Blues On Tour “Southend Away” (formally known as Travelzone) takes fans all over the British Isles to Southend United away games. It’s sole aim is to provide a service that takes as many people to away games to support The Blues.
We are also very much a family. We welcome new fans onto the trips and always make everyone feel welcome. During our time as a non-profit organiser of coach trips we have taken fans to over 70 different stadiums, traveled over 100,000 miles (including Europe) and filled over 15,000 seat bookings. We are based in Southend-on-sea and pick up from many local areas including Westcliff, Leigh-on-sea, Hadleigh, Benfleet, Pitsea and Basildon. We are active on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook where you can follow us for up to the date information.
On the 4th July 2019, Travelzone ceased to exist and a committee was formed to re-launch the coach service.
A rebranding arrangement was rolled out for what is now formally be knows as Blues On Tour “Southend Away”. This will be run by the same familiar faces you already know. More information about this can be found HERE.
On this website you can find out lots of information about Blues On Tour “Southend Away” including galleries containing pictures from our trips, fan reviews and much more.
Below is a brief history into away travel for Southend United, it’s roots and how fans used to travel.
The Origins of Southend United Travel
- Saturday 9th October 1920 – Queens Park Rangers vs Southend United
The game was played in a cup tie atmosphere with 14,000 in attendance including many from Southend. Nearly 300 went by charabanc (an example of a charabanc shown below), while others journeyed there from Southend, Leigh and Westcliff by train, and many hundreds whose vocations are in the City also attended. In all their must have been 700 or 800 present who certainly made there presence felt
Charabancs had become a popular mode of transport by the 1920’s original they had been horse drawn. but now they were similar to the one on Southend Sea front pictured left, and could seat about twenty to thirty passengers. They were often open top which on a good day must have been an excellent way of travelling, in wet or windy conditions perhaps they were not for the less hardy. As time went by a roof was added which could hold luggage and then finally windows added to make it more like a modern coach. For the Palace game it said we took some hundreds of supporters travelled by charabanc, which would have been quite some convoy. Although of course it would have been dark for the return journey.
- Good Friday 25th March 1921 – Gillingham vs Southend United
The men of Essex invaded Kent on Good Friday, it was some invasion too, Gillingham being the venue of the attack. The only means of travel not brought in operation was the Aeroplane. Invasion parties started off as early as eight o’clock by train and thence onwards they continued in steady stream until the luncheon hour by boat, taxi, motors, charabancs and trains. A flotilla of seven motor boats left the Southend shore for Chatham between 10.30 and 11.15 headed by the largest and most comfortable the “Julia Freak” under Commodore H. Simkins.
These boats alone must have convoyed at least 600 people to Kent and if one could had selected a day for a water trip in the treacherous tides of March one could not have picked a more charming one. The weather was as warm as Summer, the air delightful the sea as calm as a mill pond while the return journey in the evening was not cold and rendered all the more pleasing by the moonlight night. From Sheerness up the Medway the journey was extremely interesting as a study of battleships and destroyers both ancient and modern. One also saw just a mask sticking up from the water a grim reminder of the ill fated “Bulwark” which was blown up in the early part of the war in 1914.
Chatham was reached about 1 o’clock and on arrival there one could almost imagine you was in Southend High Street, for nearly every person you met was a Southender. Many of the Chatham Hotels were eaten out of house and home. On the Gillingham ground the scene was even more striking. Out of the first 4,000 on the ground the majority seemed to be Southend supporters, while there were countless Essex motors, taxis and charabancs. Wearers of the Blue rosette seemed to monopolise quite half the grandstand and more than a moiety of the reserved enclosures and there were the usual horns, bells, rattles and other instruments of torture. Many – a little previous – beguiled the waiting moments by singing the ode of Cock Robin as applied to Gillingham. It is difficult to estimate the strength of the Southend invading force from all sources but I would be very surprised if it were under 2,000. In all my experience with the Southend club I never remember an occasion when anything like the number of local people attending an away game.
Credit: From the Southend Standard 31st March 1921
- Saturday 7th January 1922 – Worksop Town vs Southend United
Arrival of the Southend Special
Punctual to time the special had arrived from Southend but it must have been disappointing to Mr E. Grant to find that so few availed themselves of the facilities which he had provided and which fell so short of his guarantee. Probably the cheerless morning in Southend with snow falling made many change their minds and go back to a warm bed. Ninety seven availed themselves of the special and made a brave show with their favours, bell and other instruments of torture. All agreed they had a fine journey. Home enthusiasts had a dummy black cat tied with blue and white ribbons which they placed in front of the stand. The homesters also had a mascot in the shape of a fat little boy dressed in amber and black jersey and cap with white knickers, the home club colours and he kicked a ball about which was also painted in the same hues.
