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23 November 2021

John Still revealed the chance to join Southend United was an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

The 71-year-old has been announced as Head of Football at the Club.

And the three-time National League winning manager with Maidstone United, Dagenham & Redbridge and Luton Town told it was an opportunity he had to take.

"I have known Kevin [Maher] and his family since he was about 10 and when he became head coach at Southend we got talking," said Still.

"I’d retired from managing but was doing the recruitment for Dagenham and to be honest with you I was comfortable. I was happy doing what I was doing. Kev spoke about coming in and it was something I felt I had to do.

"This game is a tough game. People think it’s a great job managing a football club, and it is, but it’s a hard job. I’ll be honest, I’m a Dagenham fan but I couldn’t say no to joining the club. I felt it was something I had to do.

"Kev feels that my knowledge and experience will be an asset for him, and I just couldn’t say no.”

As well as being a successful manager in his own right, Still has plenty of experience as director of football and head of football at previous clubs.

He explained how the role will work.

"I’ve managed in the National League for a number of years, League One and League Two so the lower levels of the football pyramid I know very well.

"I’ve won this National League three times, I’ve been to the play-offs a couple of times, won the league above with Dagenham and it’s all knowledge and experience.

"It’s the same with players, if you can find the right people and the right experience then you stand a chance because it’s an up and down game. Experience teaches you to never get too high and never get too low.

"As far as I’m concerned, everything that I know and I believe in will be made available to Kevin, his coaching team and Stan.

"I’ve come in as head of football, but the manager is the head of the football. It’s all around the manager. My job is to give him as much help, information and knowledge as possible, as well as setting up a proper scouting system.

"I don’t know what has gone on before, but I can bring in selected scouts that have worked for me for years that will come and work for Southend. Scouts that have found me some unbelievable players. I hope they will find the same for Kev.”

Still added that work is ongoing in the recruitment process and stressed the importance of finding the right players.

"Players are everywhere and you’ve got to get out and look. You get so much stuff sent on videos and over the screens, and that’s great, but nothing beats getting out and watching games yourself. That’s what we’ll be doing; we will be out and about trying the find the players we want.

"It’s easy to sign players and it’s easy to spend money. The key is to spend money on the right players, and that’s what we have to do.

"Today is a start. You can’t click your fingers and have all the new players you want today, but gradually we will find the right players at the right price.

"Over the coming weeks we will identify people that we think are going to be right for the football club. It’s then up to the head coach to say yes or no.

"It’s really important that people understand that. I’ve come in as head of football but we all work for Kev because he is the one with the final say."

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