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John McGreal
at 16:28 14 Jul 2020

I'd agree with a lot of the above - I can't see an external appointment, particularly given they'd almost certainly expect a new player budget that won't exist. We won't be the only ones having to make do with what we've got either, there'll likely be plenty more in the same boat - but at least we have got a decent academy to fall back on.
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Happy League 2019/20 Final tables
at 17:34 12 Jul 2020

Another great competition Mick, thanks for all your hard work making it happen. Well done to all the victors and those still with matters to play for. Special congratulations to Noah for smashing it out the park in such emphatic style, and I'm particularly pleased for Daniel - being no stranger to no-shows myself in the past, it wouldn't have felt right if he'd lost his play-off spot for a simple oversight.
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Happy League 2019/20 Week 35 (of 35) - Deadline Saturday 11th July 12.30
at 22:24 10 Jul 2020

Another cracking season mfb, albeit in unusual circumstances - well done chap!

Here goes for the last roll of the play-off dice.

NORWICH CITY v WEST HAM UNITED (12.30) 1-2
WATFORD v NEWCASTLE UNITED (12.30) 0-1
CHARLTON ATHLETIC v READING (12.30) 1-1
DERBY COUNTY v BRENTFORD (12.30) 0-1
BARNSLEY v WIGAN ATHLETIC 2-1
BLACKBURN ROVERS v WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1-1
HULL CITY v MILLWALL 2-0
MIDDLESBROUGH v BRISTOL CITY 2-0
PRESTON NORTH END v NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1-1
QUEENS PARK RANGERS v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 2-0
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John McGreal
at 07:51 7 Jul 2020

Wayne Brown has indeed previously worked for the club since his comments at Leicester, and I would hope there had been some level of due diligence at the time. It may well be the ‘long discussion’ between Robbie and Brown before he withdrew his interest in the position of manager included consideration of his political views. But we live in different times now, and I believe a club with such strong links in the wider community like ours should think very carefully before appointing someone with his publicised views on race to one of the top 92 jobs in English football. It may well be that Wayne Brown’s opinions have mollified since his outburst, that he’s come to realise he was wrong, but I’m not aware that’s ever been said by him or anyone else? Of course, normally I would be the first to insist that the personal opinions of an individual, however repugnant, are their business so long as they don’t affect their ability to do their job, but I think Wayne kind of waived that entitlement when he said what he did?
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John McGreal
at 18:51 6 Jul 2020

I made that very point on the OMB thread, but it didn't gain too much traction from some there.
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Your favourite moment of the season
at 10:37 4 Jul 2020

The first half 3-0 demolition of Plymouth Argyle was the most breathtaking performance from the U’s all season, just magnificent. Tom’s penalty obviously ranks very highly as well, as does Norris’s instant response at Crawley to set up our trip to Old Trafford.
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Happy League 2019/20 Week 34 (of 35) - Deadline Saturday 4th July 12.30
at 18:54 3 Jul 2020

NORWICH CITY v BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION (12.30) 1-1
LEICESTER CITY v CRYSTAL PALACE (15.00) 2-0
MANCHESTER UNITED v AFC BOURNEMOUTH (15.00) 3-1
WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS v ARSENAL (17.30) 2-1
CHELSEA v WATFORD (20.00) 3-0
DERBY COUNTY v NOTTINGHAM FOREST (12.30) 2-2
BLACKBURN ROVERS v LEEDS UNITED (15.00) 1-2
BRENTFORD v WIGAN ATHLETIC (15.00) 2-0
BRISTOL CITY v CARDIFF CITY (15.00) 1-1
FULHAM v BIRMINGHAM CITY (15.00) 3-1
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN v PRESTON NORTH END (15.00) 0-2
LUTON TOWN v READING (15.00) 2-1
STOKE CITY v BARNSLEY (15.00) 1-0
SWANSEA CITY v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (12.00 Sun) 1-1
MIDDLESBROUGH v QUEENS PARK RANGERS (15.00 Sun) 2-1
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U'sual Champions League 2020 - Round of 16 Week 03
at 08:49 2 Jul 2020

We now have confirmation that the final two legs of the Round of 16 will take place on 7th and 8th August, with the Quarter-finals started shortly after on 12th August. Obviously these will be behind closed doors, so guess the attendance in case of a tie-break being needed would be fairly pointless. I’ll have a think and get back to you all on that one.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53082304

