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What Amess

24 Jul

WHEN Greg Dyke’s FA Commission came up with its ludicrous B-team plan a few months back, it was noted by most prominent commentators that the most important people did not have a voice. Neither Supporters Direct nor the Football Supporters Federation were considered as important to the future of our national game as Danny Mills.
With Dyke speaking in Parliament about the issue again earlier this week, it is concerning that once again an irrelevant voice has been raised above the rest, notably that of Southend West MP David Amess.
Lucky enough to be a Tory in an area where, unfortunately, you could turn a mop upside-down, put it in a suit and pin a blue rosette to its lapel and it would get voted in, Amess nonetheless is not a particularly popular MP amongst constituents. And his popularity is unlikely to be increased by banging on about his beloved west ham (he is an MP for SOUTHEND) in Westminster and calling for a boycott on Premier League games because there are too many foreigners.
Amess follows in the footsteps of politicians over the years who have spoken out and brought in legislation about a game they know little about and understand even less – who can forget the infamous ID card proposal of Thatcher’s day? The concern must be that the failure of the England team in Brazil will lead to the authorities panicking and making rash statements such as that made by Amess in the House of Commons without actually considering the real issues.
The Right Honourable Gentleman is addressing a symptom, rather than a cause, of the problems facing English football. Supporters will not boycott their teams – if true supporters of teams like Arsenal did that, their seats would just be filled by tourists. The players playing in the Premier League are the envy of the world and sell replica shirts and duvet covers from Tamworth to Timbuktu.
The simple fact is that it is not healthy to have two separate identities, the Premier League and the Football League, splitting the 92 clubs. Wealth distribution is the main factor in why English football has the problems it does now. The Premier League has no interest in ensuring money filters down to the Football League, and the Football League is powerless to stand up to the Premier League. The EPPP was brought in because the Premier League put a gun to the heads of the Football League by threatening to take away what little cash they do hand down. English football produces a lot of decent young players, but too many of them get lost in the void of 60 or 70-man squads of the top five or six most powerful clubs. They develop well until a certain age, then fail to fulfil their potential because of a lack of first-team football. Going on loan is only temporary and does not allow a player to settle.
There are 92 clubs in the Premier League and Football League combined (91 if you, like me, don’t consider the bastard MK Dons to be a legitimate club). The aim has to be to give all those clubs the appropriate facilities to develop good young players, so the promising youngsters don’t feel they have to join the queue at Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester United to develop into quality players. Young English players brought through at Football League level, unfortunately, come with a heavy price tag. This is because, while Man Utd can afford to spend £300k per week on Wayne Rooney’s salary, lower league clubs are fighting for their lives and need every penny they can get. A fairer distribution of the TV cash, ring-fenced for coaches or upgrading training facilities, would allow clubs in the lower leagues to develop young talent. It would also lead to a more competitive league structure where the haves and have nots are not so polarised.
Dyke’s B-team plan has its heart in the right place but fails to acknowledge that it would destroy the very environment he wants to send these young players into. If Greg Dyke has ever sat through a reserve game I would be surprised – but I can tell him they are not fun to watch. Injecting a season full of half-hearted affairs in front of a scattering of fans into one of the most passionately supported leagues (the Football League) in the world is not the way to go about things. Trouble is, the alternative involves upsetting the money men, which obviously will never happen. Dyke needs to grow the balls to stand up to the Premier League or step aside for someone who will.


Issue 48 – ON SALE NOW

28 Mar

issue48frontcover“Barring a collapse, we should be in for an extended season.” – Co-editor Jamie Forsyth, Issue 47 editorial.
WELL, that jinxed it very nicely indeed, didn’t it? Until Monday’s emphatic 3-0 triumph over Oxford, Southend had failed to win since the 18th of January. The feared collapse did indeed come, and now it looks a tall order for us to even make the play-offs.
But fear not, hardy Shrimpers. All At Sea Issue 48 is here to ease the pain. We’re hoping it won’t be our last of the season either, with a play-off special to come if we somehow reverse our shocking form in time to make it.
Within this issue, Martin Cass will attempt to explain the Tuesday night jinx which has seen us fail to win at home in midweek since September 2011;
Historian Peter Baker will look back at when the dog had his final day at Southend Stadium;
Piers Hewitt will come over all optimistic and tell us why we should be positive, despite all the evidence to the contrary;
Steve Dadds and Sam Leveridge assess Phil Brown’s tenure after one year in the job;
James Welham looks back at a wonderful weekend in Cardiff, ten years ago this month, and in this World Cup year, looks back at the Shrimpers who have played on the biggest stage of all;
Ed Beavan tells how his late-night tribulations of looking after his new son Charlie have led him down the dark path of football documentaries on Youtube;
Paul Marshall leads the tributes to ardent, home and away Shrimper Doug Yates, who sadly passed away this month;
And our feisty lady columnist The Missus explains why a bad result for the boys in blue doesn’t just spoil our weekend plans.
It’s all inside this month’s fanzine, and it is priced at just £1. You can buy it before the game on Saturday, and at home games against Wimbledon and Accrington. Alternatively, a few clicks of a button will have it landing on your doormat within a couple of days.
Just visit our online store.