Credit: From the Southend Standard 12 January 1922
- Saturday 18th November 1922 – Sittingbourne vs Southend United
There must have a been a full 800 of the United’s loyal supporters, most of them wearing with a touch of pride, the colours of their team, who poured out of the station at Tilbury, crossed the River on the ferryboat, climbed the quaint old streets of Gravesend clustered together on the platform and passed the three quarters of an hour, in which they waited for a special, which would bear them to Sittingbourne, on roaring “Beaver” to any unfortunate gentleman who happened to wear a beard and in other forms of primitive but by no means ill-natured banter. Others went over by motor boat and charabanc. The homely little town of Sittingbourne was reached by one o’clock and by two, the ground at the back of the Bull Hotel was livelier than it had been for many a day. I was told that the holding capacity of the ground was 5,000 and it would have been extremely difficult to have given another hundred sight of the play. Nearly a thousand of United’s supporters made the by no means comfortable journey in order to cheer their favourites on to what they thought would be an easy victory. The crowd that jostled their way on to Midland Station were in radiant, optimistic holiday mood
Credit: From the Southend Standard 23rd November 1922
- Saturday 1st December 1923 Clapton vs Southend United
The tie was played at West Ham’s ground at Boleyn Castle, it probably proved as ruminative as if it had been staged at the Kursaal. There was a surprisingly good gate of about £16,000 people. Few clubs probably have such a loyal band of supporters as Southend and it was really amazing to see the number of local people present. In addition to train loads carried by the L.M. & S.R. Company hundreds journeyed down from the City and a low estimate of the Southend contingent was 4,000
Over 1,100 booked from Southend alone and it is estimated that the excursions carried 2,000. I noticed members of the Southend Corporation present representatives of the local medical profession and leaders of nearly every phase of life in the Borough. There were the horrid rattles, and in one instance I heard of a railway station bell having been borrowed for the afternoon. One party had a big black cat mascot/ There was no doubting the enthusiasm people and in the moment of victory they forgot the Kings Lynn fiasco. They made much noise however the United’s supporters were greatly outnumbered for the vast majority of the crowd was distinctly hostile to Southend and would dearly have loved to see the amateurs succeed.
Credit: From the Southend Standard 6th December 1923
- Saturday 30th October 1926 – Gillingham vs Southend United
The “New Prince of Wales” is considered to be the first pleasure vessel of more than 100 gross tons, built in 1923 for the Southend Motor Navigation Company, being shallow bottomed could leave from jetties at high tide or Southend Pier at low tide. It was a step up from the motor life boats used just after the war it could take 300 passengers on two decks which meant that those on the lower deck were under cover! It also had a licensed Bar on board. For the trip to Gillingham it left at 12.30 and the cost was 5s (25p) The cost of a pint of beer was 6d (2½p) so as a comparison the trip cost the equivalent of 10 pints of beer.
- Saturday 22th March 1930 – Brighton & Hove Albion vs Southend United
SUPPORTERS CLUB NOTES
The membership of the Southend Supporters Club to date is 675 and it is hoped after the next home match it will jump to over 700 members. It is proposed to run an excursion of saloon coaches to Brighton on March 22nd, a start will be made at 10.30 and ladies and gentlemen wishing to make the journey are requested to leave their names at the Club office on the ground.
Credit: From the Southend Standard 27th February 1930
The open top Charabancs were now being replaced by Saloon Coaches similar to the Pullman Saloon as above and were considerably more comfortable than before, the picture on the right shows the interior of the coach.
- 11th January 1936 – Tottenham vs Southend United
Both the L.N.E.R. and the L.M.S. Companies are running excursions from Southend to Tottenham on Saturday next for the Cup-tie with the United. The L.N.E.R. announces a special through excursion to Northumberland Park leaving Southend 11.40 a.m. Prittlewell 11.43 Rochford 11.48 Hockley 11.55 Rayleigh 12.02 and Wickford 12.10 return fare 3s 6d (17½d) Season ticket holders (between Southend and Liverpool Street) may travel by this train by obtaining a 10d (4p) first class or 6½d (2½p) third class supplementary ticket. The L.M.S. train will run to South Tottenham leaving Shoeburyness 11.52 Thorpe Bay 11.57 Southend 12.07 Westcliff 12.11 Chalkwell 12.15 Leigh 12.19 Benfleet and arriving South Tottenham 13.13. The train returns from South Tottenham at 4.55.
Special facilities before and after the match at the Regal Cinema Restaurant, Fore Street, Edmonton, a few minutes from the ground: seating for 750 dancing for 100 couples, five course Lunch 1s 6d (7½P), Dainty Teas at 1s (5P) and 1s 6d. (7½P) Catering by Theatre and Cinema Caterers who cater at the Astoria, Southend.
Advertisement from the Southend Standard 9th January 1936.
- 29th April 1936 Clapton Orient vs Southend United
Multiways Ltd. were running coaches to the Clapton Orient v Southend United match on Thursday 29th April with a 6.30 p.m. kick-off, leaving Nelson Street at 4.30 p.m. calling at Westcliff, Leigh and Hadleigh 3/6d (17½p) return.
Westcliff Motor Services were also running coaches leaving Pier Hill, with the same times, same prices and same pick up points .
- 8th January 1955 – Everton vs Southend United
A special Buffet Car Train will depart from and return to the under mentioned stations on Saturday next. January 8th to and from Liverpool (Lime Street) at a return fare of 37s 6d (£1.87½p). Departing Shoeburyness at 6.30 a.m. stopping at all stations to Benfleet, and arriving at Liverpool (Lime Street) at 12.50 p.m. and departing 5.55 p.m. Railway Tickets and Football Stand tickets 7s 6d (37½p) and 5s (25p) are obtainable at supporters Club Office 57 London road, Southend but Football Stand Tickets are not available after 1 p.m. Thursday January 6th.
Subject all seats being taken by Wednesday January 5th, a 36 seater aircraft will leave the Municipal Airport in Rochford on Saturday morning next for the Airport at Liverpool. Transport to and from the Football Ground will be provided. Flying time approximately 1 hour 20 minutes. Cost per person £3 10s (£3.50). The Supporters Club band will be travelling on the special train with the 500 other supporters.
With special thanks and credit to the following:
- The forgotten Years of the Kursaal 1919 to 1934
- Southend United under the Shadow of War 1934 to 1946
- Southend United The Boom Years 1946 to 1955