BWB

As published in the Essex County Standard/Colchester Gazette and copied here with their kind permission

"Banter with Burns"

12 February

With every finger crossed that our pitch is not rock hard when the covers are removed, there is work for the U’s to do this Saturday. It’s not rocket science and we all know what needs to be done. Score a goal and hopefully several more during the game. Win the game and end our long sequence of draws and losses. Achieve that and then go on to try and emulate the run of results that tomorrow’s opponents Mansfield have put together to drag themselves away from the lower regions of League Two.

Football is an easy game on paper and it is on paper where my interest will initially lie. The team sheet tomorrow could be the deciding factor. The new faces put on a good show at Orient last week. We all know Frank brings to a game and in a match of few chances for either team, he had the best of them, which is encouraging. Next time the width of the crossbar and goal line with favour him more I hope. Brendan Wiredu has been quoted a bit this week. Lots of positives in his words and this is much like the way he plays his football. I hope he keeps his place despite the now unsuspended Harry Pell being available 

Shamal George did well too and with a clean sheet to back him up, there is strong competition for the glove duties when Dean is fit again. And let us not forget that the warm comfort blanket of Tom Lapslie is back in the team doing the dirty work so that others can “play”. Sadly his brother has an injured hamstring (sounds like a common Lapslie condition) so we’ll sadly miss out on their head to head battle 

The pressure is really on to turn this tide of results. The fans are desperate for something to be happy about, especially given the current circumstances and it’s such a massive and disappointing shame that we cannot be there to at least try and help them. There are still 20 games left for the U’s this season which is a huge amount of football to fit in, so plenty of points to play for, but we need to be getting them now, not scrapping around in April to drag ourselves away from danger 

I do think that the play offs are still achievable, on the aforementioned paper again of course, but I do realise that the task is a huge one for the U’s. Realistically I would just be happy for the U’s to get back to winning ways, put smiles back on everyone’s faces, get away from the problem area at the bottom, and if they can finish in the top ten after all of this, then after everything we’ve been through this past year, fans and club alike, press the reset button and look for a more normal season. Hopefully then the club can start earning income again, not rely so much on any handouts, where the news has gone quiet recently, and then even maybe we may be able to come up with something to keep a good number of the players who are out of contract, or even make an offer to Nouble, because it seems quite clear that he wants to stay.

Thanks for your support again and let’s hope to be either sighing in relief or cheering behind our laptops at 5pm tomorrow

Up the U’s!

5 February

On the back of another defeat, this time to a less than dynamic Scunthorpe, and with some new faces arriving to boost the squad, particularly the very well thought of Frank Nouble, a Tuesday night game could well have been a key time to reverse our current fortunes. Sadly that chance was taken away from us at the last minute, although on the plus side it will give those guys more time to “bond” with the squad.

I am not saying that the late decision by the referee to call off the game at Salford was wrong, and I would certainly like to think l that if supporters from both camps were heading to the ground, the call would have been made much, much earlier, but for me, it was of no help to the ultimate victims, being the U’s players and entourage, and of course our press who travelled all that way for nothing and will have to do it all again, on a date when hopefully those concerned will have better procedures in place.

More frustration and disappointment then for all concerned at the U’s, supporters and club alike. We will now have to look to the trip to Orient tomorrow afternoon for our solace and eagerly awaited win. Last Friday night was almost an a-typical U’s performance where for all of our hard work and endeavour, Scunthorpe looked comfortable keeping their 1-0 lead and rarely threatened again to not risk leaving themselves being exposed. Although in the later stages, the formation was tinkered with and it looked better, the break through sadly still would not come. I have everything crossed that when the U’s eventually hit the back of the net again it will release this massive weight from the players’ shoulders so that they can drive onto the 3 points. The table is so close points wise, any run of wins will lift us both in terms of the league table and in terms of our mental well being 

Hopefully the arrival of Frank, Brendan Wiredu and Josh Doherty will be the catalyst. We all know what the big guy can do from last season and more. A re-production of that would be immense for us. I get the feeling that Frank was more settled with the U’s than any of his most recent clubs, so even though last summer’s decision was a tough, it’s nice to see that the club have been able to temporarily mend that bridge. Brendan is only young still but gives loads of positional options. He looked good when he was with us on loan before, although not averse to seeing a yellow occasionally. What I will say though is that despite his versatility, I don’t think we will get the best of him by having him fill gaps when they occur. Ask him what where he thinks he plays his best football, and use him there.

Doherty has replaced Cohen Bramall, who I sincerely wish a long and successful career to as he has a good deal of talent within him. Replacement he may be, but I really do hope that Ryan Clampin gets the nod over the Crawley loanee as the direct successor at left back because he has really earned that right in my opinion.

