Stick a fork in I’m done with 2017/18

Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2017/18 campaign.

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Total Matches Attended: 258

New Grounds Visited: 185

Total Goals Scored: 984 (Average of 3.81 goals per game, down on 3.91 last season, seven 0-0 draws this season)

Biggest Win: Southampton 12 QK Southampton 0

Biggest Crowd: 42,679 Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL

Games Abroad: 43 (Serbia 14, Romania 9, Slovakia 4, Belgium 3. Cyprus 3, Latvia 3, Austria 2, Isle of Man 2, Liechtenstein 1, Lithuania 1, Northern Cyprus 1).

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2017/18

1.   FORT WILLIAM – Claggan Park

One of the most beautifully scenic grounds in the world let alone the UK. Set in front of Càrn Dearg, one of the foothills of Ben Nevis, the thought of this ground closing for football sent many scurrying up to the Highlands this season. Fortunately the club live to fight another campaign at this wondrous place.

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2.   GREENOCK MORTON – Cappielow

Classic grandstand and terracing, iconic floodlights and maritime cranes. One of the UK’s finest surviving old school football stadiums.

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3.  TON PENTRE – Ynys Park

Steeped in a century’s worth of history. Boasting a superb example of covered terracing, even with no one it, Ynys Park is the type of place that just crackles with atmosphere.

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4.  JK SILVERTOWN – Lyle Park

A fine ground hidden away by East London industry. Nearly 100 years old and what a rich story that lies within.

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5. BRECON CORINTHIANS – The Rich Field

Lovely little ground in a fantastic town, one of those sort of places you wouldn’t mind moving to and following the Corries.

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2017/18

1. AS TRENČÍN  – Stadion na Sihoti

Despite undergoing a rebuild the floodlights and medieval castle backdrop at this stadium are stuff of dreams.

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2. FC TRIESENBERG – Sportplatz Leitawies

I had always known this was a beautiful setting but it truly defies description

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3. CSM SCOLAR RESITA – Stadion Mircea Chivu

Hewn rather than built into a valley, this is a magical ground. You will not be disappointed.

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4. FC POJORÂTA – Stadion Pojorâta

Like watching football on a fantasy movie set, just stunning.

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5. RSD JETTE – Stade Communal de Jette

Crumbling terracing in a decreasing curve from start to end. Really unusual and yet another on the never ending list of sublime Belgian football grounds.

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BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2017/18

(based on status, resources, effort and originality)

1.   BOSHAM

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2.   HORNSEY & HIGHGATE

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3.   OSSETT ALBION

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4.   CANVEY ISLAND

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5.   BARRY TOWN UNITED

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A special mention for the tournament programme for the CONIFA World Football Cup held in London. Superbly produced and very informative.

BEST FOOD IN 2017/18

1. AYA NAPA – Koupes

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2. BISHOPS LYDEARD – Thai Curry

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3. SUTTON UNITED – Fish Finger Roll

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Stick a fork in I’m done with 2015/16

Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2015/16 campaign.

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Total Matches Attended: 244

New Grounds Visited: 200

Total Goals Scored: 885 (Average of 3.63 goals per game, up on 3.45 last season, though still eight 0-0 draws this season!)

Biggest Win: KFC Uerdingen 12 TSV Bockum 0

Biggest Crowd: 46,781 Combined attendance for Non League Finals Day (Wembley Stadium)

Games Abroad: 50 (Belgium 9, Sweden 9, Germany 7, Serbia 7, Romania 5, Malta 4, Estonia 2, Netherlands 2, Spain 2, Italy 1, Finland 1, France 1)

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2015/16

1. AYR UNITED – Somerset Park

A visit to Somerset Park is a 90 minute wallow in the way things used to be. An utterly brilliant ground.

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2. BARROW – Holker Street

Finally managed to get to Holker Street after several previous attempts failed due to poor weather. Great ground that has retained character along with modernisation.

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3. MERTHYR TOWN – Penydarren Park

A weather enforced revisit but a timely reminder of this majestically ageing leviathan, not a minute too soon as bulldozers loom over the old main stand like vultures over roadkill.

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4. BILSTON TOWN – Queen Street

A very well maintained big ground at odds with the declining fortunes of the team. One of the many great grounds of the Black Country.

