All change at Southend as Molesley departs with Brown returning


League Two strugglers Southend United have announced that Mark Molesley has departed the club after less than a season in charge with Phil Brown returning to the Roots Hall hotseat after three years away.

Molesley had joined last summer as the club’s new first team manager on a three-year contract following three seasons at Weymouth where he took the club from the Southern Premier League South to the fifth tier of English Football. He had also been involved with AFC Bournemouth where he had a coaching role in the Under 23’s. He left just weeks after First Team manager Eddie Howe departed, following the club’s relegation from the Premier League to the Championship.

During of which, he used his Bournemouth contacts to secure the permanent signing of Shaun Hobson and the loan signing of Kyle Taylor on an initial short term loan which was extended to the end of the season.

In a statement released by Southend this morning, it states:

“The club last night terminated the contract of manager Mark Molesley, together with the majority of his back room staff.

We wish to thank Mark for the commitment throughout his tenure. The Board recognise the management team worked tirelessly. However, whilst considerable further support was afforded during the January window, results on the pitch remained, unfortunately, inconsistent.

Phil Brown, who previously managed the club between 2013 and 2018, will take charge with immediate effect.

Brown, who signed some members of the existing squad, will be assisted by his former colleague Ricky Duncan (Head of Academy) and Craig Fagan (Under 23 Manager), who played under Brown when he managed Hull City between 2006 and 2010.”

For returning manager Phil Brown, he comes back to Roots Hall after a spell at Swindon Town and Indian sides Pune City who merged into Hyderabad. He hasn’t been on the touchline for over a year since his departure.

The 61 year old comes back to Southend having managed them for 251 games over a five year period in which he succeeded Paul Sturrock before being replaced by Chris Powell in which he saw the club getting promoted to League One via the play-offs with a victory on penalties secured over Wycombe Wanderers (pictured below).

Analysis By Southend United Fan Andy Wilkins:

It goes without saying here that this move is rather a shock to many as despite Molesley not getting the entire best it had been hoped for out of his players, he worked with everything that he had available to him and there is a feeling that he may go off to another club and do better as a result like that of Chris Powell who has gone onto coaching in the England setup.

Incoming is a man who knows Southend well. Almost too well to a degree. Despite being widely known for his exploits as manager of Hull City where he went up against the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger on the touchline, Brown has done just under 100+ more games for the Shrimpers of Southend than the Tigers of Hull.

However, many Southend fans do look at Brown’s departure as being the starting point of the catalyst that began three years of trouble and uncertainty despite the best efforts of his successor in Chris Powell to push Southend into the Championship after a 12 year stay away.

The only troublesome part to this mission that Brown has is he only has six games to show he can keep Southend up and preserve their Football League status amid with Grimsby being below them in the table with one game in hand and two points away from them should they win that fixture.

Southend fans had expressed their optimism following the arrival of Molesley and rightfully so given this was a man who had managed a winning mentality in him after his spell at Weymouth. Something his predecessor in Sol Campbell didn’t have much experience of when at Macclesfield prior to joining Southend had but alas, it wasn’t to be for him at Roots Hall.

Molesley didn’t have the best of starts with it taking until the 12th match of the League Two season for Southend to get their first win. That being a 1-0 victory at Walsall with the next one not coming till a month later with back-to-back victories over Scunthorpe United and Grimsby Town. Both of which were at Roots Hall as well. He leaves Southend in 23rd place having spent all but six matchdays in the relegation places.

Southend are on course to make their lowest finish in the EFL since the 2003/04 season where they finished 17th in the then-Division Three table.

Follow us on Twitter @ProstInt


About Author

Photographer who's gone everywhere from covering non-league football to covering England internationals. Occasionally write but mostly at football matches with a camera and mono-pod.

Comments are closed.