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11 September 2021

Blues boss Phil Brown couldn’t hide his anger after Southend United were beaten 3-1 by FC Halifax Town at the Shay Stadium this afternoon.

A first-half strike from Jordan Slew put the Shaymen in front before goals after the break from Billy Waters and Niall Maher put the home side on course for the win.

Rhys Murphy did claim a consolation goal late on for Blues, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a first away defeat of the season for Brown’s side.

“We came here with a game plan and within five minutes the gameplan should have resulted in us being 1-0 up,” said the Blues boss following the full-time whistle, referencing Murphy’s chance in just the third minute.   

“A striker that we brought in misses a chance at the back post in the first few minutes and you think if you go a goal up it might have been a different game.

“I’m so disappointed with anybody that has had a glove laid on them and goes down, and that’s what we’re doing. For six games at the end of last season teams were laying gloves on us but we stood up to it.

“The club I left, many clubs laid gloves on us and the character of the club was part of me, my DNA and my character. We haven’t got that strength of character that stands up to that glove being put on us. It cannot go on; it has to stop now.”

Brown suggested that a way to change the character in the dressing room was to bring in what he described as ‘horrible’ players.

But with new signings not being easily accessible the Southend manager continued to implore his current squad to ‘come to the party’ regardless of how the game is panning out.

“The way to stop it is a change of personnel and bringing horrible players in that can do the things that I’m asking them to do. I’ve had list after list in front of everybody at the club regarding that kind of horrible character that I’m talking about.

“Bottom line is we play some pretty football; we play some nice football and you could argue that if we’d have gone 1-0 up it would have made a difference. Yes, people would have come to the party, but I don’t want that kind of character. I want the kind that’ll come to the party regardless and that’s not happening.”

With the visit of Aldershot to come on Tuesday night, the Southend players and staff have an immediate opportunity to right the wrongs from this afternoon’s defeat.

But, again, Brown was insistent that without a change of character his charges may struggle against the Shots under the lights at Roots Hall in midweek, and even went as far as to suggest that some players are surplus to requirements in a frank admission from Brown.

“The next challenge is always the big challenge, and Aldershot are at Roots Hall on Tuesday night. If we haven’t got the strength of character, we’ll struggle in the game.

“We need people with character, and you can question that in me too. My character in my career has been an underdog for the majority of it. I wasn’t blessed with the best footballing ability, but I got 700 games out of it, and that’s what I’ve said to these players.

“Some of them will take it on the chin and take it on board; others will not have a clue what I’m saying. I don’t like saying it about individuals, but there are one or two in there that I need to get rid of.”

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