Sol Campbell has been appointed as the new manager of Southend United after Kevin Bond stepped down from the hot seat last month. The new gaffer oversaw their 7-1 loss at home to Doncaster last night, in which two of his new players were shown straight reds.
The former England international has signed a contract until the end of the 2021/22 season. With the contract being over 2 years long, it is a large signal of intent made by both the board at Southend as well as Sol himself.
He has been handed the challenge of keeping The Shrimpers up in League One after their precarious start to the season. They currently sit in 22nd place in the League, and 9 points away from safety. Furthermore, their goal difference currently stands at -25, as they have conceded a staggering 40 goals in just 14 games, an average of 2.9 a game. Therefore, if Sol is to succeed he will need find harmony between the worst defence in the league, and the 5th worst attack.
Will he succeed?
Campbell is off the back of completing what many regarded as an impossible challenge last year. He kept Macclesfield Town up in League 2 last season again all odds. For the majority of last season The Silkmen looked dire and destined to slump back into the fifth tier.
Yet when Sol was appointed, it was not long before results started improving which ultimately led to their survival. However, he left cash-struggling side in the summer. Despite this, the fact he managed to turn form around relatively quickly suggests he would be successful in his new job as there are still 32 games remaining. Plenty of time.
In addition to this, I was lucky enough to watch Campbell’s Macclesfield a couple of times at the end of last season, and it is clear he sets up his teams in what he believes is the most efficient way to win:
He likes his teams to pass the ball on the floor out to wide areas before getting crosses into the box, usually for the two strikers he deploys. This means it is likely that Southend fans will be enjoying more expansive football than what would be expected of a manager employed to keep a team in a league.
Finally, The Shrimpers already have what I believe is an adequate squad to be much higher in the league than their position suggests. Names such as Stephen Humphrys, Luke Hyam and Stephen McLaughlin who, amongst others, are all capable of dragging them out of trouble.
Sol has also brought former Manchester United forward Andy Cole with him as the new Striker coach. I believe this will benefit their survival hopes as Cole’s experience will provide a massive lift to their attacking play, in a team that has only managed 15 goals this season.
You’d like to think having a man that scored 187 Premier League goals will improve a team’s goal threat.
Taking all this into account, I strongly believe Campbell has what it takes to keep Southend in League One this season. Moreover, because of the length of his contract I think his appointment will allow The Shrimpers to flourish both on and off the pitch.
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