Always somebody worse off

PUBLISHED: 15:16 25 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:14 14 September 2010

Every so often, something comes along to enable us to regain a sense of perspective.

With the apparent festering doom and gloom at Carrow Road over the past few months, progressively weighing down on my decreasingly resistant shoulders, it happened to me - at the rather unglamorous and somewhat modest surrounding of Southend United's Shrimpers Bar.

Every so often, something comes along to enable us to regain a sense of perspective.

With the apparent festering doom and gloom at Carrow Road over the past few months, progressively weighing down on my decreasingly resistant shoulders, it happened to me - at the rather unglamorous and somewhat modest surrounding of Southend United's Shrimpers Bar.

I live in Southend, famed only for its pleasure pier - it recently experienced the fourth fire in its 118-year history - for being the holiday retreat for Eastenders characters Pauline Fowler and family and, perhaps ever increasingly so, for United, the town's football club.

And so when the fixture computer threw up a home game at Roots Hall against Rotherham United and the match was switched to the eve of our long trip to Hull's KC Stadium, I jumped at the chance of some Friday night football.

After the customary struggle to the bar, it was good to share a pint of the finest lager Essex has to offer and some pre kick-off talk with my two brothers.

It was then, as I supped from my plastic “glass”, that my attention was drawn to the South Yorkshire accent of a guy asking for money.

It took me a few seconds to realise that this was no registered charity, but the harsh reality of a football club in real crisis, rather fittingly summed up in what can only be described as scribbled felt tip on the side of his bucket: “Save the Millers”.It took me back the late 80s when Jimmy Hill and a handful of hardy souls would walk the terraces of Craven Cottage appealing to the hearts of away fans to spare a few coins and toss them their way to save a dying old football club - something, by the way, I soberly remembered as the sixth goal smashed past Greeno on that day last May.

As if to prod my conscience one more time, only eight days after I watched Southend condemn Rotherham to another unwanted 2-0 defeat, Derby County arrived in Norwich on the back of news confirming the club's perilous £40m-plus debts.

Add these clubs to the growing list of potless former greats - Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United to name but three - and I realise it's time to regain some perspective.

The support for the Derby game was so much better. I hope the team and fans can work together for our final push.

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