Sol Campbell leaves Southend United as manager by mutual consent

Sol Campbell has left his job as the Southend manager by mutual consent. The former England defender, who saved Macclesfield from relegation into the National League in 2018-19 – his first post in management – took over at Southend last October, with the club having won only once in League One.

As at Macclesfield, who were bottom of League Two when he accepted the job in November 2018, Sol Campbell committed to working within severe financial restrictions; Southend would not be able to make any signings in January.

Sol Campbell gave debuts to nine academy youngsters and he was credited with creating a more solid structure within the team. But he could not arrest the slide. He won three and drew five of 21 league games and, when the season was stopped prematurely because of the Covid-19 crisis, Southend were second from bottom. They were then relegated on points per game.

Campbells departure means that only five of the 91 Premier League and EFL clubs have BAME managers – Nuno Espírito Santo (Wolves), Sabri Lamouchi (Nottingham Forest), Darren Moore (Doncaster), Keith Curle (Northampton) and Dino Maamria (Oldham).

Sol Campbell, who won 73 caps and finished his playing career in 2012, completed his Uefa pro coaching licence with the Football Association of Wales. He had spells as the Trinidad & Tobago assistant coach and with the England Under-21s.

The 45-year-old has spoken out about the prejudices he has encountered in the fight for opportunity at the highest levels and Raheem Sterling, the Manchester City and England winger, recently questioned why Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard could land managerial jobs after hanging up their boots at Rangers and Derby respectively, whereas Campbell had to wait before starting at the very bottom. Lampard is now in charge of Chelsea.

Campbells backroom team of Hermann Hreidarsson, Andy Cole and Tony Colbert have also left Southend. “There are obviously frustrations with how the season ended abruptly and with what points we feel could have been amassed,” Campbell said. “However, the club have an exciting future with the plans for the new stadium in place. With the current global Covid situation having a profound effect on businesses, I am keen not to be a financial burden to the club.”