Flares back in fashion

5 Nov

BRITISH football fandom used to lead the way back in the 60s, 70s and 80s. It was not malways for the best, but European fan groups always used to look on admirably and try and imitate English fans. Now, it is the other way round, and one of the irritating side effects of this is the recent fashion for “pyro”, or people using flares and smoke bombs at grounds.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I dislike the heavily sanitised atmosphere of the modern football arena as much as the next man. I even got told off recently for calling Fleetwood’s goalkeeper “shit”, which quite frankly is ridiculous as, not only was it factually correct, I was in the South Upper, not the family stand and quite frankly it should be our duty to make away team’s players feel as uncomfortable as possible when we are blessed enough to be so close to the action.
However, I draw the line at this fashion for throwing smoke bombs onto the pitch and ensuring you can’t see the next ten minutes of the match. What exactly are people gaining from it? I’ve seen it happen twice at Roots Hall this season, Yeovil fans and Dagenham fans the culprits, and I rank both occasions as being amongst the most tin-pot things I have ever seen at a football match. I can see how it looks good when seething massed ranks of fans set off flares while deafening everyone around with vociferous singing, but when it’s seven people with replica shirts over their jumpers letting them off between gaping gaps in the stand, it is a tragic sight. It’s the football equivalent of Robin Thicke trying to defy the fact he looks like a geography teacher and look cool in a video full of extremely attractive women. It doesn’t belong there. Simple as that.
Aside from the lack of credibility, and without wanting to come across all health and safety executive here, it’s not a particularly good idea to let off these things off around large groups of people. Spurs fans lobbed one at a linesman the other week and although secretly I imagine most people found it quite funny when it smacked him on the back of the neck, they wouldn’t be laughing if they were deducted points for it. I know the FA doesn’t have the balls to do that to a big club, but lower down the leagues they wouldn’t think twice about it.
So please, if any Southend supporters are thinking about trying the same thing at a far-flung ground this season, please don’t. It makes all of us look like twats, and having paid far too much money to travel to the game, gain admittance, and drink enough booze to make watching League Two football seem palatable, most of us would actually quite like to be able to see the game we’ve paid to watch rather than peer through a haze.
Jamie Forsyth

This article appears in Issue 45 of All At Sea. To buy your copy online, head to our webstore at where you can pay your £1 + postage easily with Paypal. We send all fanzines out first class.

Issue 45 – Hot off the press

31 Oct

Issue 45 - on sale now!

Issue 45 – on sale now!

IT seems one of the fashionably barmy things for football clubs to do these days is try to control the press. Only this week we’ve seen the Newcastle Chronicle and the Stoke Sentinel guilty of bruising the egos of the local club’s chairman, with sanctions as a result. And Southend last month prevented Chris Phillips, of the Echo, from talking to Phil Brown and some players after daring to write we are under a transfer embargo (which, erm, we are).
In this month’s All At Sea we have a general catch-up with Chris to find out what it’s really like to report on Southend United every day. We also talk to former Southend defender Leo Roget, who embarks on a professional boxing career on November 16th at York Hall. Unfortunately, his opponent is not Marco Gabbiadini.
Another raft of excellent contributions has arrived at AAS towers this month. Piers Hewitt tells how his recent tour to the United States with his band has helped develop his Youtube video fetish to the point where he watched the highlights of Southend losing 1-0 away at Stoke in 1996.
Stormy weather arrived in the UK this week, and James Welham recalls a time where blizzard conditions almost robbed the Shrimpers of a vital victory.
Andrew Roach dissects the facts behind Friday night football at Roots Hall, and tells us once and for all whether it’s good for the gate, Peter Miles heads over to Belgium to visit a ground where Southend played in the 1950s, and Sam Leveridge tracks down the players that Paul Sturrock begged, stole or borrowed to play the opening game of the 2010/11 season (Sofiane Zaaboub has been in a spot of bother, to no-one’s surprise).
There’s plenty of other stuff inside too for the normal price of £1, and you can buy it now by visiting our webstore at

Issue 44 on sale now!

