Southend United appoint Kevin Maher as new head coach

Southend United have appointed Kevin Maher as their new first team head coach to replace Phil Brown.

Maher, a two-time promotion winner who made over 450 appearances for Blues as a player, returns to the club and signs a contract until the end of the 2023-24 season.

Former Barnet manager Darren Currie will be assistant head coach and Canvey Island boss Mark Bentley, Maher’s former Blues teammate, first team coach.

In a club statement, CEO Tom Lawrence said: “When Ron, Gary, Stan and I started the process to find a new Coaching Team, I thought it was important that we followed a structured approach to identify candidates that fell within our defined success criteria.   

“Amongst other things, the Coaching Team needed to be technically excellent (pro licence holders), have a good work ethic and knowledge of The National League…. 

….an affiliation with Southend United was a nice to have, but not a prerequisite. 

“The Coaching Team we have appointed meet the success criteria and will help us achieve our objectives. They will, together, help create a high performing culture …. something that has been absent for several years.   

“Of the exceptional candidates we interviewed to lead the Coaching Team, Kevin stood out. His plan for the future is aligned with the Club’s vision and his passion to help us get back to the EFL shone through. With the support of Darren and Mark, who both have exceptional CVs (and bring a lot to the table), we will now move forward positively.  

“I am delighted to be welcoming the new Coaching Team to the Club!”

Starting his career as a trainee at Tottenham Hotspur, Maher joined Southend in 1998 and spent 10 years as an ever-present in the midfield during what was one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.

The 44-year-old captained Blues to successive promotions in 2005 and 2006 and a famous League Cup win over Manchester United, also in 2006. Spells at Oldham, Gillingham and Dagenham & Redbridge followed in the latter stages of his career.

Maher’s coaching career began with a spell in charge at National League South side Chelmsford City before he became U21 manager at Southend in 2015. After four years, Maher joined Bristol Rovers where he teamed up with Graham Coughlan to form part of the Gas’ first team backroom staff, working under three other managers in that time since moving to the Memorial Stadium.

Upon his appointment, Maher said: “I’m absolutely delighted. Walking back in and the familiar surroundings that I’ve been so used to throughout my playing career and also coaching career, I’m delighted to be back and can’t wait to get started and hopefully help the club start moving in the right direction.

“While it’s brilliant to have the connections as a player, and what I’ve learnt throughout my career has been a massive part of that and we had some brilliant times, we want to bring them back.

“It’s going to take time. It’s been a difficult time for the club in the last few years, but everyone is now pulling in the direction that we want to bring success back to this football club.

“If we are all in it together there’s no reason we can’t start to turn things. Slowly we will do that, I’m sure of that because there’s a lot of good people at the football club and we all want the same thing.”

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