BUSY passersby could be forgiven for missing two newly-restored blue plaques on walls around Southend.

But the plaques, at the Blue Boar pub, in Victoria Avenue, Southend, and 254 Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff, help tell the story of Southend United – and the town itself.

The first plaque marks the spot where the club was founded, in 1906, by the then landlord of the Blue Boar Hotel, Oliver Trigg.

The plaque in Hamlet Court Road marks a house where David Jack, whose success as England captain was matched by his failure as Blues manager, grew up.

The pair may not be household names, but their stories give an insight into the club and town’s intertwined history.

Shrimpers Trust committee member Richard Coxell, who arranged for the plaques to be erected, said: “When people stop at the traffic lights at the Blue Boar they will see it and think, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that’.

“People in the town may support other clubs, but hopefully this will remind them that some quite heavy-hitters have lived in the town.”

Oliver Trigg, who died in 1919 aged 42, was one of several businessmen whose desire to better Southend pushed the town forward around the turn of the century.

Mr Trigg was a well-known Southend publican. His father, William, owned the now-demolished Ship Hotel, in Marine Parade, one of the oldest pubs in the town, and Oliver held the licence to the Ivy House Hotel, now Chinnerys, and the Foresters Arms, both also in Marine Parade, as well as the Blue Boar.

A keen amateur sportsman and patron of sport, Mr Trigg installed a boxing room at the Ivy House Hotel, now used by Chinnerys to host bands from around the country, and a billiards room at the Blue Boar.

Mr Trigg and a band of fellow enthusiasts decided to set up a professional club at the Blue Boar on May 19, 1906, and the landlord successfully got it admitted to the Southern and South Eastern League.

He hoped the team would help put the fledgling tourist town on the map and the club would become as famous as Southend Pier.

The businessman signed Scot Bob Jack as manager, who set up home for his wife and three children, Rollo, Donald and David, in Hamlet Court Road.

The children went to the Leigh Road School, later Hamlet Court School, at the corner of London Road, then Leigh Road, and Hamlet Court Road.

The spectacularly-named David Bone Nightingale Jack (it was Scottish tradition to use previous family surnames as middle names) grew up to be one of the best footballers of the era, winning the FA cup and league title, scoring the first goal at Wembley Stadium and captaining England.

He returned to Southend to manage Southend United from 1934 to 1940, but unfortunately his stint as coach was less impressive than his playing career.

Mr Coxell said: “We have had two of the best ever England players as managers, Bobby Moore and David Jack – and they have both failed abysmally!”

By the Nineties, the Blue Boar’s pivotal part in the Blues’ history was all but forgotten and the derelict building, which now housed pigeons rather than drinkers, was earmarked for demolition.

The football club was in similar financial dire straits. The fledgling Shrimpers Trust decided to install blue plaques around the town so the Blues’ history would live on – even if the club folded.

The fans installed a plaque on Mr Jack’s childhood home, perhaps more in recognition of his success as a player than as manager.

When the Blue Boar was retained and renovated, albeit as a smaller pub surrounded by new flats, the trust installed a blue plaque on its wall to remind fans of its role in the club’s founding.

Mr Coxell, 61, of Redcliff Drive, Leigh, said: “Once you have lost it, you have lost it.

“There was a lot of talk of knocking the Blue Boar down.

It was derelict with pigeons flying into the roof. The developer took me in and it was disgraceful.

“Generally the town has no concept of its history at all. It has quite an important history and the club was developed by the great and good when it was booming.

“The people, and it wasn’t just Oliver Trigg, wanted a football club that when people said ‘Southend’, theywould think of the pier and Southend United.”

The trust has now restored the plaques to keep the memories alive.