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.
BOURNEMOUTH 4 HUDDERSFIELD 0 Wilson gets a hat-trick as 10-man Bournemouth thrash a Huddersfield team who have now gone five away games without scoring. Nobody got this spot-on, but 11 did have the outcome.
BURNLEY 2 SWANSEA 0 Two first-half goals put Burnley within a point of the top four. There was a massive 8 who had this spot-on, and another 13 got the outcome, with 8 going for a 1-0.
CRYSTAL PALACE 2 EVERTON 2 Everton come from behind twice to force a draw. Well done to medicine_man for being the only one to get this spot-on, and there were 5 who had the outcome.
LEICESTER 0 MANCHESTER CITY 2 Leicester have now lost their last nine games against sides who started the day top of the table. There were 3 who had this spot-on, with a further 18 getting the outcome.
LIVERPOOL 3 SOUTHAMPTON 0 Liverpool make it three league wins in a row for the first time in 2017 after this comfortable victory. Just the 2 got this spot-on, but 19 did have the outcome.
WEST BROM 0 CHELSEA 4 This could be the last game for Pulis as West Brom manager after this thrashing. Nobody had this spot-on, though 19 did get the outcome.
After last weeks debacle, I thought I would give everybody a boost with some easy looking games this week, and it certainly paid off. Last week we had the lowest scoring week in my administration of the Happy League, this week we had the highest six game one. This was thanks to the wins for Burnley, Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea that had almost 100% backing, and therefore giving nearly all members at least 4 points. Three members went a step further and got all six results correct, with two of them having two spot-on, they were BFG who got 3 points for the Burnley and Liverpool wins, and medicine_man who had the Burnley win to go with his Palace draw. So they share the honour of the weeks top scorer with their brilliant 10 points. There were two other members who got two spot-on, they were noah4x4 who had the wins for Burnley and Man City on his way to an excellent 9 points, and TheHappyGooner who got the wins for Man City and Liverpool, to give them a very decent 8 points. That same mark was achieved by burnsieespana in being the other member to get all six results correct.
The fixtures for the Group stage 2nd Round of the Happy Cup are now ready for predicting. All details can be found on the separate Happy Cup thread.
With only six weeks left now before we know who the qualifiers are for the Champions League, that vital eleventh qualifying spot is currently being held by gsy163 with his 62 points.
In the Premier, the noah4x4 bandwagon continues to roll along at a fast pace, as another excellent week strengthens his grip at the top. But another decent week from burnsieespana only allows the gap to increase by a point, and also improved his chances of making the Charity Shield for the second season running. As for the rest of this league, there were just two 3 pointers obtained, for thrillseeker, who moved closer to a Charity Shield spot, and sevebalo, who enhanced his chances of avoiding the drop. Another missed week for jonestones means he has a mountain to climb to avoid being relegated.
In Division One, we have a new leader as the top scoring effort from BFG enables the early season leader to reclaim top spot, and the bonus of a 5 point cushion. The biggest mover in this league was TheHappyGooner, with their decent week taking them up three places, and back into the play-offs. Despite no 3 pointers for the last five weeks gerry_us and concordman both remain in the play-off spots. But with only 5 points separating 2nd to 8th, the race for promotion continues to get more congested by the week. The secret formula medicine_man promised to use for the Happy Cup appears to have been used to better effect in the League this week, and his top scoring effort can only give him the confidence to think a play-off spot is still possible.
THE TABLES (106 out 280 played) (Tie-breaker: Most 3 pointers, and then the first to post)
Week 16 Fixtures picked by this weeks guest burnsieespana. DON'T FORGET THIS WEEKS DEADLINE IS 12.30. If you are too late for the early fixtures then still predict the other games.
BARNSLEY v LEEDS UNITED (12.30) MANSFIELD TOWN v CHESTERFIELD (13.00) CRYSTAL PALACE v STOKE CITY NEWCASTLE UNITED v WATFORD FLEETWOOD TOWN v BLACKPOOL NORTHAMPTON TOWN v BURY CAMBRIDGE UNITED v STEVENAGE NOTTS COUNTY v COLCHESTER UNITED LIVERPOOL v CHELSEA (17.30) SHEFFIELD UNITED v BIRMINGHAM CITY (17.30)
Saturday sees the first of our double header home games against Morecambe under the tutelage of Jim Bentley and Ken McKenna, before Danny Cowley and his Imps from Lincoln arrive on Tuesday night.