Incidentally Sevebalo, still time for your second leg predictions
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Collared.
at 00:53 2 Jul 2020

I don’t mind it too much either, though obviously I’m assuming the experiment will eventually revert back to blue and white stripes. Any club not trying to maximise every single penny of sales at the moment are probably going to be up the creek, so can’t fault the club for doing so.
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Latest statement from Robbie
at 00:36 2 Jul 2020

Concerns understood, but actually my point was that it was another tremendous message from our chairman, and as far as I’m concerned, Club United is a fantastic idea. You seem to have focused on his ‘for instance’ suggestion that if there was enough in the pot it could be used for some rail seating in the South Stand. The key point is that it would be a fund effectively managed by us the supporters - he wasn’t saying that was what it would be spent on, it’s our choice! Also, it’s not a fund that can be used for players/ the playing budget.

On the subject of rail seats, even if Club United voted for it, I seriously doubt there would be sufficient in the fund to do more than convert the back half a dozen or so rows of S1. I’m certain if it happened it would go down very well with our most vociferous fans in that section of the ground and definitely improve the atmosphere immensely in the process. Don’t worry though, us old buggers will still have seats available in the South Stand, even if we usually stand at the back regardless.
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Latest statement from Robbie
at 07:57 1 Jul 2020

For anyone who hasn’t seen it already, link below to Robbie’s latest and superb statement.

https://www.cu-fc.com/news/2020/june/club-statement2/

Each to their own, and given these are difficult times for everyone financially, and probably won’t improve any day soon, I wouldn’t begrudge anyone who needed a refund on their unused season tickets, match credits etc. Personally, I love the idea of Club United, and will be gladly transferring my match credit refund into it. I bought the match credits to have priority for Spurs tickets, and they continued to serve me well for Crawley and Man U, plus a couple of match tickets too, so they’ve served their purpose - the club can have the rest.
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Cobblers to leather the Grecians
at 22:02 29 Jun 2020

Think you're right on all counts Durham. Northampton unashamedly played to their strengths, and totally outplayed an Exeter side who simply failed to adapt despite everything we all knew about Northampton. Good luck to them, I suspect they're going to need it in League 1.
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New grounds
at 19:18 26 Jun 2020

Accepting we don't quite know the full line-up for next season, as things stand these are on my never-been list:

Barrow
Bolton (pretty sure, can't remember if I have)
Grimsby
Macclesfield
Morecambe

Doesn't matter who wins the play-off final, obviously I've been to both. As for the National League play-offs (are they actually happening, I thought they were?), Boreham Wood, Halifax, Harrogate or Stockport would be new additions to the list.

Obviously Bolton will be the big attraction for many, so what's the betting it'll be early in the season with lockdown still in force.

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Theo Robinson
at 18:54 26 Jun 2020

If we have the money to sign someone, I would rather Frank if I could choose just one. If we could, I'd definitely take Robinson too btw, don't get me wrong on that...
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Happy League 2019/20 Week 33 (of 35) - Deadline Saturday 27th June 12.30
at 13:48 24 Jun 2020

ASTON VILLA v WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS (12.30 Sat 27th June) 1-3
PRESTON NORTH END v CARDIFF CITY (12.30 Sat 27th June) 2-1
SWANSEA CITY v LUTON TOWN (12.30 Sat 27th June) 3-0
BARNSLEY v MILLWALL (13.00 Sat 27th June) 0-2
DERBY COUNTY v READING (13.00 Sat 27th June) 1-1
BIRMINGHAM CITY v HULL CITY (15.00 Sat 27th June) 1-0
CHARLTON ATHLETIC v QUEENS PARK RANGERS (15.00 Sat 27th June) 2-2
LEEDS UNITED v FULHAM (15.00 Sat 27th June) 2-1
STOKE CITY v MIDDLESBROUGH (15.00 Sat 27th June) 2-0
WIGAN ATHLETIC v BLACKBURN ROVERS (15.00 Sat 27th June) 0-1
BRISTOL CITY v SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY (12.00 Sun 28th June) 2-0
NOTTINGHAM FOREST v HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (14.15 Sun 28th June) 3-1
WATFORD v SOUTHAMPTON (16.30 Sun 28th June) 1-1
EXETER CITY v NORTHAMPTON TOWN (League 2 Play-off Final Wembley 19.45 Mon 29th June) 1-2
CRYSTAL PALACE v BURNLEY (20.00 Mon 29th June) 1-0
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Questions
at 12:32 24 Jun 2020

1. Tough call, toss-up between Frank and Jacko I'd say - Jackson

2. Frank has earned it.

3. Haha, loaded question Whales . I'll say yes, given our relative success where recruitment is concerned in recent years.

