Sol Campbell opens up on his latest survival mission at Southend – The News


 Early riser Sol Campbell hit the road at 7am with Southend United for the six-hour coach trip to Sunderland  If he really wanted to make his players suffer for shipping 10 goals in their last two home games, he could have forced them to make the journey by train  But the most porous defence in all four divisions by a distance – 43 goals leaked in 15 games – has gone off the rails too often already  Calling in a favour with former England team-mate Jonathan Woodgate, Campbell arranged a loosener for his squad at ­Middlesbrough’s Rockliffe Park training base yesterday – and for the Shrimpers it could be the prawn of a new era  Campbell, mysteriously overlooked for countless managerial vacancies until his Red Adair t­ribute act rescued Macclesfield from the drayman’s hatch last ­season, has taken on another tomb with a view  Celtic legend Henrik Larsson had a peek under the bonnet and decided he couldn’t give Southend a jump-start   But Campbell, bedrock of ­ Arsenal ’s ‘Invincibles’ season and winner of 73 England caps, has brought his “full tool kit” to Roots Hall – including teacups Is it his style to launch the crockery?  “I wouldn’t say the teacups are safe, but there are different ways of getting the best out of your players,” he said  “Sometimes I am the ­philosophical professor, or I can do the voice like thunder if necessary or if I want to keep the lads on their toes I might sit back and give them a thousand-yard stare  “Players have to know where they stand.  “There are times when you need to ­listen to them and you don’t have to shout the house down Fine ­details and ­creating the right ­environment are so important when the margins are so tight  “Staying up last year went down to goal difference and now there is no time for niceties We’ve got to put heart and soul into every game or the club will go backwards – that’s the reality ”   Campbell, 45, has brought in ­ Manchester United Treble-winner Andy Cole as first-team coach to help him cap the blazing oil wells But he insisted: “I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as a firefighter. I had a couple of interviews in the summer, at clubs whose natural habitat was mid-table, but this job was like a ­boomerang: It went away, and then it came back again  “Hopefully what we did at Macclesfield last season will stand me in good stead The ­facilities weren’t ­Premier League ­standard – never mind a different planet, they were different ­galaxy – but we got stuck in together  “It wasn’t plain sailing, and when you are bottom of the table for such a long time the luck doesn’t often fall your way, so we had to make our own luck  “Every case is different, but what I want to do first and foremost at Southend is to get the players up to speed  “We all like a party but when that ­becomes the main feature of your lifestyle as a footballer, I haven’t got time for that I don’t know what happened in pre-season but they are not up to speed and they are not giving a true account of themselves ”  Like everyone else, Campbell was saddened by the toxic atmosphere of England’s Euro 2020 qualifier in ­Bulgaria But he is not expecting a call from the FA to help tackle the scourge of racism in football – which is a pity, because there remains a glaring lack of black faces among English football’s ­ruling politburo  As ever, the fight against bigotry needs to start closer to home than ­holier-than-thou condemnation of primitive attitudes abroad  “It’s not always a level playing field,” warned Campbell. “Sometimes, when a voice pipes up about racism or equality, he’s accused of having a chip on your shoulder But when another voice makes the same point, he’s commended for being passionate and speaking out  “And they will give out MBEs, OBEs and knighthoods to all sorts of people – ‘Sir’ this and ‘Sir’ that – but where are the honours for black ex-players who speak out and want to make a ­difference? It’s great women are finally being co-opted on to the FA Board Fantastic. And I do feel we are trying to move in the right direction. Read More Mirror Football’s Top Stories  “But where are the black faces in prominent positions of leadership?  “Sometimes, to get on an executive body like the FA Board, you have got to know the process, know your way around the corridors of power – and there should be more discussion about that There are whole generations of black ex-players with a wealth of knowledge and experience which is going to waste  “Somehow we have to break the cycle, encourage them and allow their opinions to be valued  “I don’t think they will want me in any high positions of authority or ­influence – I’ve got too much to say for myself They will find somebody else to give an OBE or a ‘Sir’ title.”  Here’s a tip for the blazers at ­Wembley: Even if you think he’s more far-out than Pluto, listen to Sol ­Campbell What have you got to lose?

1 thought on “Sol Campbell opens up on his latest survival mission at Southend – The News

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