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History

Southend Managers From Yesteryear - Ted Birnie

20 June 2018

Edward Lawson Birnie, better known to the world as ‘Ted,’ was and still is Southend United’s longest-serving manager having been Blues boss for 12 years, spanning over 500 games.

Birnie was born in Sunderland in August 1878 and was a commanding centre-half as a player, beginning his career at a local club called Sunderland Seaburn. 
 
From there, Birnie would go on to play for Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and make over 100 appearances for Chelsea before ending his playing career with Tottenham Hotspur. 
 
After calling time on his playing career, Birnie switched to coaching and his first role came abroad with German side FC Mulheim before spells at Sunderland and Rochdale. 
 
In the new year of 1922, he would move into his first and only managerial position as he took the reins at Southend and would immediately move the club forward. 
 
At the time, Southend were nothing more than a mid-table side in the Second Division, but upon Birnie’s arrival, Blues began challenging for promotion with the likes of Jim McClelland in tow. 
 
Other players such as Billy Hick and Jimmy Shankly were key figures during Bernie’s time at the club, and although he wasn’t ever able to achieve promotion there were some notable victories along the way.
 
The most notable of which came in the FA Cup 4th Round when Blues blew away the then Division Two leaders, Derby County 4-1 at The Kursaal in January 1926. 
 
Birnie would end his association with the club at the end of the 1933/34 season and is the only Southend manager to have ever managed over 500 games for the club. 
 
His retirement brought about a new era at the football club which he had presided over for more than a decade with David Jack replacing him at the helm. 
 
Sadly, within 18-months of Birnie leaving the club he would succumb to ill-health and in December 1935 he would pass away at the age of just 57. 
 
His record number of games at Southend has stood the test of time ever since and is a record that will take a monumental effort to surpass. 
 
Date of Birth: 25th August 1878
Place of Birth: Sunderland, England
Managed Southend: 1922-1934
Playing Honours: None
Managerial Honours: None

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