Whilst on the pitch we clearly did not get the result we all hoped for, but Saturday proved to be another successful day for the Southend United Ex-Players Association (SUEPA).
Stuart Parker had not been back to Roots Hall for over 42 years since leaving the club in 1977 following a very successful period as our ‘number 9’.
Coming back to where he enjoyed the most prolific goal scoring time of his playing career, Stuart had a great, and emotional, come back on Saturday.
Being warmly greeted on arrival by his old team-mates Paul Clark and Frankie Banks was a joy to see, and the reception he got on the pitch just before kick-off was fantastic.
It really does mean so much to our returning former players to hear once more the crowd give them the encouragement that they used to enjoy ‘back in the day’.
Many old stories were re-lived, and more than once ‘that’ last minute winner he scored against Cardiff in the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1976 got mentioned as fans took the opportunity to say hello to Stuart both pre and post-kick-off in the Blues Legends Lounge.
Indeed, for anyone wanting to meet their past Shrimper heroes at future ex-player visits do get in touch with SUEPA by clicking here and something will be arranged for you.
Perhaps the visit is best summed up by Stuart’s brother Russell Parker, who after the match posted on the SUEPA Facebook page “You guys did a tremendous job and are a credit to Southend and to football people”.
The club is fully behind SUEPA, part of the Shrimpers Trust, and we would encourage you all to get involved and follow what is happening.
With 203 members since starting just 20 months ago, celebrating our clubs past and creating some new memories along the way is what SUEPA is all about.