JUST when will this agony end?

I cannot have been the only one connected with Southend United feeling that way in the aftermath of Saturday’s depressing 1-0 defeat at Torquay.

The setback was the Shrimpers’ third in succession and, in keeping with recent history, it came in the most painful way possible as Connor Lemonheigh-Evans netted in the last minute of normal time.

Blues’ brilliant travelling supporters rightly aired their frustrations at the final whistle and these are the toughest, darkest times any of us have seen following this football club.

I make no secret of my love for the Shrimpers and the number of matches I have missed in the past two decades can be counted on one hand.

But even I am starting to question just how much more of this I can take.

My memories of Andy Ansah, Ricky Otto and Stan Collymore and, in more recent times, Freddy Eastwood seem a lifetime ago right now.

And that excellence has now been replaced by embarrassed.

The damning statistics are by now well known as are the back to back relegations.

But, made no mistake about it, the Shrimpers could be involved in another relegation fight this season and a club pushing for the Championship back in 2017 could now be struggling to avoid dropping down to National League South.

A whole list of factors have contributed to the rapid decline.

Poor leadership, management and recruitment immediately spring to mind.

And, so bad have things become, that the club is now engulfed by deep and dark negativity which make it seemingly impossible for any kind of recovery to take place.

Players will not enjoy their football here and managing the Shrimpers must have become of the toughest tasks in football.

Not so long ago, Blues were a family club with the continuity and consistency needed to avoid constant struggle.

But, having had three managers in 15 years, it is now six different bosses in the space of 30 months.

Sure, some of those appointments left a lot to be desired.

But they cannot all be bad managers, can they?

After all, one of them worked alongside Gareth Southgate in the summer as England surged through to the final of the European Championship.

Sadly the Shrimpers can only dream of enjoying such excitement.

And the feelings watching Blues now dredges up are ones of painful sorrow and frustration.

I will always leave this comment piece until last to enable myself to properly control my emotions and to remain balanced when needed.

But it honestly breaks my heart to say that writing this now I still cannot think of one single positive surrounding the Shrimpers.

It has become almost torturous supporting a team that has triumphed just 17 times in 106 outings, taking 81 from a possible 318.

Perhaps a couple of signings might help but, at this stage, that seems similar to changing the colour of a front door of a house that is crumbling to pieces.

The problems at Blues are deep rooted and it is time for those responsible to build it back up again.

All eyes will now be on chairman Ron Martin and the club must come first.

Since 1906, Southend United have been a proud part of our town and community and it is imperative that remains the case for future generations.

For that to happen proper action is needed by the Roots Hall hierarchy and it is needed in the right areas too.

Never ending plans for a new stadium matter very little to me if I’m honest.

And, given the way in which things have been going, why would a new ground be needed for a side struggling to stay in the National League?

Perhaps some may see that as short-sighted but all I see right now is a club in deep danger.

Immediate action is required to restore the club to what it could and should be and those at the top must act in Blues’ best interests.

What we are all witnessing week after week is simply not acceptable and cannot be allowed to continue.

Investment is needed in the right areas to bring energy, creativity, speed, quality and most of all pride back to this club.

Because perhaps the biggest tale-tell sign of all is that I am relieved and happy that there is now no game until the start of October.

And that is simply something I never ever thought I would say.