SUFC Exiles: We sing in a Foreign Land
On Sunday 7 April, a record number of Southend United fans will be gathered for any game in the Club’s history. The vast majority will make their way from south east Essex by train or car – but for some their journey will be very different...
Some Shrimpers will start out from other parts of the country, many hours earlier. Some will travel across the globe days before. They are the SUFC Exiles.
Gio lives in Moldova, where you will recall England started its World Cup campaign. As soon as he found out the hotel the England team booked into for the match last September he booked the only room available, the Presidential Suite next to Roy Hodgson!
Gio says he is really looking forward to Wembley and is coming from Moldova especially to watch the game: “It’s a car from my house to the airport and then from Chisinau to London via Vienna!
“I was in Cardiff for our games and looking forward to the great atmosphere and great game. I look forward to Chris Barker lifting the trophy.”
Meanwhile, in New York on the night of the second leg of the area final, there were five Shrimpers watching the game on one TV, over a very poor internet feed, in a bar surrounded by Spanish, Italians and Turks watching Champions League football.
Mark E said: “We did not see any Southend goals as the feed was down when we scored. In fact, we did not see anything for the last 10 minutes of the game. The feed worked fine for the Orient goals though!
“We learned that we were Wembley bound when the text messages started to come through. Of the five Shrimpers, two were NY based and the others were visiting New York on holiday. They were known to us and Season Ticket holders.”
Mark has a ticket and will be coming back to England but the other New York based Shrimper cannot be over for the occasion.
Spare a thought too for Cairns-based, Phil. It will be early on Monday morning when the match kicks off and work commitments mean that he will actually be heading further south before the game. He’s likely to find himself in Sydney where he says he will be wearing his Southend colours with pride, unless a last minute change of fortune allows him to jump on a plane…
Mark B has also been following Southend’s fortunes from afar for the past year and was trekking in South America when the Blues booked their place at Wembley. Fortunately he was already scheduled to fly back from Lima to his home in Northampton a week before the game.
Being an Exile is not always inconvenient, but for one of them, the trip to Wembley is very beneficial. Kath is an exile who lives in Milton Keynes: “My journey to the JPT is the first game I am able to board a train just down the road from my house and embark at Wembley. One train, a 35 minute journey and lots of Champagne to be drunk!”
So what connects Gio, Mark E, Phil, Mark B and Kath? All are SUFC Exiles.
The SUFC Exiles were founded over ten years ago and represent the views and needs of all Southend United fans from outside south east Essex. Some Exiles never, or very rarely, attend games because of their geography, and some only go when the Blues are playing in their part of the country. Some however, do travel to Roots Hall on a regular basis.
The Club have invited us to be a part of the Fans Forum, so that we may better represent the needs of Exiles everywhere. If you’re an SUFC Exile, please get in touch.
Southend United? Blank stares? Who cares!
SUFC Exiles - We Sing in a Foreign Land
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