Southend have signed defender Simon Francis on a three-year deal from Sheffield United.
Francis cost Sheffield United £200,000 from Bradford in 2004
The former Bradford man first met Southend boss Steve Tilson when playing for the Football League Under-21 side.
"Although Peter Taylor was the manager, Steve helped me out a lot and he seemed like a really nice guy," Francis told Southend's official website.
"It always helps that you have met the manager before you sign for a club and that was a big factor."