3 Sep

Issue 44SO not much has happened since we last brought out an issue in mid-March. Just the sacking of a manager, the appointment of a new one, Wembley cup final heartache, Jeremy Kyle giving team talks, the departure of several key players, transfer embargoes, unpaid tax debts, and some football matches as well.
As you can imagine, there’s plenty to mull over in our bargain £1 fanzine for September, and yes, the summer survey results are in? Remember that very long questionnaire you filled in back in June? We analyse the results and there’s some interesting findings. As you can imagine, not many people think this stadium move is going to come off anytime soon (12.3 per cent) and everyone still hates Col Ewe.
Aside from that, we’ll hear how Piers Hewitt persuaded his long-suffering wife to build Chesterfield away into their precious week’s holiday, a disillusioned Daddsy’s view of how Southend United is slipping away from his life, plus we exclusively reveal how the Hamsters’ move to the Olympic Stadium could end in disaster.
There’s plenty for nostalgia fans to get their teeth into as Newport’s promotion prompts Pete Baker to look back through the archives for previous visits to the Valleys, while James Welham takes joy in discovering his Pro Set card collection in his mum’s loft.
Back to the present day, we evaluate Phil Brown’s new-look squad and the man himself, and we also feature his and Steve Kavanagh’s best quotes from an intriguing question and answer session with the Shrimpers Trust on Monday night. Including the embargo question, which got SK a little grumpy to say the least.
It has to be said, what more do you want for £1? It will be on sale for the Morecambe game outside the club shop and in Shakespeare Drive. Or why not save yourself the trouble and get it sent out to you as soon as it comes back from the printers? Visit our online shop at

Issue 41 set for release

19 Dec

frontcoverissue41IT’S been a barnstorming couple of months on the pitch since the last AAS hit the streets.
A 12-game unbeaten run, progress in two cups and even some alleged stadium progress – though we’ll believe that when we see it, eh?
So, the Christmas edition will have an upbeat feel to it and plenty of comment, nostalgia and humour from your resident contributors.
We look at how the Blues may have become the MK Shrimpers, give a critique of Prittlewell’s pub scene and remember some of our best foreign players.
There’s missives from our trips to
mainly triumphant away games, a smattering of analysis and guides to trips coming up.
In a wider football context, there’s an update on the safe standing issue and James Welham enjoys the delights of the country’s only “neutral section” at Craven Cottage.
All for only £1, on sale Friday from 6.45pm outside the club shop and in Shakespeare Drive.
Alternatively, click here to buy the fanzine, and previous issues, online.

Issue 39 on sale Saturday!

29 Aug

Issue 39 is on sale at the Wycombe game on Saturday

SO a summer of sporting euphoria is behind us, it’s time to once again settle down for nine months of pain, misery and gloom.
To celebrate this, All At Sea is on it’s way to the printers as we speak, almost a year since the previous issue.
Within it’s 36 pages is the usual heady mix of nostalgia, disenchantment, hope, and amusement.
James Welham tells how to fend off Premier League-supporting in-laws when teaching your newborn children who to support, Piers Hewitt draws an unfavourable comparison with the music world, Ed Beavan on trying to follow the Shrimpers from the foothills of the Himalayas, and we dissect Colchester’s bid for “City of Culture” status.
Plus round up of all the matches so far (might want to skip that bid) and other regular features.
All on sale from outside the club shop from 1.45pm.
Priced at £1, it’s a 20th of the price of watching Southend and several times more entertaining.

Fanzine update: April 2012

4 Apr

FIRSTLY an apology to our loyal readers. All At Sea has not been published since November due to a variety of factors, mainly personal.
Rumours of our death have been greatly exaggerated.
However, it is looking unlikely that an issue will be out before the end of the season. There is a possibility, should Southend end up in the play-off final at Wembley, that a short-notice special edition could be produced. This will obviously not be confirmed until mid-May.
We would like to reassure subscribers that we have not collected up their cash and gone on a massive spending spree in Westfields. We have a record of all subscriptions and these will continue as normal whenever a new issue is brought out. However we do understand if people would like a refund on part of their subscription, and if this is the case, please e-mail us at
With co-editor Ed moving to India in January, it is proving a tricky task to produce the fanzine at the moment. However, offers of help have been received and we will be carrying on in 2012/13 regardless of division.
Apologies again, but we’ll see you soon.

Buy All At Sea online

26 Oct

All At Sea - on sale now

YOU can now buy issue 37 of All At Sea online from our web shop, which can be found here

All At Sea – Now on sale

14 Oct

All At Sea - on sale now

IT’S all happened so fast. From storming out of the County Ground telling anyone who would listen (not many people to be fair) that we’ll be lucky not to get caught up in a relegation scrap, a month later and we’re topping the table.
To celebrate this unlikelihood, All At Sea hits the streets tomorrow nicely in time for our biggest crowd in 20 months with 9,500 expected to be at Roots Hall for the visit of Morecambe.
But for those who can’t be there, you are able to purchase the latest issue online from eBay (we are undergoing issues with our online shop at the moment). Simply click here and purchase your copy of issue 37.