ALAN Little cannot wait to see two of his former teams in action tomorrow, but is saddened it will not be happening in the Football League.

Little lined up as both a player and a manager for Southend United and Halifax Town during his lengthy spell in football.

But he feels both clubs have the potential to be featuring in a far higher division.

“They’re two big clubs,” said Little.

“Southend in particular has the potential to be a massive club.

“I thought when I was there as a manager there were possibilities for that to happen but it didn’t quite work out.

“To see both clubs in the Conference isn’t nice, especially when you’ve played in the League for them both. York City, another of my former clubs, are now below the Conference and it’s really sad to see the demise of these clubs today.

“I just hope they can make it back.”

But Little is confident Blues can work their way back into the Football League with Phil Brown in charge.

“I think Southend have the right manager for that to happen,” stressed Little.

“He’s got great experience and I hope they can get themselves sorted out.

“I wish him the best and hope he gets success there.

“I don’t know the circumstances down there.

“It’s been 20 years since I’ve been there but I still love football.”

Little’s long career initially started with him coming through the youth ranks at Aston Villa.

But it was with the Shrimpers, who he joined in 1974, where he first started to find his feet in football. “Southend was a joy,” said Little.

“It was my first move and I was only 20 I think.

“I left Aston Villa and played 100 games but it was fantastic and I loved it.

“The fans were great and, we didn’t really get a lot of success, but it was a good group of lads.

“I really enjoyed it there and it was a good club.

“Arthur Rowley was the manager and he’s quite a famous gentleman with his history in football. I cut my teeth there and it was where I learnt my trade really.”

Little went on to make more than 400 appearances during his career before moving into management.

And that eventually led to him returning to Roots Hall as manager in 1999.

Little stopped the Shrimpers from being relegated and had his team well placed in the fourth tier when he was relieved of his duties in September 2000.

“I thought I had unfinished business and we were riding high at the time,” recalled Little.

“I think we were fourth in the table after 10 games but the club required a change of direction.

“That’s the hard life of football really and I had to accept that.

“I thought I’d built something and I kept them in the league when I arrived with eight or nine games to go.

“I brought a few players in and I thought we were on the edge of something pretty good.

“We were playing well but it changed and that’s life. I have no regrets and no malice towards anyone about it.

“It’s a part of football and you’ve got to accept that.”

Little went on to take charge of Halifax but that proved to be his last managerial post.

And the 66-year-old is now enjoying his retirement.

“I retired in December and I’m living in Yorkshire,” said Little.

“I worked for 52 years but I’m enjoying going out on my E-bike and doing things around the house now.

“I went out of football in about 2001 after I had 32 years in it.

“My time was up and I accept that.

“You think you’re going to get back in but it doesn’t always happen so I adjusted.

“I got work and I was happy to do that.

“I’m quite content with what I’ve done in football but I still enjoy it so much and I go and watch Sheffield Wednesday every week.”

But, this weekend, Little will be at the Shay.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing two clubs who are going to fight it out,” said Little.

“Hopefully we’ll see a good game and the best team will win.

“But I wouldn’t like to say who I think will win because I haven’t got a clue!"