KEVIN Maher is rightly regarded as a Southend United legend due to his successful 10 year spell with the Shrimpers.

But the former midfielder once had to tell his family to stop coming to his matches at Roots Hall.

Maher made skippered Blues to two successive promotions during a memorable spell for the club.

However, the 42-year-old got off to a tough start with Southend.

“I came in during January and did alright during the remainder of that season but we got relegated and the next year was really tough for me,” said Maher, who is now under 23 team coach with the Shrimpers.

“Alan Little came in and to be fair to him he just said to me that for my own benefit I should get out of here and play games.

“The fans were on my case too.

“I came here not long after Mike Marsh but I was only 21 at the time and it was a culture shock coming from Tottenham.

“At times I would be on the ball and there would be nothing on.

“I didn’t have a passing option but at times it would look like it was me couldn’t play.

“It was really difficult and I actually ended up telling my parents not to come to the games because of the stick I was getting.

“It was that bad and it was really difficult for me.

“Alan mentioned that too when saying it might be better if I left.”

Maher was therefore made available for transfer and Little was keen for the midfielder to join non-league Kettering before the former Tottenham Hotspur trainee eventually turned things around.

“At one stage he tried to make me join Kettering but I didn’t want to go,” said Maher.

I got my head down and went through what I would have to do to change.

“It was run, chase, tackle and going back to the basics.

“I got myself back in, I won the fans over a bit and was playing more regularly again. I changed Alan Little’s mind a bit got a new deal and then David Webb came in.”

But Maher told the ‘Have I Got Blues For You Podcast’ it was also a culture shock when he first joined the Shrimpers.

“I remember signing on a Thursday, Burnley away was our first game and we trained at the side of the hotel on the concrete which was an eye opener coming from Tottenham,” said Maher.

“After the game I was taking the strapping off my ankles and Johnny Gowens the physio came up to me after the game when I was taking it off and told me we would have to wash them and use them again!”

The full interview with Kevin Maher is available on this week’s podcast with more stories to follow on here.