Both matches will be interesting affairs, Morecambe are putting together a decent run of victories and Lincoln are just above the Super U’s in the table. Two wins and we will be in the top seven places. Bring it on.
I note that Jose Mourinho surprisingly can name Zlatan, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rojo in his squad for the visit of Newcastle. Sadly, JM cannot yet name Prosser, Dickenson, Guthrie, Murray and Senior in his squad. They will return to cement our top three place later in the season. With 29 more league games to play there are plenty of points to obtain if we are to achieve Automatic Promotion. That surely must be the aim now.
JM has been talking about team spirit and Kane Vincent-Young has talked about honesty. Clearly the dressing room is buzzing at present and the U’s must be careful not to allow complacency into the ranks.
Concentration will be required to ensure that the decent league form can continue. After all, Notts County, Exeter and Swindon will all be challenging games prior to Christmas. Oxford City denied us the chance of successive games against the Magpies, so we must make the most of our chance to improve on a wretched run of results at Meadow Lane.
Still back to this weekend and the visit of the Shrimps, who demonstrated that this league is no respecter of league positions with a hard-earned win against the Chairboys last time out.
Now we owe Morecambe after their 88th minute penalty last season cost us two vital points that would have secured seventh place and a chance at the play offs. Ultimately, we came up short and perhaps the old maxim about the league table never lying was correct, we were not good enough to go up, but another year later we can secure a promotion spot.
Morecambe will be looking to add to their mini revival and with the result against Oxford City still reverberating around the WHCS it is up to the players to put things right tomorrow. This will be our third meeting against Morecambe and we have yet to win after two drawn games last season.
Christmas shopping notwithstanding, there should be a decent crowd after the disaster to close much of the stadium a fortnight ago.
JM could be tempted to start the same team that played and won at Barnet, but he must play Sammie Szmodics and so must decide who to stand down:
The keeper and back three pick themselves, but the conundrum is midfield. Jackson, Loft, Vincent-Young are certs but who to join them. Lapslie (Marmite) will be keen to play but what about Slater, Reid and Comley. A couple will miss out because Mandron and Wright and Hanlan wish to play also.
Well we are at home and, so I would expect to see a 3,4,1,2 formation something like this:
Published tonight. Interesting, considering the regular WHCS moans....
In Division Two Colchester United offers the second cheapest single ticket @ £14.50 albeit you do need to purchase this in advance. This ticket is cheaper than many National League cheapest single tickets.
Our season tickets also suggest decent comparative value.
Best value, cup of tea at £1.
......can bet we won't have a season ticket price freeze for 2018-9!!!!
I don't know how long Guthrie has before he will return to action but my goodness what a potentially good front pairing you will have. Got to see you guys reaching the play-offs IF he comes back scoring.
BLACKPOOL 2 PORTSMOUTH 3 Portsmouth just edge a game which produced four goals in the last 16 minutes. Nobody got this spot-on, but 5 did have the outcome.
GILLINGHAM 1 BURY 1 A late equaliser for Gillingham, after former U's Neil Danns had given Bury the lead. Incredibly a 1-1 has nobody predicting it again, and only medicine_man got the outcome. There were 21 who predicted a win for Gillingham.
MK DONS 1 FLEETWOOD 0 A single goal, with their only shot on target, was enough to give MK Dons their first win in six league games. There were 3 who got this spot-on, and a further 6 had the outcome. This was the game earmarked to end 1-1, with 8 predicting that result.
CAMBRIDGE UNITED 0 ACCRINGTON 0 Accrington missed the chance to go top of League 2 after this bore draw. Nobody had this spot-on, though 5 did get the outcome. There were 12 who predicted a win for Accrington, with 9 going for a 2-1 in what was the weeks most predicted result.
COVENTRY 0 MANSFIELD 1 A first win in six league games for Mansfield. Again no 3 points for anybody here, and only OhOriOri got the outcome. There were 16 who predicted a win for Coventry.
CRAWLEY 1 FOREST GREEN 1 Crawley score their first league goal for 512 minutes to rescue a point. There were 3 who had this spot-on, and 1 more got the outcome.