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5. WENDRON UNITED – The Underlane

Not often a ground in the UK catches me by surprise but this one did. Such a welcome panacea to see something different to the usual kit made stands favoured by so many progressive clubs. Built on an audacious scale for the the level club not to mention with sustainable energy incorporated into the construction. Magnificent!

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2015/16

1. RFC TILLEUR – Stade du Bureaufosse

Massive weed strewn terrace, big pitched roof main stand, sizeable covered terrace. A truly magical place.

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2. KFC BERINGEN – Mijnstadion

Tenant free for a number of years the chance to this fantastic stadium for a reunion match was too good to resist.

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3. RAYO VALLECANO – Campo de Vallecas

Hemmed in among the urban sprawl of the Vallecas, working class, passionate and resonant. An absolute must do venue.

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4. RRC BOITSFORT- Stade des Trois Tilleuls

Built on a preposterous scale, huge sweeping terraces immaculately crafted. A quite wonderful arena.

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5. KFC UERDINGEN – Grotenburg Stadion

Built on a vast scale before the club collapsed financially, the Grotenburg is big on concrete and floodlights.

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BEST ATMOSPHERE 2015/16

Olympique Lyonnias v Angers SCO

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MOST UNUSUAL GROUND VISITED 2015/16

Fratia Bucharest, home to the lost and lonely, seemingly bonded by uncommon blood. An utterly unique and life affirming experience.

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BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2015/16

(Criteria being status, resources, content, effort and value)

1. Whitehill Welfare

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2. AFC St Austell

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3. Elstow Abbey

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4. Airbus UK

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5. Barrow

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BEST FOOD IN 2015/16

1. Sporting Khalsa – Chicken tikka wrap

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2. Brackley Town-  Sausage baguette
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=3. GoIF Kåre – Reindeer kebab


=3.Coventry Sphinx – Pasta and chips

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Ten Aways

A random selection of 10 Southend United away programmes for no reason other that they are aesthetically pleasing or redolent of a by-gone era.

 Crystal Palace (a) 38-39

November 5th 1938

Crystal Palace 4 Southend United 3 (Trainer,Bell pen,Oswald)

Team: Ted Hankey, Jimmy Nelson, Dave Robinson, Arthur Harris, Charlie Jones, Bob Jackson, Len Bolan, Alf Smirk, Jack Trainer, Sid Bell and Robert Oswald.

Everton (a) 46-47

January 11th 1947

Everton 4 Southend United 2 (Thompson,Bennett)

Team: Ted Hankey, Tommy Linton, Frank Walton, Arthur Harris, Bob Jackson, Stan Montgomery, Joe Sibley, Alf Smirk, Cyril Thompson, Ken Bennett and Harry Lane.

Bournemouth (A) 47-48

Deceember 27th 1947

Bournemouth & Boscombe Athletic 0 Southend United 1 (Dudley)

Team: Paddy Nash, Doug Beach, Tommy Linton, George Goodyear, Frank Sheard, Stan Montgomery, Harvey Pritchard, Frank Dudley, Cyril Thompson, Ken Bennett and Harry Lane.

fOREST (A0 50-51

April 28th 1951

Nottingham Forest 3 Southend United 0

Team: Tommy Scannell, Joe Loughran, Sandy Anderson, Jack French, Frank Sheard, Jimmy Lawler, Joe Sibley, Jimmy McAlinden, Cyril Grant, Les Stubbs and Tommy Tippett.

Walsall (a) 53-54

April 19th 1954

Walsall 2 Southend United 0

Team: Harry Threadgold, Doug Young, Sandy Anderson, Jim Duthie, Jimmy Stirling, Frank Burns, Joe Sibley, Cyril Thompson, Roy Hollis, Ken Bainbridge and Jack McDonald.

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November 16th 1957

Trowbridge Town 0 Southend United 2 (Hollis 2)

Team: Harry Threadgold, Arthur Williamson, Sandy Anderson, Lou Costello, Jimmy Stirling, Ray Smith, Errol Crossan, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Kevin Baron and John McGuigan.

Liverpool (a) 57-58

January 4th 1958

Liverpool 1 Southend United 1 (McGuigan)

Team: Harry Threadgold, Arthur Williamson, Sandy Anderson, Jim Duthie, Jimmy Stirling, Ray Smith, Errol Crossan, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Kevin Baron and John McGuigan.

