1. ITV Report

Brown looking forward to Southend's big day out

Southend manager Phil Brown chats with the media today Photo: ITV Anglia

Southend United's new manager Phil Brown believes common sense has prevailed after former boss Paul Sturrock turned down the chance to lead the team for the Johnstone's Paints Trophy Final.

Sturrock lost his job at Roots Hall a few weeks after Southend reached the final against Crewe.

The opportunity to take charge at Wembley came from chairman Ron Martin, but that was politely declined by Sturrock last week.

Speaking at Southend's media day ahead of Sunday's final, Brown said, ''I've had a lot of feedback from Paul, and as a man he's made the right decision. He's moved on.

"It was an offer which was made because of the unusual circumstances we found ourselves in. A manager coming in, two weeks down the line he's going to Wembley. It sort of doesn't ring true.

"But at the same time those are the facts. And I think Paul has come to the right decision, in my opinion. The offer was still on the table but he declined it. But he'll be in the stands, and he'll probably be a very proud man on the day, and rightly so. But I thnk common sense has prevailed, and lets just get on with the game.''

Southend have sold more than 30,000 tickets to fans for the club's first appearance at Wembley for a cup final. They have appeared in three finals at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium, twice in this competition.

But Brown says it's vital that his players play the game rather than the occasion.

''You've got to try and blank out all of that. Block it out of your mindset, your psychology for your preparation for the game because at the end of the day its about ninety minutes," Brown added.

"Cross the white line, eleven v eleven. Anything can happen. Referees can get red cards out, there could be penalties, there could be all sorts happening on the day. But you have to play the game of football and not the fact that we've got thirty-one thousand fans there.''

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