Firstly, I wish to repeat what I said last Friday in recognising that Kevin Bond kept the club in League One. In my view that deserved not only recognition but also, following a discussion with Kevin, an opportunity for him to build on the Sunderland match.
We should all be really pleased with the players that Kevin signed and there is no doubt that they are a ‘step up’. Unfortunately, from Kevin’s perspective he will never get to witness their full contribution.
Could I have released Kevin of his duties before last Friday?
I don’t think so.
If Kevin had been dismissed after three or four games, there would be a strong argument that he was not given an opportunity and the club acted unfairly and in a knee jerk reaction. That is not the Southend way... we are a club that is loyal to our managers and Kevin deserved a fair crack of the whip. That said, six losses on the trot left me with no choice. I will never let Southend United to be associated with failure and in that respect the timing I think was right and fair; we now have a fresh start.
Do I think this squad is good enough?
Unquestionably, I do.
This group of players has both quality and characters to compete. Despite the shocking start, none of us behind the scene are downbeat.
We are better placed this year than we were last year in terms of the squad. We now need to galvanise the team to ensure that their quality shines through and identify the right person to manage this group.
When will we choose a Manager?
The simple answer is when we are absolutely convinced that we have found the right individual. During the week since Kevin departed we have been inundated and continue to receive applications every day.
Our club is renowned for consistency and support of managers, few clubs have supported managers as we have. Prior to Kevin Bond we had just four managers in over fifteen years and the next appointment is crucial.
How long will the process take?
I will sit down carefully and talk with each of the shortlisted applicants over the next week or so but if it takes longer to find the right management team then so be it. One thing for sure is that the Echo Newspaper (whilst the relationship is great) will not be choosing Southend’s new manager… the Board of Southend United will be choosing our man!
All candidates will be considered including, potentially, former players. However, let’s be clear the passion we all feel for the success of our club is not the only qualification to manage it.
The players have had a good week’s training and I would suggest probably the best week training since pre-season. The mood in the camp is great and they all know the task ahead… starting tomorrow!
What’s happening with the new stadium?
Whilst it’s a huge week for the club on the field it is equally a huge week for the club off the field.
I have said many times that the club have been working collaboratively with the Council over an extended period and that continues to be the case. Those discussions throughout have been positive and now culminate in a Council Cabinet Meeting, next Tuesday 17th September, that will determine the club’s future.
These are changing times and the club’s financial model to enable a new stadium without debt have necessarily been amended to ensure our objective and vibrant future is achieved. What is planned represents a ‘win win’ for the club, town and its people.
Saturday on the pitch is massive and Tuesday off the pitch is equally so.
Finally, we need everyone’s support tomorrow… you may be grumpy with results, of course we are, but the players respond to you… please don’t desert them when they need you most.
This group will give their all tomorrow and I guarantee my continued commitment to you and the future of our club also.
See you tomorrow!