Overall though, when I expected an ultra quiet transfer window, the U’s have done well within the extreme restrictions they must be facing to add to the squad as they have. And it is still worth remembering U’s fans that football is still in a dark place financially. This season and maybe even next will be so far away from normality, the word “survival” will remain close to the top of the agenda. 

Thanks as always for your continued support and let’s all keep our digits crossed for a U’s victory tomorrow.

29 January

I wrote in hope last week that there would be at least one victory to comment on from our trips to Morecambe and Stevenage. Sadly we all know the outcome of our week of football and our slide down the table continues. It’s at times like these when the finger pointing grows in intensity. Fans are clearly disappointed and frustrated, but they are also perplexed that with what they believe is a good squad of players, with some individuals certainly able to play at least one level higher, the team cannot seem to get out of their current trench of winless games.

I firmly believe in the mantra that if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it, but at the moment the U’s situation feels broken so it needs attention in my opinion. Something to get the players thinking positively again, because when the guys on the pitch lose a bit of belief in the game plan then you’re struggling. Just one little change might just bring back their mojo and get the team back into the gears they need to win games. For me, that’s a change in formation, and that would be to put two up front. Even if it is only for a game or two to see how it works. I do wonder if the U’s have become too predictable for opposition managers.

Aramide Oteh has to start tonight alongside one of the few U’s players who have already found the back of the net this season, Jevani Brown. At the start of the season he was scoring goals for fun and we were all waxing lyrical about the return of our prodigal son. I do think he can get back to that with more attack minded support around him. Our situation requires that we need to start winning games and fast and you only win games by scoring more goals than the opposition. If that means upsetting one of the regulars, well that’s part of being a football manager. I would also stick at least one of our teenage centre forwards on the bench too, and if things do not work out then throw them onto the pitch.

On the flip side I thought the U’s could have and should have won at Morecambe. They played well, hitting the frame of the goal on several occasions and yet were undone by their goal in the dying seconds of the first half and Harry Pell’s red card. From what looked like being a good away performance they travelled home with a 3-0 defeat in their minds. Thankfully Tom Eastman reverted back to his best position on Tuesday night and I hope he stays there for good now.

Times are tough everywhere, for all of us at home and at work. This includes the players too, so let us all hope that tonight is the start of a winning run of results, just like Mansfield are now doing in the league. I will certainly be tuning in for a hopefully enjoyable night of U’s football as a great to the weekend. Thanks for your continued support and good luck U’s!

22 January

Please put your hands together for David Blacknall and his less than many helpers who somehow managed to prepare the pitch for last Saturday’s game. A good number of us have helped out in the past, shifting covers laden with water and snow, and it is no easy task. The result will no doubt be that it will not look the best, or play the best, for the remainder of the season, but we all know that Mr B will be working his socks every day to make it as good as he can be 

It was nice to see some football again, and also nice to see our players working their own socks off and looking in decent nick despite the lack of recent activity. Cambridge are now top of the table and they also boast the leading scorer, but we managed to keep them and him quiet. For me, our perennial problem of scoring goals remains my biggest concern. The U’s can play better than the best until we get close to the penalty area but then either players become isolated or perhaps don’t have the confidence to drive towards goal and create a chance for themselves or teammates. I think the talent is there within the squad, so how best to utilise it? Are we too defensive minded and cautious on the back of a run of winless games?

Perhaps our new loan signing Aramide Oteh will be the boost that we need in that department. I really hope that he’s fit and raring to go, and is also lined up to start tomorrow at Morecambe, and then again at Stevenage on Tuesday night. He certainly deserves a chance, which the fans need to provide him too, and as it looks from his career that he is looking to find a starting point away from QPR, maybe the U’s could be it.

I was sad to see another Luke leave the U’s this week. For whatever reasons, in the managers eyes, Mr Gambin could not command a regular place in the starting XI or even the matchday squad at times, which I think is a shame becauseI think he works harder than some others and always looks to take us up the pitch. Some fans are unhappy and I can see that because it seems that another good player who could make a difference to the team has left us. I can also see that, like many others, he is out of contract in the summer, and if we cast our minds back to last summer, we all know the state of play with new contracts. Like all of us, football is still suffering terribly in this pandemic and no vaccine is going to make things rosy again before the end of this season or even the start of the next 

If a loan to Newport gets him in the “shop window” ahead of the rest of the pack so that he can pick up a contract elsewhere, assuming that the U’s have been up front with him as they were with Nouble and Co, then for me it is a decision that also has the best interests of the player in mind as well as helping our costs a bit for a few months. Good luck and best wishes to Luke.

Two massive away games for the U’s over the next week. We need to find a win in at least one of them and stop this poor run of results, otherwise we will continue to drift into the lower reaches and the U’s are better than that. Keep your fingers crossed, tune in to watch them if you can as it will help, and looks after yourselves U’s fans.