Shrews (a) 57-58

Normally Shrewsbury programmes were blue, but they changed this one in support of the Manchester United Munich Air Crash Disaster Fund.

March 15th 1957

Shrewsbury Town 1 Southend United 1 (Hollis)

Team: Harry Threadgold, Arthur Williamson, Sandy Anderson, Willie Morrison, Jimmy Stirling, Ray Smith, Duggie Price, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Kevin Baron and John McGuigan.

Accrington (a) 58-59   

October 17th 1958

Accrington Stanley 3 Southend United 0

Team: Brian Ronson, Arthur Williamson, Sandy Anderson, Willie Morrison, Lou Costello, John Duffy, Duggie Price, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Jimmy Thomson and Bill Punton.

Soton (a) 58-59

March 14th 1959

Southampton 3 Southend United 2 (Houghton,Stenhouse)

Team: Brian Ronson, Arthur Williamson, John Duffy, Willie Morrison, Alan Dicks, Lou Costello, Alec Stenhouse, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Bud Houghton and Bill Punton.

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March 14th 1962

Bradford Park Avenue 4 Southend United 0

Team: Harry Threadgold, Jimmy Shiels, Sandy Anderson, Tony Bentley, Peter Watson, Norman Lee, Peter Corthine, Ray Smith, Ken Jones, John McKinven and Bobby Kellard.

Friendly Fire

A look at ten Southend United friendly programmes for no other reason except they are a bit unusual.

May 4th 1970

Southend United (0)0 AC Fiorentina (1)1

The Blues welcomed the reigning Italian champions to Roots Hall at the end of the 1969/70 season. A healthy crowd of 8,679 saw Giorgio Mariani score the only goal of the game to give the visitors a victory.

Team: Brian Lloyd; Keith Lindsey; Owen Simpson; Phil Chisnall; Dave Barnett; Micky Beesley; Peter Hunt (sub Peter Taylor); Billy Best; Bill Garner; Gary Moore and Dave Chambers (sub Pack).

August 10th 1970

Southend United (1)5 Accra Hearts of Oak SC (1)1

Three months later the Blues welcomed Hearts of Oak to Roots Hall. The programme features Stanley Matthews on the cover as he had been coaching in the West African country. A crowd of 3,193 watch Blues run riot in the second half with goals from Phil Chisnall (2), Billy Best, Bill Garner and Peter Hunt.

Team: Brian Lloyd (sub Steel); Keith Lindsey; Owen Simpson; Phil Chisnall; Alex Smith; Kevin Fallon (sub Dave Barnett); Ian Cowan; Billy Best; Bill Garner; Tony Bentley (sub Peter Hunt) and Dave Chambers.

August 5th 1971

Shinnik Yarosavl (1)1 Southend United (0)0

A bit of an oddity this one as the last game of the Blues tour to Russia produced two programmes, both 4 page issues but with different covers. A decent crowd of 12,000 watched this match.

Team: John Roberts; Keith Lindsey; Alex Smith; Dave Elliott; Brian Albeson; Joe Jacques; Terry Johnson (sub Peter Taylor); Billy Best; Bill Garner; George Duck and Ray Ternent.

 

November 6th 1972

Southend United (1) 1 Zenit Leningrad (1)1

Blues’ tour to Russia the previous year had been so successful a promised visit from a top Russian side occured when Zenit Leningrad came to Roots Hall. A crowd of 3,988 saw a tight encounter with Bobby Bennett netting for the Shrimpers. Luton Town’s Robin Wainwright guested for Southend.

Team: Derek Bellotti; Dennis Booth; Ray Ternent; Dave Elliott; Brian Albeson; Mike Harrison; Terry Johnson; Billy Best; Bobby Bennett; Robin Wainwright and Peter Taylor (sub Gary Moore).

August 9th 1974

Southend United (3)7 Bonner Sport Club (0)0

Southend welcomed West German side Bonner to Roots Hall in the build up to the 1974/75 campaign. The visitors were a modest club and only 1,686 watched the Blues rattle in seven goals without reply. Finding the net for Southend were Chris Guthrie (2), Dave Cunningham, Steve Lamb, Terry Johnson, Neil Townsend and a Dave Elliott penalty.

