The first in our regular match previews, Chris Waller provides some fact, figures and trivia about our upcoming opponents. All of which are definitely true…

Who the hell are Southend?

Southend (or Saaaaaarfend to use the local dialect,) United were formed in 1906 to make living in the armpit of Essex a bit less bleak. These days they mainly exist to give Hammers fans somewhere to go for a tear up when their team are away.

What’s their history? 

Formed 112 years ago in a pub called The Blue Boar (coincidentally a nickname applied to a lot of their fans,) playing in League One probably makes them the most successful pub team in the English pyramid.  They joined the Football League in 1920 and bumbled along in the 3rd tier without ever troubling the top or bottom spots until someone invented the 4th division in 1959 and they decided to give that a go in 1966.

They proceeded to bounce between the 3rd and 4th divisions until 1990 when they achieved the first of 2 successive promotions leading them into what is now the Championship for the first time ever and narrowly missed out on being promoted into the brand new Premier League in 1992/93 with a kit that had Beaver emblazoned on it. They’re single minded in Essex.

Loveable character Barry Fry was appointed manager shortly thereafter and the inevitable rot set in. 3 managers later they managed an impressive 2 relegations in 2 years to end the millennium 5th bottom of the entire league. This period of sustained brilliance saw them sack a manager who successfully sued for wrongful dismissal and release a goalkeeper who was deemed “too small for league football” only to rehire him after his replacement shipped even more goals.

The last few years saw them flirt with the Championship again before reverting to their bread and butter of bouncing between League’s One and Two.

Any silverware?

Aside from the 1981 Fourth Division and League One 2006 titles not much. They have the dubious honour of reaching 3 LDV/JPT/Checkatrade/Your-ad-here Trophy finals without ever winning the damn thing and apparently won something called the Essex Thameside Trophy in 1990 beating the giants of Redbridge Forest in the final.

Who are their rivals?

They regularly contest the Essex Derby with Colchester United to establish who the best team in Essex really are, almost the dictionary definition of a tallest dwarf contest. They also have an unhealthy interest in Leyton Orient for some reason.

What about the current season?

Managed by everyone’s second favourite BAME manager (after Chris Hughton but miles ahead of Paul Ince,) Chris Powell after the ever popular Phil Brown was given time to concentrate on his fake tan a couple of weeks back after a run of losses they’ve got their work cut out to rescue a poor season. A win in their last match against Scunthorpe and 3 players arriving on deadline day suggest they mean to make a go of it.

Player to watch?

Simon Cox is providing their (limited) firepower with 7 goals but it’s Michael Kightly who most Posh fans will keep an eye on. A disappointing return of 4 goals and no assists from our former transfer target may be beginning to change under the new man in charge.

Any Posh connections?

Loads. As you’d imagine as a former manager of theirs our Director of Football has put a fair bit of business their way over the years the most high profile being signing the prolific Britt Assombalonga  from Watford after he’d impressed on loan at Roots Hall and buying the much less prolific Leon Constantine from them.

What’s their nickname?

The Shrimpers. Yes really. I suspect a lot of things smell of fish in Essex. They also go by The Seasiders, presumably because the Driving A Max Powered Corsa By The Seasiders is a bit long winded.

Do they have a forum?

Yes. The Shrimper Zone should give you an opportunity to talk to them about TOWIE and dancing round their handbags while reminding you that whatever you think of our forum redesign it could always have been worse.

Got a prediction?

Posh to win 2-1 with goals from Marriott and new boy Bogle  in front of 5,679 fans. I won’t be one of them.

Chris Waller (Meat’NTwoVeg)