|Ground Capacity 12,392|
Website Club home page
Arena/Stadium Roots Hall
Chairman Ron Martin
|2015–16 League One, 14th|
Manager Phil Brown
League EFL League One
|Full name Southend United Football Club|
Nickname(s) The Shrimpers, The Seasiders, The Blues
Founded 19 May 1906; 110 years ago (1906-05-19)
Training ground Boots and Laces Training Ground
CEO Steve Kavanagh (3 Oct 2012–)
Southend United Football Club is a professional association football club based in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, England. The team compete in League One, the third tier of English football. Southend are known as "The Shrimpers", a reference to the area's maritime industry included as one of the quarterings on the club badge.
Founded 19 May 1906 in the Blue Boar pub Southend has been a member of the Football League since 1920. The club has spent most of its League career in the English lower divisions, with seven seasons in the League's second tier (Division 2/Championship).
The club is based at Roots Hall Stadium in Prittlewell, with plans to move to a new stadium at Fossetts Farm.
The club has played at five grounds: the original Roots Hall, the Kursaal, the Greyhound Park, the rented Writtle Street (home of Chelmsford City F.C.) and again at Roots Hall.
Roots Hall was the first stadium that the club owned and was built on the site of their original home, albeit at a lower level. The site previous to Southend purchasing it in 1952 had been used as a sand quarry, by the council as a landfill site and by the local gas board (which was convinced to move to Progress Road). It took 10 years to fully complete the building of Roots Hall. The first game was played on 20 August 1955, a 3–1 Division Three (South) victory over Norwich City, but the ground was far from complete. The main East Stand had barely been fitted and ran along only 50 yards of the touchline, whilst only a few steps of terracing encircled the ground, with the North, West and the huge South Bank still largely unconcreted. The North Stand had a single-barrelled roof which ran only the breadth of the penalty area, whilst the West Bank was covered at its rear only by a similar structure.
Although the ground was unfinished, during the inaugural season this was the least of the club's worries, for the pitch at Roots Hall showed the consequences of having been laid on top of thousands of tonnes of compacted rubbish. Drainage was a problem, and the wet winter turned the ground into a quagmire. The pitch was completely re-laid in the summer of 1956 and a proper drainage system, which is still in place, was constructed, whilst the West Bank roof was extended to reach the touchline, creating a unique double-barrelled structure.
The terracing was finally completed soon after, but the colossal task of completely terracing the South Bank, all of its 72 steps, was not completed until 1964. The North Bank roof was extended in the early 1960s, and the East Stand was extended to run the full length of the pitch in 1966. Floodlights were also installed during this period. Roots Hall was designed to hold 35,000 spectators, with over 15,000 on the South Bank alone, but the highest recorded attendance at the ground is 31,090 for an FA Cup third round tie with Liverpool in January 1979.
Until 1988 Roots Hall was still the newest ground in the Football League, but then the ground saw a significant change. United had hit bad times in the mid-1980s and new chairman Vic Jobson sold virtually all of the South Bank for development, leaving just a tiny block of 15 steps. In 1994, seats were installed onto the original terracing whilst a second tier was added, with the upper level giving some of the best views in the country. The West Bank had already become seated in 1992 upon United's elevation to Division Two whilst the East Stand paddock also received a new seating deck, bolted and elevated from the terracing below. In 1995 the West Stand roof was extended to meet up with the North and South Stands, with seating installed in each corner, thus giving the Roots Hall we see today, with a capacity of just under 12,500.
On 24 January 2007, Southend Borough Council unanimously agreed to give planning permission for a new 22,000-seater stadium at the proposed Fossetts Farm site, with Rochford District Council following suit 24 hours later. The application was subsequently submitted to Ruth Kelly, then Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, for government approval. However, the application was "called in" at the beginning of April 2007. The inquiry began in September 2007, followed in October 2007 by a "final" inquiry, when chairman Ron Martin called for supporters to show in numbers at Southend's local government headquarters. On 6 March 2008, permission to develop Fossetts Farm was given by the government.
The club has a fierce local rivalry with fellow Essex side Colchester United. The two clubs were promoted from League One at the end of the 2005–06 season after a long battle for top spot was eventually won by Southend. The rivalry extends back many years. At the end of the 1989–90 season Southend's promotion from the Football League Fourth Division coincided with Colchester's fall from the Football League and the clubs had to wait almost 15 years before meeting once again in competition when they met in the Southern Final of the Football League Trophy; the Shrimpers won 4–3 on aggregate to secure their first ever appearance in a national cup final. The two clubs met again in an Essex derby match in the same competition the following season, with Southend emerging as the victors once more after a penalty shootout. The overall competitive head to head record for the rivalry stands at 30 wins to Southend, 25 wins for Colchester with 17 draws. The last meeting between Southend and Colchester came in January 2016, Southend played Colchester at Roots Hall in a League One match. Southend won the game 3–0.
There is also a rivalry between Southend and Leyton Orient. This is due to a period of time when the Essex club were Orient's geographically closest league rivals between 1998 and 2005. Although the games between the two teams are eagerly anticipated by both sets of fans and Southend are considered as Orient's main rivals, the Shrimpers would see the London club as secondary rivals behind Colchester United due to geographical and historical reasons.
The Shrimpers beat the O's in the 2012/13 Johnstone's Paint Southern Area Final to book a place at Wembley in the final against Crewe Alexandra. Southend won 1–0 at Brisbane Road in the first leg of the area final and drew 2–2 at Roots Hall in the second leg, winning 3–2 on aggregate, despite being in a lower division than Orient at the time.
Current squadAs of 27 January 2017
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.