A spokesperson for the Football Association has confirmed that Southend United have been fined for fielding an under-strength team for the last thirty years. 

FA Chief Executive Sir Edward Carveup added: ‘The rules of the game clearly state that unless there are exceptional circumstances, all Premier League and Football League clubs are required to field their strongest possible team at all times.’

‘We have analysed Southend United’s teamsheets since 1986, and we noticed a number of concerning names including Andy Sussex and Dave Regis. These did not look like the starting elevens of a team who had any intention of winning anything.’

‘At one stage they even fielded something called a Phil Gridelet for multiple matches. They might as well have just given every opposing team a 3-0 head start.’

A board member for the Shrimpers said: ‘We are disgusted with the decision of the FA on this occasion. Once again a lower league team is being financially penalised at a time when budgets have never been tighter.’

‘This £3000 fine is going to have a very serious knock-on effect for the club. We may have to postpone our move to a new stadium until at least 2042.’

In a late development, a source within the FA also confirmed that an investigation has been opened into the managerial appointments of Steve Wignall and David Webb (the fourth time).