The 2018/19 season was a hectic one for the Southend United Ex Players Association (SUEPA), their first full season since forming just 18 months ago.
With now nearly 200 ex-player/coaching staff members and a growing social media following for their Facebook and Twitter pages, SUEPA have been busy achieving what they set out to do – create new memories by putting ex-players back in touch with each other, the club and the fans.
The first SUEPA event at Roots Hall last season was back in October when ‘Shot Stoppers Saturday’ saw Peter Goy, Derek Bellotti, Neil Freeman and Mervyn Cawston, with nearly 500 appearances between them as our number one, return to their old football home. They were also joined by our 1960’s striker Ken Jones just in case they wanted a bit of shooting practice!
In December two former striking partners, Lee Barnard and James Walker, were re-united, and then in February Drewe Broughton returned when he also signed copies of his book.
March proved to be a very busy month. First up at the Barnsley game was 70’s striker Derrick Parker who was at Roots Hall as a co-commentator for Radio Sheffield. Then on 16 March for the AFC Wimbledon match Peter Daley, scorer of an iconic goal for us at Layer Road back in 1990, visited and ended up leaving with his head shaved after taking part in a local charity fund-raiser!
On 30 March SUEPA held their biggest event to date, ‘Smithy’s Army Day’, when 20 players from the Dave Smith managerial era (1976-83) returned. What a wonderful reunion day that was, and the impromptu standing ovation you all gave them as they made their way up the touchline before being introduced to the crowd was quite emotional.
The SUEPA season ended on 22 April when Roy McDonough and some of his former team-mates toured a few of the Roots Hall bars and sank a jar or two with many old friends.
Much more is planned for the season ahead, including we hope something very special you will not want to miss in November. To keep up with the SUEPA news on a daily basis make sure you like their Facebook page and/or follow SUEPA on Twitter.