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Club News


11 June 2021

Work is ongoing to strengthen the squad ahead of the 2021/22 season and four new recruits have already completed their move to Southend United.

James Dunne’s arrival on Friday 4th June was followed this week with three more signings through the door at Roots Hall, all sealed and crucially in place ready for pre-season next month.

Centre-back Josh Coulson and midfielder Jack Bridge were confirmed on Wednesday, and then after much speculation surrounding a move striker Rhys Murphy’s transfer was officially announced on Thursday morning.

It’s been a busy seven days of transfer activity, which Blues boss Phil Brown said has sent out a message to the fans that “we mean business”.

Here we round-up the business so far.

James Dunne

31-year-old midfielder came through the ranks at Wimbledon and then Arsenal’s Academy, and he’s since gone on to make 450 career appearances.

Most recently he played 23 games for Barnet in the National League last season.

Phil Brown said the former Portsmouth and Swindon man’s attitude, desire and energy is to be admired and was a reason for bringing him to the club.

Dunne himself said he’s looking forward to working with Brown again, having done so at the Robins.

Josh Coulson

Experienced defender Coulson put pen to paper on his contract earlier this week.

The former Cambridge and Leyton Orient stalwart has won promotion from the National League twice, via the play-offs with the U’s and as a champion with the late Justin Edinburgh at The Breyer Group Stadium.

The former Blues left-back was a big influence for Coulson when they worked together at Orient and Blues’ new signing proudly sported the JE3 Foundation pin-badge in recognition and remembrance for Edinburgh when he arrived for pictures and media duty upon signing.

During Orient’s promotion winning season Coulson featured 42 times and scored seven goals, showing just how important Coulson was that campaign.

Blues boss Brown said he was impressed with Coulson’s character when the two met and added he brings the option of playing three at the back if needed.

Jack Bridge

The 25-year-old jumped at the chance to re-join Blues this summer.

An impressive second half of the season at Bromley, where the midfielder played regularly in their run to the play-offs, reignited the interest from Blues which existed last summer.

Bridge said he’s coming back a much-improved player, and Brown concurred with that.

"For sure he is returning a different player. He went away and got his experience and game time under his belt,” Brown said.

It was also Bridge’s energy levels, ability in tight spaces and versatility that made Brown want to bring him back Roots Hall ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Rhys Murphy

The move had been a bit of an open secret for some weeks leading up to the official confirmation.

Finally, Rhys Murphy became a Southend United player this week to take Blues’ transfer business to four signings so far.

In two seasons in south Somerset, Murphy netted 33 times in 64 games and that’s the sort of quality Brown is hoping the 30-year-old will add next season.

From the manager

Here's what Phil Brown said of the moves that have been made official:

"It’s sending a message out to the rest of the league, but also our supporters that I think we mean business.

"We’re putting a team together that is going to compete at all levels and hopefully, because we can have a full pre-season under our belt, we can start off in a confident way.

"I’ve got to thank the Chairman for that. I’ve always wanted it and always asked him for it. It’s not always been possible.

"This time he’s allowing us to do it and it’s maybe because we’ve now got a Chief Executive and a Director of Football and hopefully all guns blazing on the recruitment front.

"As far as I’m concerned, ticking the boxes in the background is sometimes bigger and better than ticking the boxes in the foreground. And what I mean by that is the announcement of players is just the icing of the cake, the pinnacle of it."

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