On June 30th 2020, Sol Campbell announced that he would be stepping away from his position as Southend United manager with immediate effect, with his backroom staff following suit. He cited the financial burden that he would be on the club if he was to carry on his position as manager, so the Shrimpers are now in the market for a new boss to take the reigns as they prepare for the new season in League Two. In the first instalment of the ‘Top 5’ series, we take a look at five managers who should be strongly considered for the vacant position.
- Darren Currie
The current Barnet boss has flown up the betting markets on Thursday afternoon, according to TeamTalk, with the young Englishmen being headhunted by the Essex side after an impressive season in the National League with Barnet. The Bees currently sit in 7th place in the National League, just inside the playoffs so any approach made to the London side will be decided on the outcome of Barnet’s play off push. Currie has built an impressive CV from his time with Barnet over the last two years, and could be someone that Southend look to as a ‘cut-price’ manager who wouldn’t command a large compensation fee if Barnet are unable to chase promotion. We have already seen one manager leave the National League for League Two in the form of Ian Evatt to Bolton, so could Darren Currie be the next manager to jump up a league? It will be the highest league he would have managed at, and it is by no means a certainty that Southend will find themselves back in League One by the end of next season, so a period of stability could be what is needing for the Shrimpers, and Currie could be the man to do just that.
- Kevin Maher
The man dubbed as the favourite for the Southend job, according to TheSackRace, is ex-Southend defender Kevin Maher. The Irish defender is currently the first team coach with fellow League One side Bristol Rovers, having left Southend in the summer of 2019. The Essex-born Irishman is a legend at Roots Hall after making almost 400 appearances for the club and coached the Shrimpers’ development squad before joining Graham Coughlan in the Rovers’ coaching team. Maher does have some first team managerial experience under his belt after he took over as Chelmsford manager in the National League South in 2014. In a move that would surely be seen as a positive in the fans’ eyes having a club legend coming back to the club in their time of need, it would be another case of spending as little as they can on a manager who can offer them some stability and stop them falling even further down the leagues. Kevin Maher – as mentioned previously is the favourite for the job – has welcomed the idea of becoming a manager once again in the last month, admitting that he’d like that opportunity.
- Paul Tisdale
If Southend are looking for a manager with a wealth of knowledge when it comes to League Two, then Paul Tisdale should be at the top of their list. At one time he was the longest reigning manager in the top four leagues, spending 12 years with Exeter City before moving to MK Dons two summers ago. For a man who spent countless years striving to get Exeter out of League Two, and taking them and MK Dons into League One on two occasions, he is currently on the sidelines looking for a new role to take on. He has experience of taking on a newly relegated side and re-invigorating them, with his MK Dons side being automatically promoted after relegation. He may command a larger wage than Currie and Maher, but the club wouldn’t have to worry about compensation fees to pay out. In an interview with Sky Sports in April of 2020, Tisdale revealed that he was biding his time and waiting for the right job, but the calls were not coming in his direction. If Southend are looking to go straight back up next season, then Paul Tisdale is the ideal candidate to get them back to League One.
- Paul Hurst
I shall refrain from any Ipswich Town bias in this one, and despite the failings with us and Scunthorpe, you only have to take a look at the work Paul had done with Shrewsbury and Grimsby to know that he works well on a budget. Hurst himself was actually the favourite for the Southend job in March of 2019, according to Shropshire Star. Hurst led Grimsby back into the football league, and then worked his miracles with Shrewsbury as he dragged them away from the relegation zone in his first season, and then surprised everyone by taking them to the League One Play Off final, only falling at the final hurdle to Rotherham. Hurst knew how to work within a budget, but his tenure with Ipswich was a step to far because he was given some money to work with and he wasn’t used to spending big. He struggled with Scunthorpe from what seemed to be the same reason he was released from Ipswich, with off-the-field issues being the claim by many. If the Southend players can buy in to the philosophy that Paul Hurst can offer, then I know this could be the team that puts both Southend and Hurst back on the map.
- Phil Brown
One of the most successful managers Southend United have had, Phil Brown could be the man to come back into the club and give them that boost of energy needed. Brown spent five years with the Shrimpers between 2013 and 2018, leading them to a promotion into League One. He has Premier League experience with Hull City, and he already has a keen knowledge of the lower leagues of the Football League. Phil Brown may not be the favourite for the job, or the most exciting person that Southend could get at this point in time, but if none of their other candidates work out, don’t be surprised if the club turn their heads back to some old faces like Phil Brown or even Steve Tilson. There wouldn’t be a large fee commanded by Phil in terms of wages, and they wouldn’t have to shell out for any compensation either. A clear outsider for me compared to the other four names mentioned, by you can never say never when it comes to the managerial merry-go-round.
What do you guys think? Is Darren Currie or Kevin Mahor the right man for the job? Can Southend afford the money required for Paul Tisdale and Paul Hurst? Is Phil Brown retuning home? Let me know in the comments below and make sure to follow All Out Football on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.