4. Do you mean as in we could sell? Bramall and Poku I'd say.

5. Limited - I suspect we might keep Robinson, otherwise just academy loans I reckon.

6. Difficult, guts ripped out of the team, but we won't be the only ones (Cheltenham have already released 5 after their 2nd leg horror show). I'm an optimist, so I do believe there will be improvement.

7. Keep doing what we're doing, support the first team through attracting and developing youthful talent.
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Super U's to be Wembley bound after impressive victory at St James' Park
at 11:41 22 Jun 2020

For those of you who may be interested, the matchday programme for tonight is available as a download. £2.99, and I'd imagine delivery must be almost immediate.

https://www.exetercityfc.co.uk/news/2020/june/-exeter-city-v-colchester-matchday
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Matches of Yesteryear - Cardiff v U's 11/4/98
at 13:51 21 Jun 2020

Here we are then, after a reasonably solid but distinctly dull semi-final first leg lit up by a moment of sheer brilliance by Bramall, just one match away from a socially distanced Wembley play-off final. We may have a slight advantage, but there is of course still much to do, and I can’t imagine for a moment that Exeter will be that shot-shy again at t’other St James’ Park. It’s all about the result though, performance is irrelevant, so I’ll take an even duller 0-0 every day of the week and twice on Sundays. I hope you’re all keeping safe and well, and for those of you blessed with progeny – Happy Father’s Day!

Cardiff v Colchester United
Saturday 11th April 1998
Nationwide League Division 3 (Tier 4)
Attendance 2,809


Match #58 of the Matches of Yesteryear series, and appropriately the random match selector has chosen one of our later matches in the 1997/98 season, the last time we gained promotion out of this league (via the play-offs – just saying like). We are at proper old skool Ninian Park for a mid-April match against Cardiff City. Back then, Ninian Park was a crumbling behemoth of a ground, desperately in need of a major uplift, and with the Bluebirds struggling that season, looking even poorer with less than 3,000 turning up for the match. If memory serves, at least 250 of those travelled over from Essex, but I don’t think we were on the Grange End terrace – pretty sure we were in the Bob Bank stand, for what I guess must have been the last season before they switched away supporters to the Grange End?

Steve Wignall was managing the U’s at the time, and a run of four undefeated matches stretching back to mid-March had propelled us into the play-off zone. Only just though, we were 6th, with Peterborough in 8th just one point behind us, so we needed a good result to keep the momentum going. Cardiff on the other hand were having a poor season, albeit 6th from bottom and on 49 points would normally be a reason to expect that safety was virtually guaranteed. However, this was no normal season in the 4th tier, with hopelessly inept Doncaster Rovers so far adrift at the bottom on 19 points that Cardiff had been mathematically safe for several months already (Cardiff had smashed them 7-1 at Ninian Park less than a month earlier). It was a foregone conclusion at the other end too, with Notts County already champions of the league, and had been since March.



Cardiff City has always been a relatively easy ground to get to, but one I’ve always approached with considerable caution. My battered much-travelled Football Fans Guide sensibly advised “…it’s an extremely good idea not to wear colours outside the ground, or to have any showing in cars. This applies to all games, not just high profile or local derby matches”. The in-laws were visiting for the weekend, so the Father-in-Law and I were afforded an afternoon pass so that they could do some Mum and Daughter stuff, which worked for us.

We took the train over to Cardiff in plenty of time, and walking from the station popped in to The Cornwall on the way for a couple of pints. The Cornwall is, or certainly was, one of the few reasonably friendly pubs that away fans could use anywhere near the ground – it was almost as if the decent Cardiff City supporters in there felt the need to over-compensate for the generally poor reputation of Cardiff City fans in general. Whatever the psychology, they were all very pleasant, and I wasn’t the only U’s fan in there that day either (my Father-in-Law was an avid follower of football, but without any particular allegiance – perhaps mainly Kettering if he had to choose). Suitably refreshed, we headed to the ground.

The U’s line-up that afternoon was exactly as listed on the back of the programme, which is somewhat of a rarity based on my experiences writing these blogs:

1….Carl Emberson
2….Joe Dunne
3….Simon Betts
4….Aaron Skelton
5….David Greene
6….Guy Branston (Paul Abrahams 24’)
7….Richard Wilkins
8….Paul Buckle
9….Mark Sale (Nel Gregory 73’)
10..Tony Lock (Karl Duguid 89’)
11..David Gregory

There aren’t too many names in the Bluebirds line-up that register with me – I’d heard of midfield duo Tony Carss and Jason Fowler, but not in the context of being household names who’d go on to do great things in football. Probably the biggest name in their squad that day, with the benefit of hindsight, was a youthful Robert Earnshaw on the bench. Earnshaw had joined the youth set-up the year before and had made his league debut for the Bluebirds just two weeks earlier, coming on as a substitute in a 0-0 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion (the programme cover photo is from that match).

So, given I can’t remember with any certainty which stand we were in, it won’t come as too much of a surprise that my memories of the match itself are also pretty hazy. The U’s were certainly playing with confidence, and causing problems for Cardiff City, but suffered a set-back with Branston going off injured after 24 minutes. Cardiff City had two bookings that day, but I’m not sure if either were associated with this? Incidentally, for anyone who oft associates Cardiff City with a ‘robust’ style of play, we had four bookings that afternoon of our own, so certainly no choirboys ourselves.

Paul Abrahams replaced the injured Branston, which turned out to be a fortuitously inspired move, as he blasted the U’s into a 1-0 lead just after half-time. If anything, this spurred Cardiff City on, and for the next ten minutes or so kept us penned in our own half, defending resolutely. The siege was broken in emphatic style, with David Gregory breaking free on the hour mark to put the U’s into what we hoped would be an unassailable 2-0 lead.

This prompted a flurry of substitutions on both sides, with first off Robert Earnshaw coming on for Carss. It was clear the lad had bags of pace and talent, and when Chris Roberts came on a few minutes later, we were again under considerable pressure. In response, Wiggy swapped Sale for Neil Gregory, with Gregory playing deeper in more of a midfield role, and then for a bit of game-management to run the clock down, brought on Doogie for Tony Lock in the last minute of normal time. It worked too, and for all Cardiff’s later pressure, the U’s held on reasonably comfortably to win 2-0 and keep our promotion challenge on track.

Cardiff City 0 Colchester United 2 (Paul Abrahams 48’; David Gregory 60’)

I had taken the advice of the Football Fans Guide sort of to heart – albeit I had a shirt on, but had also made sure I had the sort of coat that could be zipped up to keep all colours hidden for the walk back to the station. We were amongst a larger group of U’s fans, but also interspersed with a fair few Cardiff City supporters. One of our number hadn’t bothered to cover his shirt and ended up on the wrong end of some Welsh verbals, but that was all, and the walk back to the station and journey home was otherwise uneventful.

Zambian born Earnshaw would go on to become a cult hero not just for Cardiff City (he played for them between 1998 and 2013 in two separate spells), but for the entirety of Wales – making 59 appearances for the national side. His background is quite remarkable, particularly his mother Rita, who was not only a professional footballer in Zambia, but later went on to be a professional boxer! If that wasn’t enough, his English-born father David was manager of a gold mine. Rita moved the family to Bedwas near Caerphilly in 1990 (to be near her sister) after David contracted and died from typhoid fever, and Robert grew-up on the streets as mates with near neighbour David Pipe.

And finally, I mentioned for Match #57 how I was looking forward to seeing my place amongst John McGreal’s Cardboard Army last Thursday. Well I wasn’t quick enough to spot myself during the broadcast itself, but thanks to a photo on one of the Col U Facebook pages, I have now. 10 points for anyone else who can 😊



Up the U’s
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Grecians to have hair-raising time at the JobServe against the Super U's
at 00:06 19 Jun 2020

Not brilliant, but also not awful. We definitely looked rusty and short of pace, and there periods when Exeter looked in control. But what did they do with it? Not much to be honest, did Gerks even have a serious attempt to save? Still a long way to go, but not a bad start.

Up the U’s
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Play-off Programme
at 14:59 18 Jun 2020

I haven't either. From comments on the OMB it appears they only did the print run Tuesday (I think?), but some have already received theirs in the post. I guess they needed to be certain of demand before printing?
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