Sunday, 9 December 2007

Early Christmas Presents

Am I the only one in an upbeat mood today. We’ve just been beaten 4-1 away at Cardiff and we have dropped into the bottom three for the first time this season. If I worked in the media I’d probably be scouring the tables for the last time we were in the bottom three – which happens to be near the start of last season when we had an abysmal run of four losses (and we still weren’t ever in bottom place!). So the point is that we can pull ourselves out of this – the other teams will have bad runs of form and we will have our golden patch. At the moment it seems that it’s just me and George Williams who are thinking positively about things. We want Cuckoo Farm to be a Coca Cola Championship ground, a stadium of might, a statement of where Colchester belong in the football world.

But first we need to win a few games and get ourselves back up the table. Starting with Norwich next week. Well my contribution to this is to provide selected members of the squad with some early Christmas presents that should help to improve their game. Not that I can afford anything that any one of them can’t afford themselves, but I do think that I have identified a few coaching tips that need to be taken on board during every game.

My gift is an honest appraisal of what I, and others at Layer Road, have been shouting all season. Sad to say that one or two players only seem to hear the boos from certain sections of the ground, but perhaps they ought to put microphones in the crowd and listen to the (constructive) comments once in a while. Here is my advice, freely given, and gift wrapped in this blog.

The Whole Squad
For starters I’d give everyone a yo-yo. It may them help to realise that what goes down can come back up. It might take a bit of practice and it can’t be taken for granted but if you keep at it, then you’ll master the art and soon be able to try some fancy flicks and tricks. Ask Teddy, he’s been there.

Dean Gerken - The Gardener
Please don’t spend so much time digging up the pitch for goal kicks. Please don’t spend so much time holding onto the ball when you get it in your hands. I can tell you like having the spotlight on you but we would appreciate it much more if you released the ball earlier. I reckon you collect the ball about thirty times during a game at an average of 10 seconds each time. That’s 5 minutes of the match that the ball is stationary in your possession and that’s more than your fair share. How many times do you actually release the ball into the possession of one of your own team, instead of a big kick that we all hope reaches one of them?

Karl Duguid
At the last enquiry it appears you are still not a member of Equity (actors’ union) so please give up that part of your game. OK it sometimes gets a player sent off, and occasionally wins a free-kick. But how many goals have we scored from those set pieces? Not enough. It’s an embarrassment really and we all know when you are acting up so it would be better to channel your natural footballing talent and energy into doing something more productive, like forging runs down the wing (since there’s usually no-one else down there).

George Elokobi
Good guy, bad guy? Which one are you? Do you want to play for Colchester, or not? You have good games and bad games and we can’t work you out. You’ve got a lot of strength but it doesn’t always transfer into skill that works for the team. OK you got a goal recently, but we really need a solid and reliable defence. It means you need to be there and be aware of where your team mates are. That means looking for them and not expecting them to cover for you.

Johnnie Jackson
You need the Layer Road equivalent of Harry Potter’s Marauders Map. A magic map that shows where everyone is, and where the ball is. I concede that you run around the pitch the whole game and you are probably the most exhausted player at the end of the game. But what have you actually done? I rarely see you involved in a lot of action and I wonder where you’ve been. Get stuck in for more of the game and you might just find you enjoy it more.

Kem Izzet
Now you get stuck in more than most, but you are picking up bad habits from other players, particularly from Doogie and the forwards. You will never be like them, you are not tall enough for starters – sorry to be so blunt. Try to develop your own game and have the confidence to push the opposition backwards. Make them afraid of you.

Kevin Watson
If you don’t want to hear the boos then get some ear plugs. I guess you are afraid of picking up more injuries. It’s clear to everyone that you don’t like to tackle or to head the ball. Pretending to go for the ball and then backing off does nothing to the opposition. They know that’s what you do and they just go in fearless, in the knowledge that they will win the ball and that you will back away.

Mark Yeates
It may come as a surprise to you to lean that there are other players on the field in your own team. They would love it if you passed the ball to them. The goals you score from set pieces are great – it’s just that we think you are selfish. In a recent game I counted ten times from the start of the game that you got the ball and didn’t pass to one of your own team. It may look good if you beat one or two players, but then you’ve got to do something sensible, like pass it to a colleague, not try for a third and then lose it. It doesn’t wash when you whack the ball across into space and shrug your shoulders as if to blame everyone else. The fans are no longer amused. Become a team player.

Kevin Lisbie and Clive Platt
Work it out guys! Who does what? Neither of you seem to have any kind of ball control. You get tons of chances but the ball never seems to stick to you. It’s happened far too often to put it down as ‘unlucky’. Work at it. Practice trapping, controlling and running with the ball. Basic stuff really. Glancing the ball off into space doesn’t set anyone up. Think about how many times either of you actually pass the ball to another player on your team in a dangerous situation. Watch some videos of Teddy – better still, talk to him.

George Williams
Keep at it Boss. You are an inspiration to the team and the fans. It was always going to be a difficult season after what you achieved last year, especially with the amount of players that jumped ship. I just hope our current players can learn from their mistakes and see that playing the ball to each other as much as possible will eventually win through. Team work is what it takes, and the fans like to think they are part of that team too.

The truth hurts, and it pains me to have said all this. But, no pain no gain.

Now for Norwich. Canaries? Pretty colours, but best kept locked up in cages.

Happy Xmas.

No comments: