Southend boss Phil Brown said individuals need to take a look at themselves and accept responsibility for their part in the team’s failure after the Shrimpers’ 101-year stay in the Football League came to an end.
United were relegated to the National League despite fighting back to beat Barrow 2-1 on Saturday, goals from John White and Terrell Egbri cancelling out Scott Quigley’s opener.
It was Brown’s 100th victory as Southend manger but the 61-year-old, who recently returned to Roots Hall for a second spell in charge, will take little solace from that.
“It’s not time for tears,” said Brown, who has been in charge of the last five games.
“It’s time for looking back at the season and asking yourself if you could have done anymore individually and collectively.
“We all go home and have those dark hours staring at the wall or looking at the mirror when you think ‘I’ve let myself down, my team-mates down, my family down and the club’.
“How many of them will do that I don’t know, but they’re the only ones I’m interested in.
“They’ve got to take responsibility for what this club hasn’t achieved.
“We’re all responsible, I feel responsible.
“I’ve had five games and I thought six was going to be enough but it’s proven not to be.”
Barrow, who had already secured their League status, went in front in the 19th minute when Quigley raced onto Luke James’ through ball to slot home his 15th goal of the season.
However, Southend reacted strongly and drew back level on the half-hour mark when Ricky Holmes’ right-wing free-kick was powered home on the volley by Shrimpers skipper White.
The visitors continued to battle and went in front in the 52nd minute when Egbri battled his way through two defenders before unleashing a long-range effort which Barrow goalkeeper Joel Dixon somehow fumbled over his own goal-line.
But, with Scunthorpe drawing 0-0 at Bradford, Southend will be in the National League next season.
And Brown will now have to decide whether or not to extend his spell in charge.
“If we can be competitive from a budget point of view that might be enough to attract me and players to the football club who can compete,” said Brown.
“Would I like to be involved in that challenge? Absolutely.”
Barrow, in contrast, are now planning for another season in League Two and boss Rob Kelly was not too critical of the display against Southend.
“Both the goals we gave away were disappointing and I think it was just a game too far for us at the moment,” said Kelly.
“We invested a lot emotionally and physically on Tuesday (win at Forest Green).
“We tried to freshen it up but it just wasn’t to be. It was a 90 minutes too much for us at this stage.
“They’re human beings and we’ve been under pressure for a long time.”