• Was captain in a decade at Roots Hall that made him a fans’ favourite
  • Now has the task of raising spirits after loss of Football League status
  • Feels he needs time to change the culture and mentality at the club

BADGE OF HONOUR...Kevin Maher is ready for the big job

KEVIN MAHER is a legend at Southend United but he knows that glory days in the past don't guarantee a brighter future at Roots Hall.

The 45-year-old Sport Careers Agency client saw his National League strugglers lose 3-0 in his opening game in charge as Head Coach at Dagenham and Redbridge on Saturday.

Former Southend midfielder Maher, English born but an Under-21 international for the Republic of Ireland, played 383 games for the club in a decade that saw him become a revered captain.

Now he has been charged with the task of reviving Southend's fortunes as they try to recover from the body-blow of losing their English Football League status.

Saturday's setback left them in early season relegation trouble in the National League but Maher reasoned: ”We are going to see who is up to the journey player-wise and who is not and that will happen as we go along the way.

”It's just one game and I'm not going to go overboard with the lads, criticising them.

”They gave everything and that's the minimum, I know. This hasn't changed what I knew to a certain extent.

”Changing the whole mentality and the culture of a football club is going to take time.”

Maher reckons he has inherited a team who have lost belief in themselves.

After serving his apprenticeship as a coach in various roles at Chelmsford City, Bristol Rovers and his spiritual home of Southend Kevin is ready for the challenge ahead now.

He stressed: ”I want to take the fear away from the players.

”They've had a tough time recently and results haven't been great but we want them to go on the pitch and enjoy their football.

”We will also encourage them to express themselves in the right areas. They're good, honest players who want to do well for the club.

”It's going to take time to get to where we want to be in terms of formation but we'll be giving them the structure we want and our principles will always be the same.”

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