While we do like to be beside the seaside (and who doesn’t?), it’s not often the case when we’re up against Southend United; The Shrimpers coming out on top in our first three trips to Roots Hall. An epic 2014-5 League Two playoff battle saw them ultimately get the better of us after extra time and go up to League One. Money issues during the 2019-20 season didn’t help their on-field matters, however; the Shrimpers ending up coming back down to League Two for the 2020-1 campaign.
Southend United: The Facts
Roots Hall Stadium
Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6NQ
You have to go back to 1906 to pick up the start of the Southend United story. The Shrimpers joined Southern League Division Two from the outset, winning the title two years on the spin. It wasn’t ’til the second time of asking, however, that the club won promotion to Division One. The Southern League would give them a home until 1920. At this point, they were one of the founder members of the Football League’s Division Three South. And, from that point onwards, the club has remained ever-present in the Football League.
The club finished third in Div Three South twice (1932 and 1950), which was the highest they’d finish ’til 1991. That’s what their Wikipedia article says, and that’s good enough for us. After Division Three ‘went national’ in 1958, Southend United’s time was spent either in that division or in Division Four. That same Wikipedia article also reveals how things got a bit hairy, financially-speaking, in the 1980s. Amid off-field strains, the club were relegated to Division Four again in 1984; this relegation notable for the fact that Bobby Moore was gaffer.
A good time to be a Sarfend fan was in the early 90s. Two successive promotions (sounds familiar) took them into the second tier for the first time in 1992. The late 90s, however? Not so kind. Two successive drops took ’em back to the fourth tier in 1998. And, yet, the Shrimpers do a rise and fall better than Reggie Perrin. In the mid-noughties, two successive promotions (again) took ’em back to the second tier. And, after one season in the Championship came the fall. That said, it was three years before slipping out the arse end of League One.
And guess who were waiting…
Why do we know Southend United?
Oh yes, a supreme sense of timing brought Southend United into League Two at the same time as our good selves. Our first meeting, however, came nearly 10 years before we were at the same level as the Shrimpers. Boro’ were one of a select few non-league clubs invited to take part in the Football League Trophy before two-up, two-down. Our first-ever game? Southend indoors. The result. It’s not important. Well, since you ask, it was 4-1 to them – and all their fans were in the North Stand because the South Stand was under construction.
How to get to Southend United – Travel Information – Distance: 61 miles
Go south on the A1(M) and pick up the clockwise M25. Of course, you can always reach the M25 via the A10 from Ware or M11 from Harlow if that works better for you. Once on the M25, travel round to Junction 29 and come off for the eastbound A127 towards both Southend and Basildon.
Continue along the A127 for 17.5 miles; taking the third exit at the roundabout for Prince Avenue. This is still the A127. At the next roundabout, the third exit is the one you want – again keeping you on the A127. After nearly 0.5 miles, turn right at Fairfax Drive and left after 460ft for where the ground should be.
No car parking is available at the ground for away fans. But you can use Southend High School For Boys (SS0 0RG). This offers car parking at £5 a pop. Otherwise, it’s possible you’ll find on-street parking behind the away end. If you’re lucky, that is.
Services to: LONDON LIVERPOOL STREET
Prittlewell is the nearest station to the ground; nearer than the main Southend stations at least. At a mere half a mile, it ought to take around 10-15 minutes to do. If Google serves us correct, turn right up Railway Terrace towards East Street.
Turn right onto East Street (there will be a signpost to confirm this). Then, it’s a right turn again onto the A127 Victoria Avenue. Turn left at Fairfax Drive and left again.
Of course, you can always take a trip into the main Southend stations – with services from London Fenchurch Street also an option from the smoke.
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