By Brian Jeeves
SOUTHEND United manager, Phil Brown, spoke about his frustrations in assembling a squad and the start his side endured prior to establishing themselves as genuine Sky Bet League One play-off contenders.
The Blues chief was unable to gather and prepare the squad he would have liked during the summer, leading to a disastrous start to the campaign that saw Southend appear certainties for relegation. Nevertheless, speaking to Yellow Sport, Brown pointed out some of the difficulties that had hindered the club’s progress during the early weeks of the campaign: “It’s a good question, but sometimes finances dictate the transfer window and the way it evolves, he said. “I have to admit that I got it wrong. I think there are a lot of managers that won’t say it, but I’m telling you they did. They got it wrong.
“We thought that the big boys would release players but they didn’t. Some of the big clubs teams had five or six players in every position available to them, but they weren’t even letting the sixth one go out. A player that perhaps would have been good enough to come in.”
Brown spoke about the efforts the club had gone to in order to turn their fortunes around, adding: “I’m probably; going too much in depth as regards to the explanation, but they play a part in who you bring in and when you bring them in. Up until the season started I didn’t have Anton Ferdinand, and he has been a massive signing. I was probably battling with four other clubs for Simon Cox’ signature for maybe six weeks. That was hard work, really hard work with phone calls every day, talking to agents and other people. It was a difficult time.
“Marc-Antoine Fortune came in while Anthony Wordsworth was injured pre-season with a problem that overlapped from last season. These are big players for us. Probably half the team I’ve mentioned there that are now playing football on a regular basis.”
And the Blues chief hoped that football’s governing body would alter a transfer system that he believed is hindering the smaller clubs as well as the careers of some of the games up and coming talent who might be able to make a name for themselves in the lower divisions: “It’s the nature of the game. I hope to hell that in the summer there is a change in the transfer ruling. I hope that the FA are looking at it and saying that they have created an absolute monster. It isn’t helping the under 23 player who are with the big boys, it isn’t helping young players careers. They are lost to the game because of the rules.”
Brown continued: “I was talking to Dave Robertson at Sligo Rovers. He’s got a kid from Liverpool’s under 21’s who had dropped down seven or eight divisions below into non-league football try and rekindle his career.
“He’s almost been left on the shelf by Liverpool. I’m not saying Liverpool have got it wrong, I’m saying football has got it wrong. Dave has actually rekindled his career. He had lost his way and fallen out with football. There are lots of players like that. Footballer’s that haven’t had half a chance at this level.”
Of course, Southend have turned their season around, mounting an incredible run that has seen them lose just twice in nineteen Sky Bet League One outings, However, the former Hull City boss was still keen to use the loan market and offer talented players an opportunity: “In my head, I’m desperate to give Luke Amos a chance, he continued. “I was desperate to get Adam King in. These boys will have a career somewhere along the line. But if you don’t give them a chance, 21’s and 23’s football is not the answer. I’m not sure the Checkatrade Trophy is the answer either, but I’m absolutely convinced that the current transfer window is not the answer at all.”