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Opinion: A Southend United View on Phil Brown

A Southend fan's insight into the man every one wants as the new manager

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The favourite to be the next Bolton Wanderers manager is no other than Phil Brown who, small problem, is still the manager of Southend United. Here's Southend fan, Callum Connolly, to provide some insight on how Brown's been getting on:

When Phil Brown arrived at Southend after the chaotic dismissal of Paul Sturrock, there was few amongst us Shrimpers that felt a reason to be optimistic.

Despite a run with Hull City in the Premier League, Brown's managerial career had taken a detour in very much the wrong direction following a dismal spell with Preston. In addition, Brown's experience in League Two was non-existent.

However, in his first full season in charge, Brown tried his best to implement his own stamp on the club whilst also attempting to play attractive football. With promotion the aim, the Blues fell just short against Burton Albion in the play-offs. Despite the immense hurt it caused, Brown rallied the team and retained our key players for the 2014/15 campaign, one that culminated in a dramatic promotion at Wembley.

To the outside eye looking in, with Southend on the periphery of the play-offs in their debut season back in League One following a five-year absence, Brown has done a respectable job.

I believe it is fair to say that each fan was not expecting anything near a promotion push this season, with survival in a tough, competitive environment essentially the key. What may surprise the Bolton faithful is that there are more than just the odd number of Southend supporters who yearn to allow Brown to leave.

His tactics are quite unorthodox at times, with his common refusal to play wingers frustrating to many of the Southend's fans, myself included. Results at home to Doncaster, Crewe and Chesterfield have incensed many.

In contrast to this, the Essex club has registered excellent victories against rivals in Barnsley, Coventry and at home to league leaders Burton Albion, so Brown's tinkering can equally delight the fans. It has not helped Brown that many of those opposed to his reign at the club are fickle, to say the least.

What has impressed me most about Brown during his time at Southend is the ability he possesses to adapt to the market and indeed, use his powers of persuasion to recruit players that normally would never make a list of targets. Like Bolton, the club has had a long and complicated history in operating with quite limited finances, and Brown's ability to lure players of higher calibre has boosted our attempts to return to the Championship immensely.

The main fault I would associate with Brown is his stubbornness in team management, but he is a passionate, fiery and meticulous manager.

His time at Hull and Preston, in particular that team-talk, has tarnished Brown's reputation somewhat, but despite his issues, Southend as a club could be in a much worse situation than we are now without him at the helm.

Should Bolton sign him in the summer, you will have a very capable man in charge.