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Neil Smith tops the betting to become the next Southend manager

Could Neil Smith become the next Southend manager?
Could Neil Smith become the next Southend manager?

Southend’s search for a new manager continues following last weekend’s departure of Phil Brown.

The club have now started the interview process for Brown's replacement, with Stan Collymore - who is part of the managerial recruitment team - telling Echo News:

“We're on track to deliver you a manager with vision, who can breathe new life and direction into the club along with a restructure of the football department which will give the club every chance to move forward quickly.”

Former Barnet boss Darren Currie, ex-Shrimpers assistant Graham Coughlan, and John McGreal emerged as the early frontrunners for the National League post, then on Wednesday it was revealed that Chesterfield had turned down an approach for their boss James Rowe.

A new face now tops the pile in the betting in former Bromley and Welling manager Neil Smith, aka 'Smudge', who has emerged as the evens favourite with Bet Victor as he seeks a return to the dugout.

Smith oversaw 225 matches spanning five years at Bromley, during which he led the club to a first appearance at Wembley since 1949 - in the 2018 FA Trophy Final - and finished 10th, 9th, 12th, and 13th in the league, only to suffer the sack back in March despite being placed within the National League play-offs.

"I still believed we could have finished in the playoffs, given we're now in 7th place, and I am disappointed I couldn't finish what I felt I had started this season,” Smith said in a statement at the time.

"I'm also proud that since I became manager in 2016, we have established ourselves in the National League, competing with some big clubs and often getting the better of them."

Smith has valuable experience of managing in the league and his history suggests he could bring some much needed stability to Roots Hall.

Next Southend Manager Odds

A former apprentice at Tottenham, Smith played for the likes of Gillingham, Fulham, and Reading - winning promotions with each - then later moved down into the non-league circuit.

Smith got his first taste of management as caretaker of Woking where he was still playing, while his first full-time post came at Welling United in the Conference South, which was followed by coaching roles at Grays Athletic and Croydon Athletic.

He returned to former club Bromley as part of their coaching staff, and worked his way up from assistant, to interim boss, then onto manager.

In 2019, Smith revealed that a car crash prevented him from signing for Southend back in his playing days.

“I went into the central reservation (and a car landed on top of mine),” he told the KM Football Podcast.

“I was going to Southend to sign (on loan) for them but then I ended up having a few weeks out. I was really shaken up, it was a really bad crash.

“I ended up going down to Gillingham (instead) to just enjoy my football and I loved every minute of it.”

The next Southend manager odds can be found below...

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