Sol Campbell: Southend United manager leaves by mutual consent

Sol Campbell
Sol Campbell began the season as manager of Macclesfield Town and took charge of Southend in October

Former England defender Sol Campbell has left his role as manager of Southend United by mutual consent.

The 45-year-old took charge of the Shrimpers last October, but won only four of his 23 games in charge.

Southend were relegated after the League One season was ended in June, three months after matches were halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Whilst it was a difficult time fighting relegation, I still enjoyed the experience," Campbell said.

Southend were in 22nd place and 17 points from safety when the season was ended and the final positions were decided on a points-per-game basis.

Former Macclesfield manager Campbell had been appointed on a deal until the end of the 2021-22 season.

Southend were 22nd having managed just one win from 14 games when the former Tottenham and Arsenal defender replaced previous boss Kevin Bond. They won just three further league games during Campbell's time in charge.

His assistants Hermann Hreidarsson, Andy Cole and Tony Colbert have also left the club.

"There are obviously frustrations with how the season ended abruptly, and with what points we feel we could have been amassed," he said.

"The club have an exciting future with the plans for the new stadium in place, but with the current global Covid-19 situation having a profound effect on businesses, I am keen not to be a financial burden to the club."

As well as relegation from League One, Southend have also experienced financial problems during Campbell's tenure.

They include facing a winding-up petition for unpaid tax bills currently adjourned until 22 July, misconduct charges for failing to pay players on time, and criticism from the Professional Footballers' Association for furloughing players at the start of the coronavirus lockdown.

Analysis

Glenn Speller, BBC Essex sports editor

Campbell was not first choice to replace Bond and a failed courtship of Henrik Larsson meant it was 47 days before he was appointed. By then he was inheriting a squad with a firmly embedded losing mentality and a hangover from the previous season's last-day escape from relegation.

Constant financial issues and transfer embargos did not help, but becoming more organised the defeats kept coming and it was nearly three months before he registered his first three points.

An FA Cup first-round loss at Dover, after which a player was pictured in a club tracksuit on a night out with celebrating opponents, rubbed further salt into the wounds.

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FA Cup: Dover Athletic 1-0 Southend United highlights

No doubt Campbell made mistakes with a constant chopping and changing, players playing out of position and an insistence on a certain formation. But if you set sail when already taking on water there is only ever going to be one outcome.

He fronted up with the media every week, but his pre-match press conferences became frequently punctuated by long pauses and deep intakes of breath as he tried to come up with some positivity while masking his clear frustrations.

Where now for Campbell? He has mitigating circumstances, a lot of them, but he might want to do a few more background checks before jumping into his next job.

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