Team: Malcolm Webster; Steve Dyer; Dave Worthington; Dave Elliott; Neil Townsend; Alan Moody; Stuart Brace (sub Steve Lamb); Andy Ford (sub Terry Johnson); Chris Guthrie; Dave Cunningham and Alistair Love (sub Willie Coulson).

August 4th 1975

Hamilton Academicals (0)0 Southend United (1)1

Tours to Scotland in the mid Seventies were very popular and Southend were no exception, this pre-season jaunt also taking in games at Forfar Athletic, East Stirlingshire and Raith Rovers. A crowd of 650 saw a Stuart Parker goal separate the sides at the old Douglas Park ground.

Team: Malcolm Webster; Dave Worthington; Tony Taylor; Terry Nicholl; Neil Townsend; Alan Moody; Ronnie Pountney; Stuart Brace; Stuart Parker; Willie Coulson and Dave Cunningham (sub Andy Ford).

August 12th 1983

Southend United (0)0 Japan International XI (0)1

Visitors from the Far East for this unusual pre-season game. Southend battled well against Japan but went down 1-0 to a 51st minute goal from Masafumi Yokoyama.

Team: Mervyn Cawston; Micky Stead; Steve Collins; Paul Clark; Steve Yates; Ronnie Pountney; Glen Skivington; Glenn Pennyfather; Greig Shepherd; Steve Phillips and Roy McDonough. Subs: Warren May; John Keeley; Mick Angus; Danny Greaves and Adrian Owers.

August 3rd 1988

Pollok (2)2 Southend United (2)3

Southend had a short tour of Scotland in the pre-season on 1988/89 which also took in a return visit to Hamilton Academicals. The first match was against junior side Pollok who played, and still do, at the excellent Newlandsfield Park in Glasgow. A respectable crowd of 1,200 watched a tight encounter with Southend’s goals coming from David Crown and a brace from Dave Matthews.

Team: Paul Sansome (sub Eric Steele); Danny O’Shea; Peter Johnson (sub Justin Edinburgh); Russell Short; Dave Martin; Paul Brush (sub Paul Clark); Derek Hall (sub Nicky Thurston); Peter Butler; David Crown (sub Dave Matthews); Richard Young and Martin Robinson.

June 30th 2006

Bermuda National XI (1)2 Southend United (0)3

Billed as a welcome home match for Shaun Goater, Southend played the national team of his home county at their National Sports Park. Goater played a half for either side, scoring twice for the Blues along with youngster James Lawson.

Team: Daryl Flahavan; Simon Francis; Che Wilson; Spencer Prior; Adam Barrett; Jamal Campbell-Ryce; Mitchell Cole; Kevin Maher; James Lawson (sub.Shaun Goater); Freddy Eastwood and Franck Moussa.

July 28th 2012

Real Madrid C (1) 3 Southend United (1)1

Played at the Spanish giants Valdedebas training facility Southend took on Real’s third team who compete in the third tier, Segunda B, of the Spanish League. Neil Harris gave the Blues a third minute lead but the hosts eased to a 3-1 win with goals from Ramirez, Mariano (penalty) and Burgui.

Team: Phil Smith; Sean Clohessy (sub Dave Martin); Anthony Straker (sub Luke Prosser); Kane Ferdinand; Ryan Cresswell (sub Graham Coughlan);  Mark Phillips (sub Chris Barker); Kevan Hurst (sub Elliot Benyon); Ryan Leonard; Neil Harris; Gavin Tomlin (sub Freddy Eastwood) and Stephen Brogan (sub Ryan Hall). Sub not used: Daniel Bentley.

1,500 Roots Hall Matches in 10 programmes

To mark the 1,500th game at Roots Hall this weekend against Stockport County in the F.A.Cup, here is a selection of programmes from famous games at Roots Hall

(1)       Southend United 3 Norwich City 1 (August 20th 1955) – A crowd of 17,700 watch the opening game at the new Roots Hall ground. Irish international Sammy McCrory has the honour of scoring the first ever goal at the new stadium.

Blues: Harry Threadgold, Doug Young, Sandy Anderson, Jim Duthie, Dennis Howe, Jimmy Lawler, Dickie Dowsett, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Kevin Baron and John McGuigan.

(2)       Southend United 0 Manchester City 1 (January 28th 1956) – Nearly 30,000 cram into Roots Hall to see the Shrimpers give City a fright on a muddy Roots Hall pitch. Joe Hayes scored the only goal as Bert Trautmann kept Southend at bay. Skipper Roy Paul said “we were lucky, those Southend boys gave everything they had”.

