Former striker Stan Collymore lands a shock new role with Southend United as the head of football operations as part of a number of changes.
Collymore spent a season at the Shrimpers in the 90s, scoring 18 goals in 33 appearances for the Shrimpers to become a firm favourite with supporters.
He went on to enjoy spells with Nottingham Forest, Liverpool and Aston Villa, the club he supports, and represented England on three occasions.
Since retiring Collymore has remained in football as a pundit with various broadcasters, but he’s now taken the step of joining the troubled National League side.
Tweeting last night, Collymore said: “Tomorrow I’ll re-join the club that believed in me when others didn’t, that felt like a family rather than an industry and sent coach loads of supporters to my England debut despite having moved on.
“‘If nobody believes you can, then you have to’. And I will.”
Tomorrow I’ll rejoin the club that believed in me when others didn’t, that felt like a family rather than an industry and sent coach loads of supporters to my England debut despite having moved on.
“If nobody believes you can, then you have to ”
And I will. 🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/l5stP5tH6W
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) October 21, 2021
Southend United are languishing in 20th position of the non league pyramid’s top tier after two wins from their opening 10 games this season.
Collymore has been working alongside Southend’s hierarchy of chairman Ron Martin and CEO Tom Lawrence in recent weeks and the club is now set to make his involvement official.
The 50-year-old, who spent three years at Villa Park as a player, is said to have played a key role in Southend’s appointment of new manager Kevin Maher.
Kevin Maher says he will take the fear away from the players to allow them to express themselves.
“I just want to take the fear away from them,” said Maher, ahead of the game against Dagenham this weekend.
“I know they’ve had a tough time recently and results haven’t been great but I want them to go on the pitch and enjoy their football and get a smile on their face.
“If we can encourage them to express themselves in the right areas hopefully we can get some positive results.”
Maher, a two-time promotion winner who made over 450 appearances for Blues as a player, returns to the club and signs a contract until the end of the 2023/24 season following a rigorous interview process.
Joining him is former Barnet manager Darren Currie as Assistant Head Coach and Mark Bentley, Maher’s former Blues teammate, as First Team Coach.
With just two days to work with the players, Maher was asked how much he will be able to get across to his players in a short space of time before the weekend.
“There’s principles we want [to implement], with and without the ball.
“Depending on the game and the opponents, there will be some principles that we always want that will be a constant throughout our time here.
“We’re still managing one or two that aren’t on the grass yet, so to get too much detail [into the players] – we’ve done a little bit – but there’s still a long way to go.
“We’re getting to know people, seeing what their strengths and weaknesses are and then we’ll judge that as we go.”
— Southend United (@SUFCRootsHall) October 21, 2021
Confidence will be helped by the win against Chertsey Town in the FA Cup last weekend.
Maher added: “Last week was good and everything I’ve seen about the players they look like a real good group. Good honest players that want to do well for the football club.
“They’re suffering at the minute but last week will help that. It’s going to take time to build what we want in terms of shape, formations etc. If we can give them platforms and the structure we want then hopefully we will be able to do that.”
Darryl McMahon’s side come into the game in sixth place but with three defeats in their last three National League games.
“They’ve been watched. We know a bit about them already, myself Darren and Mark, so we will have a rough idea of what they will do.
“They’re a good side, a solid outfit and I know Darryl well so they will be well up for this.
“It will be a good game for us, being a derby, we’ll bring a lot of fans so that will encourage the players as well.
“We’ll take away the fear and hopefully the players can go and express themselves.”
Fans reacted as Stan Collymore lands shock new role with Southend United…
Got to love the 13.53 into the clip the gent in a towel walks in and the lovely young lady moves the camera out of view. Priceless. I must say though in all seriousness thanks for uploading so I could watch the start that I missed. Good work SOS
— ian oliver (@FcToro05) October 21, 2021
@nat_jenks: Thoroughly deserved Stan, absolute breathe of fresh air listening to you tonight. And for once and in a very long time feeling very positive about our club moving in the right direction thanks to your involvement and actions taken 👍🏻 up the shrimpers 💙
@HaywoodAlan: The king and the Messiah come home in the same week. Unbelievable. Welcome home Stanley. Let’s get us back to where we should be. I’m Southend till I die
@Chairman_KOTP: This photo reminds me of such halcyon days. I can’t think of a better photo … I was 20 then and never more alive than watching Collymore terrorise everyone in those six months. There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Bring on Saturday.
