haven’t been great but the weekend’s come from behind draw against promotion hopefuls Portsmouth could be the boost the team very much needs.

Simon Cox continues to score goals for the club and his hat-trick last weekend couldn’t have come at a better time.

Right now, the relegation battle in League One is so tight and the Shrimpers sit just seven points above the drop zone.

I still remain confident they will remain in the third tier for next season but the club’s form must improve going forward otherwise a nervous end to the season could ensue.

As always, COME ON YOU SHRIMPERS!

 

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Brayden May
braydenmay12@gmail.com