Following Sol Campbell’s departure, Southend United will be looking to fill the vacant managerial position and former Shrimpers player and youth team coach Kevin Maher, has been made one of the favourites according to Echo News.
Although Maher is currently under contract at Bristol Rovers as a coach, he is a Southend legend having made over 400 appearances for the Shrimpers during a playing career which saw him captain the Essex club to two promotions in successive seasons. The 43-year-old also spent three seasons as Southend’s U23 manager where he helped the likes of Nathan Bishop, Isaac Hutchinson and Charlie Kelman all break into the senior squad, demonstrating his ability to help young players mature. This would no doubt be a useful skill to have at Southend, who will have to utilise their young players to help get them out of League Two next season.
Maher also has experience managing at first-team level as he had a spell as caretaker manager at fellow Essex side Chelmsford City in January 2016 before being made manager until the end of the season, taking charge of eight wins and a draw in 17 matches as the Clarets secured a mid-table finish.
More recently, Maher briefly managed Bristol Rovers in the 2019/20 campaign following the departure of Graham Coughlan as first-team manager to join Mansfield Town in December. Initially working under Joe Dunne at Rovers, the Irishman took the reigns as caretaker manager and oversaw a satisfactory 0-0 draw at home to Peterborough in his first match managing at this level. Maher was once again needed as caretaker manager in January as newly appointed Ben Garner was forced into a leave of absence to attend to family matters. However, he suffered two 3-0 losses in a tough couple of fixtures away to Coventry in the FA cup and Rotherham before Garner was able to return 10 days later.
Other reported targets for the job include 40-year-old Adam Barrett who made over 300 appearances for the Shrimpers and is currently a first-team coach at Championship outfit Millwall. As well as former Ipswich winger and current Barnet manager Darren Currie who has successfully helped Barnet into the National League playoffs after points-per-game during their second season in the 5th tier.
Maher employed Rovers’ familiar 3-5-2 formation during his short spell as manager but was unable to get the Pirates firing on all cylinders. However, it would be harsh to judge the 43-year-old purely on these results against tough opposition, and the brief experience gained at the third tier could prove useful in future.
Shrimpers supporters will certainly hope the club legend will have what it takes to turn Southend’s fortunes around and bounce back from the fourth tier should he return to Roots Hall. Despite having somewhat limited experience in charge of a first-team, Maher has made it known he would like to return to a managerial role which only adds to the speculation surrounding the vacant post at Southend United.