Some of you will know but most wont, that I work as a part time warden for Lincs. Wildlife Trust at the Donna Nook seal sanctuary. This is probably the best wildlife viewing area anywhere around but it is situated on the wild Lincolnshire coast, remote and open to the elements and reached by a single track "road". There are no facilities apart from a very small shop... and the seals. Why therefore did we attract over 6,500 visitor last Saturday and even more Sunday when the U's were able to attract only 3,200 for what was conceivably a local derby? I can remember when (here he goes I can hear you say, the good old days) I first started to support the U's, average gates were 9,000 and that was comfortable in Layer Road and often was a full family outing. With recent comments on this board it appears that the WHCS does not have the WOW factor to even attract the majority of the male of the species let alone families. Whenever I have been to WHCS, albeit very infrequently due to distance, I have found the ground funereal and without the character of Layer Road. Most of my supporting of the U's is now north of Watford but even this is likely to be less and less if during every away match we are subjected to foul mouthed youths who purport to be U's "supporters". I certainly would not take my wife to be subjected to the foul torrent of abuse that is interminable. Noah and I have discussed this at length on other threads and not always in agreement. Maybe the point I am trying to make is that very few, if any families attend together nowadays because of the atmosphere...or lack of it in the ground. I hope Saturday we can do away with abusive and foul mouthed chants at opposition and our own team members and get back to the basic meaning of "supporters". What am I trying to say? Difficult question really. We, being the U's must provide entertainment both on and off the pitch and to be able to attract bigger gates, from which comes bigger receipts, from which comes bigger resources to attract better players to help our cause. How else can we achieve a better atmosphere in and around the ground which will hopefully rub off on the team's performance now and in coming seasons. Ideas on a postcard to Mr Cowling c/o WHCS and no, I don't expect to see seals on the pitch next week. And to our younger supporters....keep it clean Saturday please. Rant over.
Is there a wrong or a right ? Interesting to watch Big Sam line up the wall last night against a direct free kick, just off set from the centre outside the area twenty yards out, with the tallest on the inside of the five players . Luckily the resultant shot hit the bar moving away from the keeper, with the follow up saved. Any goalie coaches out there ?
JM prepares to do battle with Danny Cowley’s Imps at the WHCS this evening. Following a no score draw against the Shrimps on Saturday (very much 2 points dropped) the U’s must endeavour to create more in the attacking third and look to see off one of the League’s meanest defences having conceded 17 goals in 18 matches. However, they have only scored 21 goals which sees them in 10th place on 27 points. After Cowley’s inspired managerial performances last season in Cup and National League, they have settled well in the higher division and will provide a good test for the U’s. They will also offer more attacking intent than Morecambe.
The weather in Colchester is a balmy 13 degrees now and with only a 10% chance of rain it should be a decent evening at the Fortress.
Tonight’s game will be important before the tough encounter at Meadow Lane on Saturday. Three points tonight is very much order of the day and I hope that JM selects a suitable creative and attacking team to take the game to Lincoln.
Suggested line up in a familiar 3,4,1,2 formation:
JM is clearly looking for some stability in his team selection and whilst we continue to miss Prosser, Dickenson, Guthrie, Murray and Senior, he must pick the team accordingly. Home matches must dictate a more attacking intent and so Szmodics must play with two strikers ahead of him. The wing backs Jackson and Vincent-Young are dependable and pacy whilst the bench allows more pace to be introduced in the form of Wright and Reid. Doug Loft unless 100% fit must start off on the bench.
The attendance was disappointing on Saturday, evening matches always add a certain sparkle under the (Christmas) lights and Lincoln will surely bring 500 Imps to cheer them on.
Attack, attack, attack must be the battle cry and to start early before they can settle in their defensive formation.
Tonight, also must see one of the strikers manage at least one goal. This must be Hanlan’s last chance to impress before he is surely relegated to the bench in favour of Odelusi. I’m sure that if Guthrie can be ready for the key December games, then everyone will be a tad happier in North Essex.
So, a decent atmosphere, a good opposition and balmy November weather, enjoy the game and lets get back to winning ways at the fortress.
There was a big piece about Robbie Cowling in today's Sun. Yes I know I admit I buy the Sun.
The main revelation is "The way I'm setting things up the club will be owned by the Cowling household forever. That is my intention".
Other quotes from the article:- "The club loses money every year. I probably assist the first team with at least £1m and the academy is another £1m. "How long can I keep doing it? I can keep doing it for as long as I want. There's no danger that I will walk away, not in the next year or two, not ever". He runs a group of 22 companies under the name Aspire. He explained: "I make good money through the Aspire group and the club is part of the group. That allows the profits I make in one company to be set against the losses at Colchester. What it costs is a number I am comfortable with". "I've always aspired to doing great things. But it got to the stage where the amount of money I was putting into Colchester was only allowing us top stay where we were. That was uncomfortable for me and it wasn't fun. I had to decide whether I wanted to stay in football or not". The turning point came when Cowling decided there was only one way forward - to invest in youth. About putting his money into the academy he said "When we have a young boy making his debut I get nervous, like it was one of my own kids. I find it really rewarding. If I didn't have that, I wouldn't want to own a football club just for first-team football. The biggest kick I get is out of seeing the youngsters come through". "It's not like buying a lottery ticket- at least we have hope with some of the kids that are coming through. The value of players is going through the roof and we have a chance, even if we only bring through one or two exceptional players in a decade. That could cover all the losses and the academy would pay for itself. And if it doesn't, I've written it off". The article ends with something we have heard many times before. "The fans think we are under-achieving. Their expectation is we were in the Championship a few years ago and should have stayed there. Based on our annual budget of about £1.6m, in reality we should be about ninth in League Two. I know we're 12th but in all the years I've run the club we've never finished below that level".
That quote about the club staying in the Cowling household forever is a bit worrying to me. Yes, it will give us the stability we need, but that is about it. There seems to be a total lack of ambition, while we have this philosophy of depending on youth.