'Supporter Spotlight' this week features Scott Barber...
It was my great pleasure to catch up with Scott Barber recently to chat with him about his time as a Shrimper.
Scott, 29, from Hullbridge, was taken watch to Southend for the very first time by his dad Peter, for the game v Halifax Town in September 1998 – "A 0-0 draw but I was hooked. Dad and I became regulars at Roots Hall after that (though he still keeps his eye out for West Ham’s results) and are season ticket holders in the West Stand to this day.
"Despite working in the retail trade, where Saturday is obviously the busiest trading day, prior to this season and behind closed doors matches, I hadn’t missed an away game following Southend since Boxing Day 2012 at Dagenham & Redbridge. I don’t know how I’ve managed it really” he laughed.
"I have missed a couple of home matches in that time but not many. By my reckoning, I have visited 81 of the present 92 league grounds and it is certainly an ambition to tick them all off in the future once things eventually get back to normal again”.
One away game that certainly stands out for Scott during his time following Southend was the return journey from Plymouth Argyle in February 2012, when the Travel Zone coach became stuck in the snow on the motorway on the way back from the match, leaving the 51 fans onboard stranded in freezing conditions overnight.
"We were on the coach for over 12 hours. It was fine at first, but we realised we could not run the engine to turn the heaters on as it would drain what fuel we had left. It hit us to how serious a situation it was and how badly it might affect people being stuck for a prolonged period like that. Fortunately, after what seemed like a never-ending night, the next morning the vehicle recovery services finally got to us and winched us out, but it was another three hours back from there to my drop off at Rayleigh Weir. Not only that but my phone was dead, so I wasn’t able to call anyone to pick me up and had an hour’s walk home after that in the snow, ruining a brand-new pair of trainers in the process.
"It was certainly an experience I will never forget. Everyone on the trip was presented with a mug by Travel Zone afterwards - inscribed “Plymouth Survivor” which I still have,” he laughed.
Another moment that could have also had very serious implications whilst following Southend away – this time to Blackpool in 2018, occurred when Scott was driving to the game with his friends Jamie and Sophie.
"We were on the motorway, once again in the middle of winter, when I noticed solid sheet of ice flying off a lorry on the other side of the road heading directly towards our windscreen almost in slow motion. I will never forget the look on Jamie’s face right at that moment and I knew exactly what he was thinking. We were so lucky. The ice hit the screen yet miraculously, bounced off only breaking one of the windscreen wipers. A very lucky escape for sure.”
When asked about his best memories of his time as a Shrimper, Scott replied: “Like so many, I would have to say Wembley 2015. Let’s face it, it wasn’t a great game but the manner of the win and everything about the whole day was just brilliant. Other matches that will always stand out are obviously the Manchester United and Chelsea games, Shaun Goater’s promotion game v Bristol City and Preston North End away with some cracking goals from Kevin Maher and Alan McCormack on the day.”
Disappointments following Southend? “After following the club home and away all season, my dad told me that he had booked a holiday to Spain. Great I thought, then he told me that it clashed with the 2005 Play-Off Final at the Millennium Stadium. To say I was upset to have to miss the game is an understatement. I even refused to get in the car to go to the airport at one point. When we got there, we did find a bar where dad talked the owner into putting the game on the TV for us to see it. It was quite noticeable how people who had previously been watching the other sport that had been on at the time, started to leave when Southend v Lincoln came on however,” he laughed.
"Adam Barrett is my all-time favourite player without a doubt. Such a great bloke and as everyone knows, Southend through and through. Not only that but I was doing a media studies course for college in 2007 and Adam gave up several hours of his time to meet me at Boots & Laces to be interviewed for my course work back then, something I have never forgotten. So sad that his Southend career finished in the way it did though as he certainly deserved better than the way he was treated. Other players I have liked - Freddy, JCR (whose name I used to have on my shirts back then) Damon Searle and Alan McCormack.
"When picking my SUFC All Time Great XI, having given the matter much thought, Paul Sturrock would be my manager. I am a big Phil Brown fan and think he did a great job for Southend, but Paul rebuilt the club in just a couple of weeks prior to the start of the 2010/11 season, signing 21 players (including several who would then go on to be remembered as some of the finest to have ever worn our shirt) and the work he did that season in putting us back together again should never be underestimated.
"My team is as follows –
1. Darryl Flahaven
2. Simon Francis
3. Nathan Jones
4. Kevin Maher
5. Leon Cort
6. Adam Barrett
7. Kevan Hurst
8. Michael Timlin
9. Freddy Eastwood
10. Leon Constantine
11. Mark Gower
A regular contributor to the match programme, there is no doubt at all that Scott is a Shrimper to the core and a true credit to our club in every way. #COYB
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