Blues: Harry Threadgold, Arthur Williamson, Dennis Howe, Jim Duthie, Jim Stirling, Jimmy Lawler, Crichton Lockhart, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Kevin Baron and John McGuigan.

 (3)       Southend United 1 Zenit Leningrad 1 (November 6th 1972) – A striking red programme for the visit of guests from the Soviet Union. A Bobby Bennett goal ensured a creditable draw.

Blues: Derek Bellotti, Dennis Booth, Ray Ternent, Dave Elliott, Brian Albeson, Mike Harrison, Terry Johnson, Billy Best, Bobby Bennett, Robin Wainwright (Guest player) and Peter Taylor (sub Gary Moore).

(4) Southend United 0 Liverpool 0 (January 10th 1979) – Already postponed once due to snow, Dave Smith’s boys gave Liverpool, the reigning European Champions, a hell of a fright at Roots Hall in front of an all time record gate of 31,033.

Blues: Mervyn Cawston, Micky Stead, Steve Yates, Micky Laverick, Tony Hadley, Alan Moody, Colin Morris, Ronnie Pountney, Derrick Parker, Phil Dudley and Gerry Fell.

 

(5)       Southend United 0 Rochdale 0 (May 1st 1981) – Southend crowned Fourth Division champions, remaining unbeaten at home all season.

Blues: Mervyn Cawston, Micky Stead, Steve Yates,  Tony Hadley, Alan Moody, Dave Cusack, Terry Gray, Ronnie Pountney, Derek Spence, Garry Nelson and Anton Otulakowski.

(6)       Southend United 1 Northampton Town 3 (January 28th 1986) – A fruitless group game in the Freight Rover Trophy draws the lowest ever crowd to Roots Hall for a first team game, just 683 hardy souls paid to watch this defeat. Frank Lampard scores Southend’s only goal of the game.

Blues: Jim Stannard, Warren May (sub. Micky Engwell), Glenn Pennyfather, Danny O’Shea, Shane Westley, Steve Hatter, Paul Clark (sub.Terry Pryer), Frank Lampard, Richard Cadette, Dean Neal and Roy McDonough.

(7)       Southend United 1 Derby County 0 (September 27th 1987) – A Roy McDonough penalty against England’s Peter Shilton secured Southend’s first ever home win over top flight opponents.

Blues: Eric Steele, Dave Martin, Peter Johnson, Adrian Burrows, Shane Westley, Derek Hall, Martin Robinson, Glenn Pennyfather, Lee Nogan, Roy McDonough and Martin Ling.

(8)       Southend United  1 Bristol City 1 (August 17th 1991) – Our first ever game in the second tier of English football, Ian Benjamin, the man who had secured us promotion at Bury the previous season, appropriately scores our opening goal in the highest level we have played at.

Blues: Paul Sansome, Dean Austin, Chris Powell, Dave Martin, Andy Edwards, Spencer Prior, Andy Ansah, Andy Sussex, Kevin O’Callaghan (sub.Steve Tilson), Ian Benjamin and Brett Angell.

(9)       Southend United 1 Manchester United 0 (November 7th 2006) – A famous Carling Cup upset as Freddy Eastwood’s wondrous free kick sent Fergie’s star studded team, including Rooney and Ronaldo, crashing out of the cup.

Blues: Daryl Flahavan, Lewis Hunt (sub.Simon Francis), Steve Hammell, Efetobore Sodje, Spencer Prior, Mark Gower, Peter Clarke, Kevin Maher, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Freddy Eastwood and Gary Hooper (sub James Lawson).

(10)   Southend United 1 Chelsea 4 (January 14th 2009) – 11,314 watch an FA Cup replay against mighty Chelsea who run out comfortable winners, Adam Barrett scoring for the Blues. The replay came after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge which saw Southend hit the bar in the closing minutes.

Blues: Steve Mildenhall, Osei Sankofa, Johnny Herd, Peter Clarke, Adam Barrett, Junior Stanislas, Franck Moussa, Jean-Francois Christophe, Anthony Grant (sub Simon Francis), Lee Barnard (sub Dougie Freedman) and Alex Revell (sub Kevin Betsy).