Southend United Football Club are delighted to confirm that James Dunne has become our first signing of the summer after the midfielder agreed a two-year deal with Blues.
Dunne joins following the expiry of his contract at Barnet where he has spent the past two seasons.
The 31-year-old came through the ranks at Wimbledon and then Arsenal’s Academy, and he’s since gone on to make 450 career appearances.
His senior professional debut came for Exeter City in 2009 and in three seasons Dunne played 127 games for the Grecians in League One.
He moved to Stevenage in 2012 and won their player of the year in his first season at the club, before joining Scottish Premiership side St Johnstone on loan in his second season.
Spells at Portsmouth, Dagenham & Redbridge, Cambridge United and Swindon Town in League Two followed before his signed for the Bees in 2019.
Speaking to southendunited.co.uk, Dunne said: “I’m buzzing to sign for a big club like Southend and to work with the gaffer again, so I’m buzzing to get it done. Lovely stadium, lovely facilities so I can’t wait to get started.
“Obviously I’ve worked with the gaffer before at Swindon and I know what he’s like, I enjoyed my time playing under him and where the club wants to go all sold it for me.
“As soon as I heard there was interest I was buzzing to meet up with the gaffer and have a chat. When I spoke to him last Monday he told me his plans and I couldn’t wait to get it done.
“With a club the size of Southend that was in League One touching the Championship not long ago we have to be aiming for promotion. What has happened since has not been nice, but hopefully we can get the club on the up again and promotion has to be the target this season.”
Describing the sort of player he is, Dunne said: “I’m a front foot player, workman-like. I’m not going to set fireworks off but I’m a hard worker, I like to get on the ball and pass it.”
When asked what it was that attracted him to work with Dunne again, manager Phil Brown said: “His all-round attitude and his all-round desire to win. I think he’s got that built in him.
“I worked very well with him at Swindon, even though it was only a short spell. He’s a bubbly character, he will get the changing room going even in them moments when we’re doubting each other, he will keep it going.
“He believes in the project. He said it was a no brainer working with me again which I like the sound of. But it’s the attitude of the lad that I really liked.
“Them moments when you face despair or defeat or you don’t think there’s a way around it, Jimmy provides a platform for us to build on.
Brown added: “He’s got energy. What we didn’t have last year was enough energy or legs, enough players that would break through the 11 or 12 kilometre barrier. The fitness regime that we’re going to put in place, I’m hoping that we’re going to be able to run over teams.
“We need to be fitter than the opposition, we need to be stronger than the opposition and we need to be better than the opposition, and not necessarily in that order. If we tick all them boxes before the games them I’ll be delighted and hopefully the results will follow.”
Dunne will officially become a Blues player from 1st July.