RELEGATION from the Football League came as no surprise for Southend United on Saturday.

But that did not make a second successive demotion feel any less painful once it was finally confirmed.

Blues have not been good enough, on or off the pitch, for quite some time now.

And the current campaign has seen them fall to the lowest point in the club’s entire history.

For the first time in 101 years, the Shrimpers will find themselves out of the Football League and the long list of reasons as to why are by now well known.

Everything which could have been mismanaged simply has been and Blues cannot have any complaints about their depressing demise into the non-league game.

Poor managerial appointments, transfer embargoes, fragile finances, appalling recruitment and a lack of structure and solid infrastructure have all been major factors in the Shrimpers falling down the Leagues alongside a real lack of urgency and planning.

And it is simply heartbreaking to see.

This is a club which means so much to so many people, including myself, and the most recent struggles have been so tough to take.

Following the fortunes of a lower league club, nobody expects to be winning every week.

But, in recent memory, it has just been the most dire and depressing downward spiral.

And every time you thought it could not get any worse, it did.

The fun has long gone from watching this football and the adrenaline and excitement I had long felt seeing the Shrimpers has been replaced by an unwilling acceptance of expecting the inevitable.

Defeats started to hurt slightly less because they had become so regular and, for the first time ever watching my hometown club, I felt almost numb witnessing what was unfolding in front of me.

Adding to that, came a strange feeling of detachment and it no longer felt like the team I have long been in love with.

I won’t be the only way feeling that way and the superb fans Southend still possess are being let down in the biggest way possible.

Mistakes have not been learnt from and are instead repeated time and time again alongside a persistent papering of cracks which has now been exposed.

Right now, I remain fearful for the future but next season must start now if this is to stop the rot and get Blues back on track.

For far too long, the Shrimpers have continually been forced to play catch up.

Signings seem to have taken an eternity, along with managerial appointments and the team just never seems prepared for the start of the campaign.

That was once again the case this season and six points from the first 15 games speaks for itself.

The National League will be incredibly tough next term and talks surrounding the managerial situation should already be underway.

Phil Brown has picked up eight points in five games since coming back to the club and had he been in charge for longer it does seem like he could have led the side to survival.

But discussions must start with him now for next season and if he agrees to stay then hopefully he can continue the improved points ratio.

However, if he opts against a permanent return to Roots Hall then there still needs to be a quick appointment.

Pre-season then needs to be planned properly, along with contract negotiations and player recruitment if more misery is to be avoided.

Furthermore, the structure needs to be strengthened behind the scenes with either a chief executive or a director of football coming in.

There needs to be more professionalism around the place and chairman Ron Martin simply cannot continue to try and do everything by himself.

The proposed new stadium saga has perhaps become the main focus but it now needs to be the footballing side because things have never been this bad this Blues.

And what Martin does next will have a huge say in the immediate future of the club which now finds itself at a crossroads.

Invest in the right areas and the right people and the Shrimpers could slowly start to turn things around.

But get things wrong again and non-league football will become the new norm.