FORMER Southend United striker James Lawson is still reminded of his role in beating Manchester United on a daily basis.

Lawson came off the bench in the second half to help Blues beat a star studded United side at Roots Hall back in 2006.

And Lawson’s friends will never let him forget about coming face to face with Ronaldo.

“My mates bring it up every day, even now,” laughed Lawson.

“At the time Ronaldo was one of the most hated figures in the country because it wasn’t long after the World Cup when he got Wayne Rooney sent off.

“I remember him getting booed but when we played him I don’t think anyone realised just how good he was back then.”

However, there was no doubting the quality of Manchester United’s manager.

“One of the best things for me was Sir Alex Ferguson being there,” said Lawson, 33.

“He’s an absolute legend in football and you definitely knew how good he was at the time as well.

“I’ve seen the stat that Southend are the only club he ever managed against and didn’t beat so what a game to be involved with.”

Ferguson selected a strong side for the League Cup tie at Roots Hall with 10 internationals facing the Shrimpers.

But Lawson remembers Blues did not initially believe the players they would be facing.

“We all thought it would be Man United B but Steve Tilson came in with the team-sheet and he started reading out their line up,” said Lawson.

“We all thought he was winding us up and we didn’t believe him until he showed us the team-sheet.

“When we saw it though it was game on and I think it got us even more up for it.

“I’m sure Southend fans will remember that win for a very long time and it has to be one of the best moments they’ve ever had because it has to be one of the best cup wins anyone has ever had.

“For Freddy Eastwood to score as well was brilliant.

“He was one of our best players and he deserved that goal because he got us up the leagues in many ways.”

Lawson’s memorable appearance against Man United proved to be his last for the Shrimpers.

But he burst onto the scene to begin with, scoring two goals in his first three starts.

“So much happened so quickly when I was young,” said Lawson, who came through the youth ranks at Roots Hall.

“I made my debut when I was 17 and I was breaking into squads when we won promotion from League Two.

“We went up to into League One and that was one of the best years I had.

“I was only 18 at the time and I must have made about 25 appearances when we won the League.”

Lawson scored against both Oldham Athletic and Tranmere Rovers and still holds special memories about how they were created.

“One of my favourite memories is that Mitchell Cole set me up for both goals,” said Lawson.

“He’s very sadly no longer with us and I was close to him so that brings everything into perspective really with life and football.”

Lawson went on to make 31 appearances for the Shrimpers but was unable to continue his strong start.

“I came into football with a no stress, no trouble approach but things started to get onto me a lot more,” said Lawson.

“The pressure got to me and there were things that happened to me a bit later in my career with injuries so I fell out of love with football quite quickly because of all of the politics really.

“I had potential but it didn’t work out for me and it doesn’t work out for loads of people.

“I was always worried about my life after football too.

“I probably looked into it too much when really as a footballer you have to put everything into it and be a bit more a free spirit. “ Lawson spent time on loan with Grimsby and Bournemouth while with Blues before he dropped down into non-league and soon started to carve out an alternative career initially due to an injury.

“When I left Southend I played for a few non league clubs but suffered a cruciate ligament injury,” said Lawson.

“I had to have a double operation and was out of football for about a year and a half.

“Before I left school I was going to take a course in electrical installation so when I was injured my mum suggested I got back into that.

“I got passed out as a fully qualified electrician and combined that with playing part time football when I was fit again.”

But Lawson is now purely focused on his work and his family, which includes three young sons.

“I’ve got my own business these days,” said Lawson.

“I got guys who work for me and we do new build developments.

“It’s good and I’ve got three boys now as well.

“One of them is really into his football already.

“I think he would love to follow in my footsteps and one day maybe he could play for Southend as well. That would be really nice.”

Lawson still lives locally in Basildon and is keen to see Blues get back on track.

“Southend as a club deserves a new stadium,” said Lawson.

“They have a great fanbase and a new ground would really put the club on the map.

“They’ve been struggling the last few years and it’s such a shame.

“It would be great if they could replicate what we had and personally I’d love to see Adam Barrett as manager because he would bring everyone together.

“A new stadium would also help and I’ll be keeping an eye on that because I’d like to come back and do the electrics for it!”