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Exclusive: Ben Coker issues his thoughts on Southend’s dramatic survival and the the Roots Hall faithful

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Southend United dramatically retained their status as a League One club on the final day of last season with a 2-1 win over Sunderland. 

It’s been a season that has taken many by surprise, with injuries ruling key players out of action much of last year’s campaign.

One of those is Ben Coker, who ruptured two knee ligaments in a defeat to Sunderland earlier in the season which ended his season prematurely.

The defender ended a six-year spell with the Shrimpers after last season, and he’ll be hoping to find a new club at the earliest of opportunities.

But the 29-year-old was in attendance for the final day of the season, where Southend secured a vital win to stay in League One and he described his emotions on the day in an exclusive interview with FLW’s Jacob Potter.

“It was an emotional one and I was so happy for the boys that they stayed up. It was a bit surreal as I thought it would be the last time I would be at the ground and it was emotional.

“I was buzzing for the lads and the club, as we really needed to stay up and eventually did it.”

Southend had a number of injury problems which hampered their season, which eventually saw them fighting at the wrong end of the League One table.

The defender felt that those injuries played a significant role as to why they almost dropped into League Two towards the end of last year’s campaign.

“We had some horrific injuries, four ACL injuries in the season which is unheard of really. We also had some other bad injuries so that played a massive part as to why we were down there.

“We were just outside the play-offs when all of those injuries occurred and it was a very frustrating and hard feeling. Hopefully Southend can be fighting up the other end of the table next season.”

When quizzed on what his best memory was with the club, Coker had no doubt in his mind, stating that the play-off final win over Wycombe was up there with the best.

“Wembley, without a doubt! Over the last six years, that massively stands out, it was such a special day. I don’t think it will be done like that ever again. The way we did it, it was special for the club and me personally, it was an unreal season.”

Coker issued a heartwarming message to the Southend supporters, and labelled their support as ‘brilliant’ in his six years with the club.

“I’d just like to thank them all for their support, it’s been brilliant. Obviously me leaving is a personal choice, it’s got nothing to do with the fans, I appreciate the support that they’ve given me over the six years, I can’t thank them enough.”

Stay tuned for the second-half of our exclusive interview with Coker which goes live next week!

Editorial Assistant at Snack Media, writing for Football League World on a regular basis! Sports Journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University.

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