SEVERAL staff members at Southend United have been forced to overcome tricky situations this season.

And the person responsible for putting together the match highlights for Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Woking is certainly the latest to fall into that category.

Put simply, hardly anything happened and I’m genuinely struggling to remember a more uneventful encounter involving the Shrimpers.

There have been disappointing displays and defeats down the years.

But there was next to no action at either end of the field at Roots Hall at the weekend and, for the first time ever, I had to include bookings in the match action panel to fit the template!

However, so bad was the game that it is simply not worth dwelling on or delving too deeply into.

A variety of factors could have contributed to what transpired but the best course of action seems to move on and quickly consign it to the past while also aiming to immediately improve.

The share of the spoils, which in fairness did make it 10 matches unbeaten for Blues, came in the first match since Kevin Maher was handed the freedom of the city.

And that is certainly something worth dwelling on.

Maher became just the third person to ever receive that level of recognition at a special ceremony held at the Civic Centre on Thursday night.

And, in doing so, it shone a light on just how the Shrimpers have been able to escape what had appeared to be never ending darkness.

Off the pitch, much of this season and certainly the months preceding it were horrific.

The problems could fill these pages alone and, put together, seriously put the club’s future at risk.

Huge doubts surrounded whether or not the Shrimpers would be allowed to start the season.

And I have had it confirmed from those in positions of power that Blues were indeed just 10 minutes away from being removed from the National League before a ball had even been kicked.

The problems did not stop there and I am still not sure quite how the Shrimpers survived a High Court appearance in late August.

But when the going gets tough the tough get going as they say and that was certainly the case with Southend United.

Staff stayed despite going three months without pay, players remained without being able to sign proper contracts and supporters continued to back Blues in big, big numbers.

It was not fun following the Shrimpers throughout the turbulent times.

Supporters could easily have been forgiven for walking away and finding something else to do on a Saturday afternoon.

I certainly found it difficult to deal with but for me as long as there was Kevin Maher there was hope.

I knew players would stay loyal to him and that the team would continue to give their all to the club which in turn would give fans something to back and believe in.

As Dorking manager Marc White said the other week, 99 per cent of head coaches would have walked away from the situation Maher faced with the Shrimpers.

But he became the glue which very much kept the club stuck together and I genuinely believe Blues would not still be here now if he had opted to leave.

Maher’s departure, especially at such an emotive time, would have seen several others following in his foot-steps and would probably have been regarded as the last straw for many.

But he dug deep and, in doing so, also made the club a more attractive proposition for those wanting to invest.

Every single member of the consortium brought up their admiration for Maher in the interviews I conducted and being 11th in the table, amid all of the issues, is also quite something to behold.

Throw in Maher’s achievements as Shrimpers skipper during his 10 years as a player here, plus a further four as under 23s coach and he definitely does deserve the freedom of the city.

Quite scarily, I have now been interviewing Maher for 25 years and know only too well the way in which he is able to bring the best out of those around him and just how much this club does mean to him.

As such, Maher has long been a figurehead for the Shrimpers on and off the pitch and, whatever happens from here, that should never be forgotten – unlike Saturday of course!