Mark Molesley: Southend United sack manager and bring in Phil Brown

Phil Brown led Southend United to promotion from League Two through the play-offs in 2014-15
Phil Brown led Southend United to promotion from League Two through the play-offs in 2014-15

League Two strugglers Southend United have sacked manager Mark Molesley and replaced him with former boss Phil Brown.

Southend are currently 23rd in the table and five points off safety with six games of the season remaining.

Former Weymouth boss Molesley was appointed in the summer after the club's relegation to the fourth tier.

"The Board recognise the management team worked tirelessly," the club said in a statement.external-link

"However, whilst considerable further support was afforded during the January window, results on the pitch remained, unfortunately, inconsistent."

Prior to Molesley's appointment, former England defender Sol Campbell had managed the club during a financially-troubled 2019-20 season.

Just four wins in 35 matches during a campaign interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic saw them relegated from League One, while Campbell left in June 2020.

Molesley had led the club to just one win from his final 10 matches and the club now face a battle to remain in the English Football League and avoid a second successive relegation.

Brown said he was offered the job at Roots Hall "in the middle of the season", adding it was a "non-starter" at the time because of travel difficulties and having to quarantine on his return from India.

However, he met Southend chairman Ron Martin on his return to England towards the end of March.

"He obviously thought that with six games to go there was an opportunity for me to get us out of the situation, which I believe we can do," Brown told BBC Essex.

Brown previously managed the club between 2013 and 2018 and will be assisted by academy manager Ricky Duncan, with former Hull winger Craig Fagan being promoted to first-team coach.

Since leaving the Shrimpers, Brown has had spells managing Swindon Town as well as Pune City and Hyderabad in the Indian Super League.

'Brown in no-lose situation'

Analysis from BBC Essex sports editor Glenn Speller

The thing about football and working within it is, if someone tells you the grass is green and the sky is blue, you are tempted to look out the window and check.

Having last month said Mark Molesley and his team would be in charge until the end of the season, Southend chairman Ron Martin has clearly lost faith in that short time in his ability to steer the Blues out of this mess.

The fact remains Southend's predicament far pre-dates this season and off-field issues have clearly come home to roost.

Molesley started his tenure under a transfer embargo and working with youngsters. While that embargo was eventually lifted to allow him to make some moves in January, signing the likes of Nile Ranger, who had not played for three years, was never going to work.

In fact the recruitment, partly through no fault of his, has been poor for some time.

Phil Brown led Southend to promotion from League Two during his last tenure and with six games to go he is in a no-lose situation. Keep the club up and he will be given the keys to the pier, and if they go down he can hardly be blamed.

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