@M_dubzz: I don’t support the club but worked at the ‘worst’ school in southend for 10 years and loved it. One of my best friends is season ticket holder. I follow results and still part of Essex Schools FA. Give them hope. Tell the truth. Be open. Good luck from a very lucky Argyle fan.
@SouthendSimply: Every shrimper adores you Stan
@andyclose6: Watched you from the terraces the first time round and absolutely delighted you are back with the same passion 👍
@HobdayLewis: First time I have properly felt excited about Southend in a long time. Thanks so much for the impact you have had so far and cannot wait to see what the future holds now. The shrimpers are 100% behind you. Up the blues!
@FcToro05: Hope all goes well tomorrow and that the role is as advertised. I will be drafting a mail to hopefully highlight areas of the club that need support or improvement. This can only help boost the professionalism of the club and a better image. Thanks for all your input
@Callum63787699: Thankyou Stan for everything you have done for us and like this meeting tonight you answered every question so we’ll and your a breath of fresh air for our club onwards and upwards 💪🏼💙
@daleyjones1: Good luck Stan. I hope your passion for the game is infectious. Its sad seeing the position Southend find themselves in.
@Telv1s: Do I agree with all you say? No! Have you got a past? Haven’t we all! Are you doing something that so many could of but haven’t? Absofuckinglutely! Good luck Stanley! As an Essex boy we need Southend and thank you for stepping up
@trevor_tricky: Thank you Stan for all you have done so far for SUFC and good luck in the new role. After watching for over 50 years at Roots Hall this seems like a new beginning.
@CSBLUE2: Best of luck mate. Your continued support for Southend, given the short time you spent here and what you subsequently went on to achieve is hugely humbling and a marker of you as a man. Top bloke.
@Stevebkr: Unbelievable last 24 hours – dream team is complete now. Massively deserved
@Kevin_H84: Good luck Stan, really hope it works out for both parties
@kevinpatrick70: Good luck Stan always admire your passion for the beautiful game hopefully see Southend back in the EFL asap.
@lukemayes8: Thanks for everything you’ve done Stan, you’ve gone above and beyond anything I could have ever wished for, you’ve restored my faith in the club and I now want this seasons jersey 😂 We owe you! #InStanWeTrust
@archefluxx: Thank you for your efforts, and the change you have instigated. Too soon to know if they are beneficial, but they make sense and it fills fans with confidence. A role at the club is fitting reward, and the staff list suddenly looks formidable. Good luck tomorrow
@AliceeeRoss: For the first time in 3/4 years I actually have a little bit of hope that my football club is going to be okay
@Dylan42678410: Oooh baby do you know what it worth Stan collymores the best on earth. The amazing striker is just what we need at this club. He will bring Southend back to the glory days
@Callum63787699: Thankyou Stan for everything you have done for us all. You have been a breath of fresh air with everything you have done in these last few months we really do appreciate it . And you gave us big hope when we thought we had none . Welcome home legend @StanCollymore 💪🏼💙
@BNEShrimper: What’s this feeling? It’s weird. It’s the opposite of how I’ve been feeling about my club for a long time…is, is it…optimism? Thanks @StanCollymore
@NoNamePS: Thank you so much. It literally feels like you have saved my club when all hope was lost. There’s a long way to go. But this is a huge step.
@_JamesWood_: ‘Thank you Stan’ probably doesn’t cut it but thank you, for bringing some positivity, structure and optimism back to this great club. Looking forward to the journey.
@manlyspenny: The week that just keeps getting better and better. To build a great club culture it needs leaders that have lived it. Stan was only there a short time but it obviously had such a positive impact on him. Welcome home @StanCollymore