Ryan Cresswell’s move to Fleetwood Town is for the best

24 Jul

NO ONE likes to see good players leave their club. Ryan Cresswell’s departure will leave a chasm in the centre of Southend’s defence with the season just ten days away, and I must admit seeing his picture on the Blackpool Gazette website holding up a dreadfully tinpot scarf wasn’t easy.
However hard it may seem to understand Cresswell’s desire to leave Southend for a club which gets gates of under 3,000 in a town that makes Rayleigh look like a metropolis, it can’t be denied that Fleetwood are a club on the up under Andy Pilley, who has bankrolled the club’s rise from the Northern Premier League. The Cod Army (urgh) look certs for automatic promotion to League One this forthcoming season thanks to a lot of dollar being spent wisely, and the Lancashire club’s manager Graham Alexander believes Cresswell to be the final piece in his jigsaw.
Southend, on the other hand, have seen their top four performers from last year – Clohessy, Assombalonga, Tomlin and Cresswell – leave the club this summer, along with plenty of squad players, leaving them a squad of just 14 senior professionals on the eve of the season.
Phil Brown has mentioned plenty of transfer targets, but only Ben Coker, John White and Will Atkinson have arrived. Plenty of “hard work” is going on behind the scenes, it is claimed, but there is hardly anyone coming in the door. The main reason for this, it is suspected, is that Southend have been under a transfer embargo that restricts them to a 20-man squad. With the signing of young pros like Ryan Auger, Jack Payne, Mitchell Pinnock and Seedy Njie, the current number is believed to be 19. Room for one more, then.
As always, Southend United’s financial situation is like an iceberg with the odd article in the Echo the only real knowledge the supporters have and it would be pointless to speculate why the club is under a transfer embargo, if indeed it is. What is clear is our club is living a day-to-day existence with more going out than is coming in and a lot of creditors, staff, the taxman and occasionally the players going without on a regular basis. Receiving £150,000 for Cresswell will not cure our problems, but it could go a long way towards easing the more pressing issues holding up Phil Brown’s attempts to build a squad for the coming season. It’s probably about a quarter of the club’s entire season ticket income, which no doubt had already been spent keeping another debt wolf from the door.
There may be only a week and a half to go until Plymouth arrive in town for the opening day fixture, but the transfer deadline is not until September 2, with free agents able to sign for clubs after that date. So there’s no point panicking. At the moment, the squad is weak to the point of fragile, but the first 11 is competent. Cresswell may have been our best defender, but when fit, Mark Phillips is certainly not far behind. White has looked accomplished in pre-season matches and Luke Prosser has improved year-on-year and looks set to play a key role this year. Add Chris Barker and Ben Coker, and there are enough defenders currently at the club. The alacrity with which Julian Bennett was despatched to the club’s Madrid training base suggests Brown knew Cresswell’s departure was coming and the former Forest and Wednesday man has been a target.
There is also the point to consider that Cresswell’s form tailed off significantly towards the end of last season. Perhaps his inability to settle in the area was a factor and it was clear the defender, while remaining professional to the end, wanted to leave the club from January onwards. That never makes for good form, and keeping him here against his will would certainly not have brought the best out of him on the pitch. We’ve also seen, with Ryan Hall and Bilel Mohsni, how unsettled players can react when they are denied the move they crave. With Cresswell, it’s best for all parties that he moves on. Let’s just hope we can move forward ourselves with the money that has come in.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: