Southend mud pitch

January 1, 1957
Liverpool have put back their normal Tuesday night board meeting until to-morrow evening, owing to New Year. This will also give them an extra 24 hours for the latest report on Roy Saunders. It is expected that he will have recovered from his bruised ankle injury in time to come into consideration. No other first-team player is under treatment at the moment.

One of the biggest handicaps which may face the Anfielders at the Roots Hall ground of Southend United may turn out to be the state of the pitch. Last year’s fourth round meeting between Southend and the eventual Cup winners, Manchester City, was notable not so much for the standard of football as the appalling state of the playing surface. It was almost a sea of mud, and reduced both teams to the same level. So much so, indeed, that City were lucky to get through by the only goal, and would not have achieved that had it not been for the brilliant goalkeeping of Bert Trautman.

My Southend correspondent advises me that it is likely Liverpool will have to face the same bad conditions, for the long-range weather forecast indicates plenty of rain in the next few days in the south-east.

Saturday’s game against Coventry City, which Southend lost, was marred by the waterlogged pitch. There were large pools of water all over the surface, and the slimy mud made ball control and accurate passing extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Southend do not look upon their ground as any help, however. In fact, they are said to be at their best on form surfaces, and most of their good performances this season, from a footballing sense have been on away grounds.

No change expected
Southend escaped serious injury on Saturday, and as they have no game to-day their line-up is expected to be unchanged. Generally the side is the same as that which took them to fourth place in the Southern Section last season.

The team is expected to be: Harry Threadgold, Arthur Williamson, Henderson, Jim Dutchie, Jimmy Stirling, Jimmy Lawler, Gordon Barker, Sammy McCrory, Roy Hollis, Jimmy Thomson, Johnny McGuigan.

Southend are not undertaking any special training programme.

Their practice games will be carried out on a pitch in a nearby park, in order to save the Roots Hall surfaces as much as possible.

Groundsmen will be working throughout the daylight hours all week to get the pitch in the best condition possible.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: January 1, 1957)

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