Wow! What a struggle this week was. This is my fourth season administrating the Happy League, and this was the lowest points total for a week we ever had in that time. None of the six games went the way of the predictions favourite, so to get six 3 pointers wasn't too bad a return, but what made the week a disaster was by only having 19 outcomes. The six 3 pointers were shared out with six members getting one each. Three of them, burnsieespana, RSCOSWORTH and BFG got one outcome as well, so they are the weeks top scorers, with a useful 4 points, in what was a low scoring week.
In the Premier, by getting the MK Dons 1-0 spot-on, noah4x4 keeps his hot streak going by having at least one 3 pointer for the past five weeks. His lead is reduced by a point though, as burnsieespana gets 3 points for the Crawley 1-1, and also has the MK Dons outcome. Also having that Crawley 1-1 spot-on was RSCOSWORTH, and that enabled him to move up a place. The only other change in this division has sevebalo moving out of the relegation zone, thanks to having the MK Dons 1-0 spot-on.
In Division One, even though he fired a blank, Daniel still clings on to the top spot. BFG was another one to benefit from getting 3 points for the MK Dons 1-0, and the early season leader moves up four places, and back into the other automatic spot. This league is getting more and more tighter each passing week, and there is now only 7 points separating the top eight. By having the Crawley 1-1 spot-on, wessex_exile edges nearer to the play-offs. By being the only one to get three outcomes OhOriOri moves up another place, in what was the only other change in this league.
With seven weeks to go before the qualifiers for the Champions League are decided, I thought it was time to see how qualifying was looking. With mfb_cufc qualifying automatically as holder, the other places will go to the eleven highest points scorers over the two divisions on December 30th (Week 21). That eleventh spot is currently being occupied by concordman, with his 58 points.
THE TABLES (100 out of 280 played} (Tie-breaker: Most 3 pointers, and then the first to post)
Week 15 Fixtures
AFC BOURNEMOUTH v HUDDERSFIELD TOWN BURNLEY v SWANSEA CITY CRYSTAL PALACE v EVERTON LEICESTER CITY v MANCHESTER CITY LIVERPOOL v SOUTHAMPTON WEST BROMICH ALBION v CHELSEA
Fresh from back to back Cup defeats (Oxford City have drawn Notts Co away in Round 2 of the FA Cup whilst Scummend go to Peterboro in Round 2 of the Checkatrade Trophy) JM aims to secure more away points at the Hive this weekend against Barnet.
JM and MM both lost out to Nathan Jones and Tom Pope respectively in the EFL League Two awards. So, no curse of the MOTM then on Saturday!!!
Instead and with no more Cup distractions (Essex Senior Cup notwithstanding) Colchester must be looking to take maximum points at the Hive. Barnet will have dangerous striker Shaquile Coulthirst available, but Richard Brindley is out for the North London side.
The upbeat reports and comments have been hardly justified this week after the embarrassment of defeat to lowly Oxford City, then JM picked a team that was never at the races at Scummend on Tuesday night.
One thing is becoming clear, Kabamba, Odelusi, Comley and Hanlan will be making a Le Mans start out of the WHCS on 1 January 2018. I’m afraid that none have lived up to the expectations when they signed on loan. Kyel Reid should be encouraged to sign on until May though and to stay along with Ryan Inniss (who is on a season long loan already).
Pompey didn’t want Kabamba cup tied but now both teams are out of the F A Cup it is rather irrelevant. Unless he can prove me wrong, I am neither impressed with him nor with the other three loanees.
We desperately need Prosser, Guthrie and Dickenson back but although we might see Guthrie before Christmas the others will not be back before February time.
The players and JM owe the supporters a performance and a result, let us see if JM will be brave enough to attack Barnet on Saturday.
Eastman Inniss Kent
Jackson Vincent-Young Slater Reid
Subs: Gilmartin Kinsella O’Sullivan Kpekawa Lapslie Hanlan James
Please release Comley, Kabamba and Odelusi back to their clubs early.
A victory could move the U’s up to the top ten on Saturday, with a double header against Morecambe and Lincoln to come, a top seven spot could be the on the cards by December.
One thing is certain, there has been much talk about promotion and top of the form table! Let’s see some actual results now to put the disappointment of the cups behind us.
Earlier this year watch most of England game against Scotland game at Wembley, but first half ITV and second half Sky, so from different cameras this meant they kick in the same direction for the game . This time against Germany without closeup to aide , England played in blue/ black and Germany white tops and black shorts .. all just confusing or is this the modern era I cannot grasp !!