FC KITZBUHEL’S assistant manager Sean Caldwell believes the club’s link up with Southend United will be of huge benefit to both parties.

Caldwell grew up supporting the Shrimpers and is excited to have agreed a deal which will see Southend’s young players heading to Austria to develop their careers.

“I’m a Southend fan so it’s great but even if I wasn’t I would be excited about this partnership because I think it’s great for both clubs,” said Caldwell.

“It’s fantastic for us and it’s something which is unique for an Austrian club to do.

“We’re going to have professional young players coming to play for us, which is obviously going to strengthen our team.

“But I think it’s also going to be of huge benefit to Southend’s players as well.

“It’s definitely going to help develop them and we’re right in the middle of the Alps so it’s a great place to be.”

FC Kitzbuhel won promotion from the Tirol Liga last season, during Caldwell’s first year at the club.

And he is thoroughly enjoying his own experience of Austrian football.

“I originally came out here on holiday and it’s been fantastic for me,” said Caldwell.

“I had been working at Brentford and got talking to a few people about football while I was out here.

“Everything went from there really and it’s been really enjoyable.

“I saw it as a great opportunity to learn a new language and to experience a different style of football.


Blues fan - Sean Caldwell

“It’s been going really well and we’re looking forward to next season now.”

FC Kitzbuhel will be lining up in Regionalliga West next term.

And Caldwell believes it will be a testing standard for all involved.

“I think the level is going to be similar to the Conference in England,” said Caldwell, whose dad got him into supporting the Shrimpers.

“The draw for our FA Cup is taking place this week and we could be paired with clubs who are playing in the Champions League, which would be fantastic.”

Blues’ goalkeeper Josh Bexon will be the first youngster to head to Austria on loan, while striker Dan Walker could also make the trip.

But Caldwell’s initial link with Southend came through meeting the club’s goalkeeping coach Terry Mason.

“I’ve always kept in touch with Tel and it all went from there really,” said Caldwell.

“He came out to see us and we’re all pleased to be teaming up.”


FC Kitzbuhel were founded in 1930 as Kitzbuheler Sportclub.

Following the Second World War and the prohibition of sports clubs in 1945, the club was re-established under its current name on March 4, 1947.

After a stint in the Tirol Liga, FC Kitzbuhel won promotion last season.

The side, who are managed by Alexander Markl, finished top of the Tirol Liga to be crowned champions with 67 points.

Following their title win, FC Kitzbuhel will ply their trade in the Regionalliga West division, which is Austria’s third tier.

The town of Kitzbuhel is based in Austria’s Tyrol region and is renowned for its winter sports resorts due to its location between the Hahnenkamm and Kitzbuhler Horn.

The Hahnenkamm hosts the annual World Cup ski races, including the circuit’s most notable single event, the downhill race on the Streif slope.

FC Kitzbuhel’s home fixtures are played at the Sportplatz Kitzbuhel-Langau, which boasts a capacity of 1,200.

Austrian international midfielder Lukas Hinterseer came through the FC Kitzbuhel ranks.

Hinterseer has since gone on to win 12 caps for Austria.