Southend United owner Ron Martin has revealed the club performed ‘financial gymnastics’ in order to appoint Arsenal legend Sol Campbell as their new manager.
And he admits Campbell and his management team might well have thought, ‘what have we done’, after watching the Blues be humiliated at home in a 7-1 defeat to Doncaster Rovers just hours after signing the contract.
The former England centre-back was unveiled as the new manager of the in-trouble League One side on Tuesday.
He has been joined by his former Macclesfield Town assistant Hermann Hreidarsson and ex-Manchester United striker Andy Cole, as a forward and attacking coach.
Like when he took over at Macclesfield, where he departed as manager in August after keeping them in League Two, Campbell has been charged with saving Southend’s season.
The Essex-based side are already eight points from safety, with only crisis club Bolton keeping them off the foot of the table, and have taken just one point from their last four games.
Their 7-1 defeat only highlights the size of the problem Campbell has inherited but, in his appointment, club chief Martin has reason to be cheerful.
“I’d feel a lot more miserable if I didn’t have Sol and his team in place now,” he told talkSPORT host Jim White on Wednesday.
“We did financial gymnastics over the last 72 hours to get it done… but it’s a necessary investment.
“Sol, Herman and Andy Cole were there. The whole team there watching, probably wondering what they’d just done penning the contract!
“But apart from them being a really good team, these players are not that bad. There are some good players there, but they’re just not playing as team and they haven’t been on it. We actually started brightly yesterday, but it soon fell off a cliff after our first red.
“I really like Sol, I really like all of them actually. He’s not difficult to get on with, I like him. There’s an immediate affinity there.
“They all fit in very well and I think they’ll make an immediate impact. The players were in today at 11 o’clock – not as a punishment, he just wants to get into them quickly – and that’s important. They’re on it, so that’s great to see.
“They have to hit the ground running and they know that.”