15 January

To coin a phrase from Mr Shakespeare, to celebrate, or not to celebrate, that is the question? Lots of finger pointing this week aimed at footballers, especially those from the Premiership, who have been flouting the rules provided for post goal scoring celebrations. Many a footballer has been quoted in the past saying that the feeling of scoring a goal is better than a certain carnal pleasure. Well, unfortunately lads, it is now time for a lesson in celibacy. Certainly until the time when this awful virus starts to get under control and definitely when the heat some have brought upon themselves for ignoring the rules on festive and new year parties has blown over.

Don’t worry though you can still get close to your team mates in a crowded 6 yard box for a corner, or when forming a wall for a free kick. For the time being anyway at least.

That brings me to the next question, to play, or not to play? Great that the players union are now finally helping their members by forking out for regular testing, but is the risk still too great to carry on with football when every day there are clubs in the news who have fallen victim to outbreaks within their squads and are having to postpone games. Every positive case is a huge step in the wrong direction so what makes football special? Scotland have suspended most of their elite football, so should England do the same? Personally I would not want any of the U’s players or their families to become poorly as a result of putting on a game of football, despite it being a massive boost for my mental health as a watching supporter, and probably still helping the U’s coffers to a very small degree.

So is it all about money? I would very much yes at the top of the pyramid and I can already see the fear rising in Leagues One and Two should they have to cap in hand again to the football money men, in true Oliver style, asking for more money. It took months of haggling and drama just to reach the meagre deal they got last time. Heaven knows what would happen this time 

We all love football and we all love watching the U’s. The player, even in the midst of this pandemic, probably still love their day jobs and getting out there to play and win. There will be a risk call to be made soon though I think. For me, this season is more about survival than success, so that when this is all over, the U’s can be in the best place possible to start afresh.

Anyway, subject to any late virus cases and any bad weather, the U’s will be hosting Cambridge tomorrow afternoon. After our enforced break from action they will be looking to start 2021 with a bang and put behind them a poor final month of 2020. Hopefully they have suffered no training injuries in the meantime and that one or two of the previous occupants of the physio’s bench are now fit and ready for action.

Fans will be eager to see what the plan is going forward without Luke Norris as either a starter or substitute. I think are a few options available to Steve Ball but I would personally be happy to see Jevani leading the line again even if there are to be some late additions to the squad during this transfer window.

Really hope that many of you without passes already will be going to sign up for coverage on the iFollow as it still is a vital part of the U’s income which of course still needs help despite the hand out from above

Take care and stay safe U’s fans, and good luck tomorrow U’s

1 January

I sincerely hope that, football aside, you all had a good Christmas, and that despite the restrictions you were able to spend a lovely few days with members of your family. Any sort of boost at the moment has to be grasped with two hands and cherished.

Disappointingly, in the fixture that probably matters the most to the U’s supporters this season, Boxing Day in South Essex failed to give us any sort of lift. In fact it actually took us the other way. Even worse than burning the turkey or having a box full of crackers with no bang, the team we support delivered an unmemorable festive performance that apart from two or three players, contained none of the positive descriptions lavished by the opposition manager on his own team – attitude, work rate and endeavour 

I felt that the benefit of the doubt was available after their below par defeat against Morecambe, but after watching the effort at Southend, I cannot think of any valid excuses that fit the bill. I hope beyond hope that somehow ahead of the Cheltenham game they got a strong hold of themselves, had a good shake, and realised that they had a job to do 

One of my often annual frustrations with the U’s is that they have the ability to go into their shells, almost collectively, for several games at a time. It is like they have been given dreadful news or something else. Minds are elsewhere and it comes across to the fans, and I am sure that this is not the case, that they don’t seem to realise what's at stake.

The U’s were not beaten by the better team, they were beaten by themselves I think. Maybe they were feeling sorry for themselves with Pell, Harriott, Bramall and Norris all absent through injury? Good to see Tom Lapslie back on the pitch though and I will always attribute those 3 aforementioned descriptions to his good self. Personally I am not sure what the thinking was with the other Tom at right back and I am afraid that a certain other player probably needs to be taken out of the firing line for a while, with someone else given a chance, because he pulls out of too many challenges for my liking.

These have been tough words to write because I hate to criticise, and it is not just because it was Southend, but something is not right at the moment and they all need to play a part in fixing it. You look down the squad list and we have seen each and every one of them have top games in a U’s shirt. They need to re-kindle that fast otherwise I think the under 18’s who have been on the bench or even starting so far this season will be taking their places.

May I wish you all a very Happy New Year. 2021 has to be better on so many levels than 2020, and let us also hope that it can be successful one for the U’s, starting with 3 points off Tranmere this weekend, when sadly we will be excluded from the stadium again.

24 December

It has been a football and festive season unlike any other for the U’s fans this 2020. At long last, for those lucky enough to be in good health and not restricted by tiers of varying numbers, we are now able to watch the team in the flesh, but at this time of year we should be getting excited about a family Christmas and going to Southend on Boxing Day nursing sore heads and bloated tummies.

