FOOTBALL can often be capable of conjuring up a wide range of emotions.

In years gone by excitement, adrenaline and happiness were all sampled by those following the fortunes of Southend United.

But all of that seems a million miles away right now and such was the sadness I felt in the aftermath of Saturday’s setback at Solihull Moors I genuinely felt I could have cried.

Perhaps the saddest thing of all was that the defeat, the shot-shy performance and slumping to another new low is perhaps to be expected every Saturday at this stage.

But, even in the real-life soap opera that is Southend United, Saturday’s events were truly extraordinary.

Events on the field, for once, were not the main talking point but they did at least create understandable frustration for the travelling supporters who again turned up in big numbers.

An own goal from Shaun Hobson and a second half penalty from James Ball saw Solihull win the first ever meeting between the two teams.

But, what followed the hosts’ second goal could well be the strangest thing I have ever witnessed in my 33 years watching Southend.

Blues fans behind the goal angrily chanted for under-fire chairman Ron Martin to quit the club and also aimed a number of obscenities in his direction.

But Martin bizarrely opted to leave the directors box and headed behind the goal, to stand right next to the fuming fans, midway through the second half.

Martin’s emergence enraged the supporters even further and he was soon led away by Solihull’s security staff before it also appeared he was talked out of heading back for a second time.

Quite what Martin thought heading into the away end was going to achieve still remains a puzzling thought.

Perhaps the Blues chairman thought it was a show of strength or a sign of not hiding away from the mounting criticism.

But his bizarre behaviour was misguided and downright dangerous given the already hostile atmosphere. And it could well have sparked far uglier scenes among the supporters.

After that, a small group of Southend fans also clashed with Phil Brown and his backroom team at the final whistle and I have never felt sadder watching the Shrimpers.

Suddenly, writing pre-match previews, injury updates or transfer rumours seems pretty much pointless for a club in crisis.

Blues have dropped an unbelievable 59 league places since January 2019.

But make no mistake about it, things could still get worse. Because, after suffering back to back relegations, the Shrimpers are already facing another fight to stay up and dropping down into National League South is more than possible given the current climate.

On the pitch, Blues lack quality, creativity and athleticism but the whole club is gripped by all-conquering negativity which makes it close to impossible to provide the platform needed for players to be at their best.

The long list of problems could, in fact, fill these pages alone but how on earth does this appalling situation improve and how do the Shrimpers turn things around?

There is no sudden solution where that is concerned but the fault lies solely at the feet of Martin and the chairman needs to show he does care about the club and not just the prospect of a new stadium.

That, rather than Saturday’s odd antics, would be the best way to appease angry supporters, especially as it remains incredibly unlikely he will look to leave at this stage.

But, sadly Blues are something of a laughing stock in footballing circles nowadays and the club’s reputation now lies in tatters.

I left Solihull’s stadium on Saturday questioning how much more I could take when it came to following the Shrimpers.

And, for the first time ever, I genuinely do not know if I would attend Tuesday night's match with Eastleigh if I did not have to.

That again saddens me but what was once a proud club is now a toxic embarrassment with no signs of promise or any signs of positivity.

Fans still attending, I believe, must be among the very best in the country.

But the next generation of supporters will be looking elsewhere given the fears surrounding the future of the club.

And, for me, that is the biggest crying shame of all.