Summertime and the living isn’t easy
SUMMER is here. For many Southend fans an opportunity to relax, forget about football, watch some cricket and enjoy the feeling of not being depressed at 5pm on a Saturday. However, some supporters find it a little tougher to take their eye off the ball, and for them pre-season is a difficult time. To avoid unnecessary anguish for those who do find it tricky to switch off, we’ve produced this handy guide to what happens during the summer to try and add a little perspective.
UNDERWHELMING PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES
Brown has already begun the groundwork on this one, whispering promises of Malaga away via the Echo. However, this probably won’t happen (or if it does it will be confirmed too late for anyone except the fabulously wealthy to actually go) and we’ll end up with the usual Great Wakering/Canvey/Billericay cycle. Personally I think it’s actually important to play local non-league teams in pre-season, it gives much-needed income to those clubs and allows us to take a sneaky peek at any talented players in their ranks and get in first. Like Isaac Layne. Oh.
UNDERWHELMING FIXTURE RELEASE
The month and a half between one season ending and the next one being mapped out seems so interminable that most fans tend to forget our division is full of unexciting prospects such as Bury, Northampton and Rochdale. So when we inevitably get picked to play one of them on the opening day, it’s a crushing blow to those who have been pinning their hopes on that one in 46 chance that we’d kick off with Charlton away.
PEOPLE WILL MOAN THAT WE HAVEN’T SIGNED ANYONE YET
This tends to happen on a weekly basis on club message boards and social media, from round about late May. Never mind that the only person still at the club and not on a Greek Island is the cleaner (calm down Ron), people will still demand that the overworked and underpaid media manager uploads a gurning photo of an exciting new signing to signal the intent for the season ahead. By the time it gets to late June, the frenzy around the perceived lack of transfer activity grows so intense that the doom and gloom predictions come in and people start demanding changes at the top. Despite the fact a ball is not going to be kicked for another month.
PEOPLE WILL MOAN THAT A LOCAL NON-LEAGUE STARTLET HAS SIGNED FOR SOMEONE ELSE
There is always terrific anguish when a talented non-league star is whipped from under our noses by someone else. Never mind that the management team is almost certainly aware of them and has decided for whatever reason they’re not for us, or we can’t match the financial muscle of the buying side, fans will inevitably claim we should be keeping a closer eye on these local stars. Then in a year’s time and after four first-team starts, they will be released by the club who signed them and end up at Barnet. There are some good players down there, but most of them are down there for a reason.
PEOPLE WILL READ TOO MUCH INTO THE RESULTS OF PRE-SEASON FRIENDLIES
Pre-season matches are about fitness. Nothing else. They are not meaningful matches and results don’t have any bearing on the season ahead. Yet a 1-0 defeat to Canvey, suffered by an XI that have barely started shaving yet, will have the doom-mongers predicting relegation by March. On the flip side, a skanky 2-1 win over someone like Ipswich will have predictions of glory sweeping across message boards. I cannot stress this enough. THESE GAMES MEAN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
PEOPLE WILL CRITICISE BROWN FOR SUMMER MEDIA WORK
Strangely, Phil Brown is fondly regarded by the media who seem to enjoy inviting him on panels to give his “expert” view on playoffs and European Championship games. This will inevitably lead to fans suggesting spending two hours in a television studio means he is missing out on signing several new players, who have almost certainly waited for that specific time window to hold meetings with seven other clubs. Brown of course is a robot who does not require down time after nine months of `12-hour days, seven-day weeks, so his choice to appear on television at a time when everyone else in football is on holiday anyway is of genuine concern to some supporters who feel he should be spending his time more productively. Christ.
SEASON TICKETS DON’T WORK ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE SEASON
Every year. Every year.