And we’re back!

Southend United have their first pre-season friendly tonight, away at Dartford. What already? cried the wife in genuine amazement. Oh yes, I said, and not a moment too soon. The last time I saw my beloved Shrimpers was a 1 all bore draw with Burton Albion back on the 30th April. And that seems like years ago.

The past few weeks has seen an abundance of garage-cleaning, loft-tidying, gardening (well, mowing the lawn) and general DIY activities that a responsible, grown up homeowner should be doing……but only during the summer when there is no football to distract him.

Cars were washed; flat-pack items which had been propped against spare room walls were opened, checked and slowly assembled to much head-scratching, sweating and swearing.


The Under 21 tournament was briefly viewed whilst holidaying abroad. Fulham were briefly watched on the telly in their Europa League qualifiers. However it just wasn’t the same – it felt too distant, too detached, and obviously it wasn’t my team so my heart wasn’t really in it.

However we are now achieving re-entry, gaining some normality. Men all over the UK are slowly starting to down tools and smile again. Their teams can be seen live, in the flesh, at a lower League ground near them soon. A chance to check out the new signings and the trialists up close and personal. A chance to see the old faces and catch up on what they did on their holidays.

Football is, slowly but oh so surely, coming back. The football League season starts on the 6th August; however I’m sure there are many fans out there, like me, for which the season actually starts with the first pre-season friendly of the year.

In my time I’ve been to some local grounds (Heybridge Swifts, Thurrock FC) and some not so local grounds (Hemel Hempstead, Potters Bar) all in the name of a pre-season friendly. I’ve seen trialists at various standards – once greats on their way down, promising starlets on their way up, average plodders being….well, ploddingly average.

But I don’t care. To some these friendlies may be seen as crap warm up games that don’t mean anything, but to me they are a chance to watch my team, live. And any chance to watch my team, live, is good enough for me.

See you at Dartford tonight, or maybe Great Wakering tomorrow.

Lee Morgan 

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