It is with great sadness that the club has learned of the passing of one of its truly great servants, Arthur Williamson.
He was signed in May 1955 after spending four seasons with Clyde, and he holds a special place in the Southend United record books which is highly unlikely ever to be beaten.
A sturdy Scot, described in the Southend United handbook of 1961/62 as "a strong tackler; quick in recovery". Arthur made Blues debut at right-back in the 4-1 home victory over Brentford in September 1955, replacing Doug Young.
After a run of seventeen League and two FA Cup appearances, Dennis Howe displaced Arthur for two matches, but on his return to the right-back position on 7th January 1956, in a 3-2 home victory over Lincoln City in the FA Cup, Arthur made the number two jersey his own.
He played the remaining twenty League and two FA Cup matches during the 1955/56 campaign, and then was an ever present for the next four complete seasons. After playing in The Blues famous 0-1 home defeat to Manchester City in the Roots Hall mud in the 1955/56 campaign, Arthur appeared in the 2-1 win over Liverpool and the 1-6 defeat to Birmingham City during the 1956/57 season, in which he opened his scoring account for The Blues with the only goal in a 1-1 draw at Vicarage Road against Watford.
The 1957/58 campaign saw two more matches in the FA Cup against Liverpool for Arthur, and also the arrival of his first milestone, his 100th consecutive match in the blue of Southend. This came on 28th December 1957 away to Queens Park Rangers, the game ending in a 1-1 draw.
However, Arthur appeared to have no intention of breaking his run of consecutive appearances, and the 1958/59 season saw him ever present in the number two jersey again, making 46 League and two FA Cup starts.
During the 1959/60 campaign, Arthur notched up his 200th consecutive appearance, in the 1-3 defeat at The Dell against Southampton, but after eleven appearances in the 1960/61 season, Arthur lost his place to Pat Holton, and the run ended 230 consecutive League and Cup games, his final appearance in the sequence being in the 0-2 home defeat to Swindon Town on 24th September 1960.
On his return to the first team on 10th December 1960, Arthur scored his second and last goal for The Blues in a 1-1 draw at Roots Hall against Grimsby Town, and he missed only two further matches that season.
The 1961/62 campaign proved to be the last for Arthur at Roots Hall, as he was unable to displace Jimmy Shiels from his right-back berth, and he ended up making only eleven League and one FA Cup appearance. Arthur was released by The Blues at the end of the 1961/62 season. He returned to his native Scotland to run his family’s butchery business.
Arthur Williamson passed away peacefully in a care home in Perth on June 26th at the age of 89. Southend United Football Club extends sincere condolences to Arthur’s family at this sad time.