Phil Brown wants fresh ideas and a fresh selection process can boost Blues
New Southend United manager Phil Brown is hoping his arrival at Roots Hall can give the Club a fresh impetus that can help push them back into the play-off places.
The former Hull manager, who took charge on Monday, spoke exclusively to Blues Player after signing his contract with the Club and spoke passionately about what he hopes to achieve, not just this season, but also in the long term.
Having not been in management since leaving Preston North End in December 2011, it is easy to understand just why Phil can’t wait to get back into the thick of the action against Bradford City on Good Friday – his first game in charge of Blues.
The 53-year-old said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have been given this opportunity. A lot of people have been asking me about when I’m coming back or whether I’d go down the media line.
“My intentions have always been to get a fresh challenge and fortunately, after meeting Ron [Martin], the Chairman, I accepted the challenge here at Southend United with both hands. Hopefully we can go forward together.
“Football seems to have a lot of coaches and managers out there looking to get back into the game. There are an awful lot of managers out there, and by definition; the only jobs you get are when the clubs are in trouble. Southend United definitely aren’t in trouble. We’re just on the outskirts of the play-offs and there’s still an opportunity for us to get promoted.
“It’ll be a tough ask, there’s still seven games to go in the league, but if we can get a winning run going, and the players play to the potential that I know they can then there’s every opportunity that we can get in the play-offs and hopefully, fingers crossed, to get promoted from this division.”
While Phil may not have managed at this level, he says he has spent a lot of time since he left Preston watching a number of games in League 2, and in particular Friday’s opponents Bradford City.
He added: “I know quite a bit about this division. In the 12-15 months that I’ve been out of work, I’ve taken in three or four games every week. I have seen quite a lot of Bradford over the last year, partly because of their fantastic run in the Capital One Cup.
“If you look at the table from a mathematical point of view, we have to win six, probably even all seven of the games left. We’ve got two games in quick succession on Friday and then Monday but we’ve got a few days on the training ground before that. During that time I will look to get across fresh ideas, a fresh system and a fresh selection process – hopefully we can go to Bradford City on Friday and put in a good performance.”
Blues’ manager hopes that his arrival will see the team turn a corner and get their play-off push back on track. “I’m confident there will be a renewed confidence because of a new manager coming in,” he said. “If we can give a good account of ourselves and come away with something at Bradford, we can take it into the game on Monday against another tough side in Fleetwood.
“First and foremost it’s about winning football. It’s all about points now, not about pretty football or how we achieve those points. If we can play nice football along the way then that’s all well and good. It’s all about end results and we want seven end results to get us into the play-offs and then three more to get us into League 1.”
Despite a Wembley date on the horizon, Phil wants to take one game at a time as Blues look to change their fortunes.
Phil added: “It’s got to be one game at a time at the moment, we focus solely on Bradford and then once we have come away from that one, we look ahead to Fleetwood. We can’t be thinking about Wembley at the moment.
“I fully intend to come in and hit the ground running, and hopefully get enough points from the games left to get us into the play-offs.
“My glass is always half-full. I’ll get my views across to the players on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; we have enough time for the players to go into Friday’s game with a clear mind.
“The Club has fantastic potential. The plans for the new stadium, the new training ground, the whole idea of moving Southend United forward and catching up really. For over 28,000 to be going to Wembley is fabulous. It’s a fantastic achievement.
“That just shows the potential this Club has. Hopefully I can help the Club achieve that potential during my time here, starting with a big three points at Bradford on Friday.”