Sunday, 30 December 2007

Match 13 - Blackpool

... and so we descend the steps into the depths of despair and darkness. The light at the end of the tunnel appears to be indicating something along the lines of 'League One - Here We Come'.

The writing was on the wall of the tunnel at the start of this game. The guard of honour on the pitch as the players emerged was one of our junior teams wearing the colours of our opposition - tangerine! As someone told me at the time, we could have been playing any other team in the league and there wouldn't have been a clash - but for this one day only it just had to be orange. Who was it that suggested the future's bright ...?

Anyway, everyone agrees this was our worst display in the Championship, ... ever. I've been saying that things can only get better for us, but the lads have defied me and decided to dig in for the long run. They're making me sweat it out until the end of the season I reckon.

It's got me thinking that it's good for every set of football fans to be placed in this position at some time during their lives - bottom of the table. It makes you realise that everyone's fallible. No-one has a divine right to be top of the league year after year. No-one has a right to win all their games. Except that there appears to be a number of club owners, and fans, who believe that's just the case. It's a view supported by the FA, UEFA, and FIFA in the way they manage and structure the game.

The old First Division used to be a great place for football until the Premier League happened. Now there appears to be a real issue about the quality of clubs that earn their place by playing the best football over a whole season in a lower league. Let's not forget that some Coca Cola League Two teams used to be in the top flight in the not so distant past - Bradford City and Notts County. But people also try to argue that Leeds and Nottingham Forest are 'really' Premiership quality clubs. Sorry - look at their results and league positions over the last few years. Then look at Colchester United. We ARE a Championship club. At least we are this season.

Next season we will be whatever we are at that time. Oh yes I desperately want us still to be in the Championship and that's what I'll be cheering for right up to the end of this season. But I'll also cheer a few other things as we stagger along the Championship tightrope, and I'm pleased to say that there are hundreds of other U's fans who are doing the same.

Witness the scene towards the end of the Blackpool game when the opposition make a substitution. They replace the scorer of their two goals and the home crowd gives him a round of applause. OK it was Scott Vernon and he used to be one of us, albeit for just 4 games at the end of our promotion season.

Witness the scene when we've finally been beaten and the players are leaving the pitch - most of the crowd has left early, but several hundred did stay behind and applaud both sets of players off the field. I'm proud to be a U's fan.

Were you watching, Jamie Cureton? No, of course not.

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