A year after my last entry here, I again welcome you to Colchester United. And to be honest, you’ve not missed much in the last year…
The 2011-12 season was largely forgetful, filled with lots of promises of “passing, attacking football” that never materialised, falling attendances and a solid top ten placing. Having got through the season with only two senior strikers, this would be seen as an achievement.
However there were a few caveats to the above. The first being and end of season run of one win in about fourteen games, and those two senior strikers being sold at the end of the season. Reassuringly, two strikers were brought in to replace them – namely Freddie Sears and Clinton Morrison – and more reassuringly Magnus Okounghae signed on again after finding no one further up the football pyramid who would take him in. Another solid signing was in the form of Marcus Bean, who has thankfully not taken on his namesake.
Signings, and re-signings, such as these increased optimism among fans for even a promotion push. But realistically another Top 10 finish would have been lovely.
The season got off to a solid-ish start, with an away draw against Preston North End. And from there on? Well the team never really got out of second gear. Actually, make that first gear.
A succession of early draws, which the official website laughably termed an ‘unbeaten start’, merely papered over the cracks. Clearly this paper was something akin to tracing paper, because the draws turned to defeats which, again, the club laughably repeatedly called “unlucky”. Nine games, no wins, but ‘officially’ the only badly played bit was the 45-minute-four-goal-conceding fest against Tranmere.
Why was this? Going back to the previous season, it was a run of one win in 23 games. Bad form? Bad tactics? Who knows. All I knew was our top scorer was centre-back Magnus, who normally scores as many as the goalkeeper, and the strikers weren’t firing. Sears is still (even now) yet to get off the mark, while Morrison has only nabbed a couple. In fact, Morrison’s most telling contribution this year was to defend himself and the club on Talksport.
Finally the pressure broke Mr Ward the manager, and as with the last managerial appointment the assistant manager was promoted. So who is this new assistant-manager-turned-manager?
Joe Dunne is his name. Over 160 appearances as a player for the club, ten years coaching… and still only 39 years old. Fits the bill? Young and ambitious, maybe Joe is the man to get the gates ticking past 4,000 again. It might make the Weston Homes Community Stadium a bit warmer if nothing else. Mark Kinsella, another ex-player, has also been brought in as new assistant. So no doubt, in about three years’ time, I will be writing here that Kinsella is the new manager.
Two games into the new regime, it can’t have gone better. Two wins, including a frankly amazing away victory at Di Canio Towers, mean the club is up from 23rd to a dizzying 17th. The foundations are there, it’s just a case of whether they can be the base of a grand design.
The only issue I see is that there are promises of fast, attacking football…
Written by Tom Smee, We Are Going Up’s Colchester United Blogger
Tom tweets at @OmNomTom