Next Southend United Manager: Why appointing Henrik Larsson would be a massive gamble

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 18 September 2019, 11:19

Southend United’s search for a new manager has so far spanned just under two weeks.

The Blues have been hotly linked with their former player and current Millwall first team coach Adam Barrett, plus Phil Parkinson and Sol Campbell, who all still feature in the upper echelons of the next Southend manager market.

In the aftermath of Kevin Bond’s exit, Gary Waddock was placed in charge of the first team, and the former Wycombe boss subsequently picked up Southend's first point of the season in a 3-3 thriller against Fleetwood.

In the build-up to his second game - Tuesday’s 4-3 defeat to Shrewsbury - it was reported by Sky Sports News that the club had temporarily suspended their manager search in order to give Waddock the chance to impress in the dugout.

However, fans woke up on Wednesday morning to discover that a surprise new name had entered into the betting, Henrik Larsson, with the Swedish legend a 10/1 shot to replace Bond at Roots Hall.

The former Barcelona, Celtic and Man Utd star first entered into management nine years ago with Swedish second division side Landskrona BoIS, the main rivals of Helsingborg, with whom he previously played for.

In three seasons at the helm his troops finished 5th, 10th and 6th.

Larsson returned to the dugout in 2013 with Falkenberg, where he spent a single season, during which the club preserved their top-flight status by a single point.

In 2015 he returned to Helsingborg as manager but suffered relegation and left after one season after his son - a player at the club - was attacked by fans.

He came back for a second spell in June but left after a couple of months, this time he departed after receiving abuse from supporters.

Larsson is now a shock contender for the Southend job, with the Daily Mail reporting that the League One strugglers want to hire him as their fourth permanent manager in less than two years.

While Larsson deservedly held an iconic status as a player, his venture into management hasn’t exactly set the world alight.

He has a relegation on his CV, failed to mount a serious promotion challenge in Sweden’s second-tier, and has never managed outside of his homeland.

Appointing Larsson would undoubtedly attract a lot of attention and interest but given that Southend are yet to win, only have a point to their name, and are already five points adrift of safety it would be considered somewhat of a gamble to throw him in at the deep end.

Caretaker Waddock (2/1) deserves the opportunity to bolster his chances, otherwise Parkinson (14/1) would be a real managerial coup for the club, although he may not fancy it considering that he only left fellow third-tier strugglers Bolton last month.

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