Blues can today announce that Neil Harris has made the difficult decision to retire from football.
Neil had one year remaining on his contract but after struggling to get back to full fitness from a near injury, has decided to retire in order to pursue a coaching career.
Harris, a boyhood fan of Blues, joined the Club from Millwall in 2011 on a free transfer. In his first season with us, he made 42 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 goals.
Last season saw the 36-year-old play only 10 times in all competitions, failing to score. He damaged his knee ligament back in September and spent four months on the sidelines before making his comeback away at Exeter City.
However, on returning from injury, he picked up more niggles and missed another month, returning to action once more in the home victory against Northampton Town.
Unfortunately for Neil, his season finished in March when he had an operation on his right knee to re-structure his medial ligaments. His last appearance in a Blues shirt was the home defeat to AFC Wimbledon.
Blues Chief Executive, Steve Kavanagh said: “He came to see me as he knew he would not be able to play at the levels Southend deserve from him and so he has made the difficult decision to retire. Neil has been a fantastic professional and I wish him the best with the next stages of his career”.
Harris himself said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Southend United and realised a boyhood dream by playing for the club I used to watch from the North Bank.
“I enjoyed every minute of my time at Roots Hall but unfortunately due to injury I have had to end what has been a very enjoyable career. I am now looking ahead to the future and the rest of my life.”
Neil began his career at Cambridge City before moving to Millwall for £30,000 in March 1998. He spent six years in south London, scoring over 100 goals, and after a short loan spell at Cardiff City, moved to Nottingham Forest.
Neil spent three seasons at the City Ground, including a season long loan at Gillingham before returning to Millwall. Neil left Millwall to join Blues in 2011, and remains the club’s all-time record goalscorer with 138 goals in all competitions.
Everyone at Southend United would like to wish Neil all the best for the future.