NEW Year’s Day is the 30th anniversary of one of the most striking moments in Southend United’s history.

For the first and only time in their history, the Shrimpers topped the old Second Division, then the second-highest level in English football.

Twelve players were part of the 4-0 demolition of Newcastle. For some it was arguably the high point of their careers. For others, European football and even international recognition would follow. Here is what happened to them next.


Paul Sansome was halfway through his nine-year spell at the club, and had been a key part of the side which had risen from the old Fourth Division. He stayed at Roots Hall until retiring in 1997, but returned for a brief spell in 2001 to provide goalkeeping cover.


Dean Austin had only been at the club for a year, after signing for a bargain £14,000 from non-league St Albans. He left for Spurs at the start of the next season, joining former Shrimper Justin Edinburgh.

Spencer Prior headed to Norwich in 1993 and was part of the first British side to beat Bayern Munich in their Olympiastadion. He also won the League Cup with Leicester before returning to Southend to finish his career.

After a spell with Huddersfield, Pat Scully spent the rest of his playing and management career over the Irish Sea, twice winning the League of Ireland First Division.

And of course Chris Powell went on to play for England - nine years later, at the age of 31. His fairytale career also saw him return to Southend as manager in 2018, and be part of Gareth Southgate’s England set-up which reached the 2020 European Championships final. 


Steve Tilson spent 10 years with the club until 1998, then returned as coach before a seven-year spell as manager. Today he heads the academy at Southend College.

But Keith Jones went further to pursue his management career. In 2006 he crossed the Atlantic to coach Atlanta Silverbacks Women.

John Cornwell left the game at age 29 in 1994, whereas Andy Ansah took a more eclectic route. This include being an assistant to Wayne Rooney’s Street Striker, playing a character called ‘Andy Ansah’ on the Sky One show Dream Team, and choreographing goal celebrations for the South African national side.


Ian Benjamin left for Luton at the end of the season, and went on to enjoy spells with Brentford and Wigan before moving into management. He later returned to Roots Hall as a scout.

And Brett Angell became a target for big clubs, after netting 21 Second Division goals that season. Everton signed him permanently after two loan spells, and he played for another 10 clubs throughout the divisions, although he was never quite as prolific as he had been for Southend. 


Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and South Africa; these are just some of the countries Peter Butler has gone onto manage in since retiring as a player. He has also led the Botswana national side, and is currently in charge of Liberia. He was linked with the Southend job in the summer, and it’s hard to imagine a more experienced candidate.

Meanwhile the Shrimpers lost form as 1992 began, collecting just 18 points from their final 18 games. Their 12th placed finish was still the best in their history - but the club never came close to those heights again.