Sol Campbell has tonight been named as Southend United’s new manager, and he brings ex-players Andy Cole and Herman Hreidarsson with him as his backroom staff.
He joins the Shrimpers on a contract that runs until 2022.
The 45-year-old’s first crack at management at League Two side Macclesfield Town went according to plan, as he kept the side in the division, amongst financial problems.
During the summer, it was announced that Campbell had left Macclesfield by mutual consent, despite reporting back for pre-season. He stated that neither himself or his players had been paid, amongst various HMRC winding-up petitions that the club had to attend in the high court.
The ex-Arsenal defender had initial interviews with the Southend board, but was not considered as their first choice. Following Kevin Bond’s departure from the role on September 6, Gary Waddock was placed in caretaker charge. During the search for a permanent replacement, former Celtic and Barcelona striker Henrik Larsson was the Shrimpers’ first-choice candidate, but talks eventually broke down.
It has only recently emerged that Campbell was back in the running, and the deal was concluded relatively quickly from when the links to the job were first reported.
Nevertheless, Campbell won’t mind that he was not originally the first-choice candidate for the role, as it could suit him very well. Currently, the Shrimpers find themselves second bottom of League One, only ahead of Bolton Wanderers.
The familiarity of the situation could help Campbell, as Macclesfield were in a similar predicament when he was appointed at Moss Rose in November of last year. That could come as an advantage to have.
Campbell amassed a 26.7% win ratio while in the dugout, which from the outside, doesn’t set the world alight. However, the situation he was in at the club would’ve have been a factor. He won 8, drew 12 and lost 10 games while he was in charge.
Despite those records, Campbell and his backroom staff are now tasked with once again trying to avoid relegation, which the Shrimpers successfully achieved last season. Not having experience of League One could hinder him, but he will be determined to make his time in Essex a success.
The level of success that Campbell can bring to Southend will determine how he is perceived as a manager, considering that the job he did went under the radar at Macclesfield.
With only one win and two draws so far for Southend, it remains to be seen what style of play and methods Campbell will implement to turn things around at Roots Hall.