LAWRIE Dudfield is not surprised Phil Brown has got Southend United in fine shape ahead of this Saturday’s FA Cup clash with Hull City.
Dudfield played for both the Shrimpers and the Tigers during his own playing career.
And he was always certain Brown would be able to revitalise Blues’ fortunes.
“I know Browny from a few different events I’ve done with Hull and I always thought him being at Southend was a perfect fit,” said Dudfield, 33.
“I still track what’s going on there and look at what the fans are saying on Twitter and some of them were questioning him a little bit after a slow start.
“But with the personality he has I knew he would turn it around and that’s exactly what he’s done.
“I’m really pleased because he’s a great guy and I loved my time at Southend so I’m glad to see them doing well again this season.
“I enjoyed my time with Hull as well so I’m torn for the weekend but the way Browny has got Southend playing it won’t be easy for Hull there.
“I think it has the makings of a really good FA Cup game and it’s up to Southend to put on a show and really try and test Hull.”
Dudfield, who is now Nottingham Forest’s community manager, became Hull City’s record signing when he joined them from Leicester City for £250,000 in June 2001.
And he was immediately shocked by the size of the club.
“I didn’t really how big Hull City was until I joined them and they blew me away a bit to be honest,” said Dudfield.
“There was a myth at the time that people around there preferred rugby not football but we were getting 10,000 to 12,000 every week in League Two and it was fantastic.
“The chairman at the time, Adam Pearson, was fantastic and I think his legacy remains there even to this day.
“I’m not surprised at all at how well they’re doing and I’m pleased to see it as well because I had a great time with them.
“I was a bit unfortunate that Peter Taylor, who had sold me from Leicester 18 months earlier, then became the Hull manager and sold me again.
“But it was nothing personal with him and I was pleased when the club went on to get the promotions.”
Dudfield left the Tigers to join Northampton Town and then went on to sign for Southend, initially on loan, in February 2004.
He bagged five goals in his first 14 games to help Steve Tilson’s side avoid relegation and then also played a part in the team winning promotion from League Two, via the play-offs, in the very next season.
“Being honest about it I wasn’t sure about joining Southend because they were second from bottom in the table and every time I had played there I had been really bad,” said Dudfield.
“But I wanted to be playing so in the end I agreed to sign and I’m so glad I did because it was the best group of lads I played with in my whole career.
“We just knew we were going to do well and it was something special to be a part of.
“I still always keep an eye out for the club’s results, I really do hope they go on to win promotion this season and I hope they put in a good performance for the big game on Saturday too.”