THE Southend United Ex-Players Association is about to embark on another new venture.

SUEPA is close to having 500 members on board.

And Andy Leeder, who organises SUEPA on behalf of the Shrimpers Trust, is now setting up a club for the former players to be able to meet more regularly.

Leeder explained: “The club is a chance for former Southend United players from any era and any playing level to get together, share memories, renew friendships, and make new friends, all with the common bond of having once graced the Roots Hall turf.

“We may also look to provide talks on various subjects at future meetings and shows videos.”

SUEPA is now six years old and proudly believe they are the world's largest former players group.

And Leeder sees having a regular forum for ex-Shrimpers to meet up as a natural progression.

“Announcing this in the wake of a new tide of optimism at Roots Hall also seems to make the timing right,” said Leeder.

“Indeed we see this as just one of many ways of us working in partnership with our club to recognise the past and bring it to life.”

Leeder was keen to acknowledge the help given by the football club for use of their newly refurbished d2 Lounge and also to the Blue Boar for sponsoring light refreshments at the meetings.

Leeder added: “For our first meeting we have already had a number of our SUEPA members confirm their attendance, for which there is no charge.

“If there are any more former Southend United players out there who would like to attend then we would encourage them to contact us, ideally via email at”

The first former players club meeting is on Wednesday 13 March, between 2pm and 4pm, at Roots Hall.