 

Whilst I can see that not having to worry about the extra bottle of ale or the second helping of Christmas pudding is an advantage because we don’t have to go anywhere on Saturday, not that some poor fans can’t move out of their own boroughs anyway, I am still going to miss it big time.

 

Still I hope that many a present will have been purchased from the U’s club shop to add a bit of blue and white to the festive football huddled around a laptop. Or maybe you will have one eye on the football from Roots Hall and one eye in Francis Ponders’ new book on Boxing Day if you have been lucky enough.

 

To cheer us all up, and no pressure lads, wouldn’t it be nice to take 3 points from our Essex rivals. Typical that they have now just strung a few good results together. The U’s will have to untie that string and tighten up themselves at both ends of the pitch to get the win I think. It is an important game for us after the flat performance against Morecambe.

 

It was great to have over 1,000 U’s fans in the ground and thanks to everyone for making that happen safely and securely. The football was almost secondary as the occasion of actually watching the lads again seemed for a while to be of more importance, but in the end we are U’s fans and we like to watch good football being played, and that’s where we struggled at times against the bigger and more physical Morecambe boys

 

Dean Gerken seems eager to win a few player of the season awards I think. He is in absolute top form and but for his saves we could have been facing an Exeter-like battering at home. Some of the players looked flat and maybe jaded a bit. Some of the players looked low in confidence. I can think of Cohen Bramall who used to burn up the wing with ultimate faith in what he was doing, but at times now he seems hesitant and wanting to take an extra touch. I wonder if that is because he prefers linking up with Harriott down the left?

 

Personally, and I have said it many times before, the U’s need players who can tackle effectively and correctly. We picked up a load of cautions early on this season by not doing this properly. The grafters, the harriers, the players who will hunt down an opponent and make them make a mistake. You don’t get the ball back without working for it, so the return of Lapslie or Pell is crucial, as much as I love what Chilvers and Stevenson do.

The U’s have work to do and I think that’s fair. The league table is what it is and I believe that in the end we’ll be easily in the top ten or better, but to run aground during these winter months, which I always worry about for the U’s, could see us dragged back into the bottom quarter and that’s not where we want to be. There is already one Essex team down there so we don’t need two.

May I wish you all a very safe, secure and as good a Christmas as you can possibly have in the circumstances. Remember that these are also tough times for the players personally, so let’s do what we can from 40 odd miles away to give them all the support we can possibly muster on Boxing Day.

18 December

It is hard to believe that exactly a year ago the U’s took us all to Old Trafford. A once in a lifetime trip for many of our fans and one that delivered so many good memories. Given all that has happened since then, especially these last 9 months, it is important to cling onto those happier times, because at present it feels that as each day comes the threat of losing our ability to watch the team play in the flesh gets closer and closer.

Tomorrow will see a decent number of fans finding themselves unable to drive up the A12 or A120 to the stadium. It must be really tough for those in Braintree, Witham and elsewhere that after one brief glimpse of live action they are consigned to online football again. For the time being I will be one of the lucky ones and I think that is important to remember. Regardless of the result I will just be over the moon to be there.

That said I am sure that the U’s will be able to deliver another positive home result after picking up 4 good points during our last 3 game tour of the country. That’s not a bad return to be honest. They were all close games but our lads showed plenty of character. Steve Ball is managing them all with a degree of squad rotation and personally I do not mind that. In the past I often queried in my own mind why the U’s tried to pick the same team through Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday games, and it was always my suspicion that one or two players pulled the wool over the managers eyes by claiming they were 100% fit to play, mentally or physically. Just one under par piece in our 11 piece jigsaw is a risk.

After tomorrow there is a slight break for the team before we all head down to Southend on Boxing Day. Hang on, sorry, I got carried away there. So looking forward to this Festive Fixture I completely forgot that we sadly are not allowed. Likewise for their fans too of course! Shame really that this season might be our last opportunity to play them away for a while.

Morecambe will be a considerable threat first though. The U’s only keep them out of the top 7 on goal difference which is interesting because we are not exactly excelling in that column at the moment. A few supporters are pressing for Folivi to start and I would support that. He has looked sharp when he has come on and if a plan of attack can be formed with himself alongside a mojo found Norris and an award winning Brown, then that would be great to watch.

Another possible change might be in the full back department if one of the present incumbents needs to freshen up. The manager has options there of course. Personally I would like to see Chilvers back in the team to start. He brings a Lapslie like energy and bite to our midfield.

Plenty to ponder and hopefully plenty of U’s goals to enjoy too. Please look after yourselves wherever you may be, and thanks as always for your support whether it be at home or within the stadium. Good luck U’s and let’s bag those 3 points for an early Christmas present

11 December

Let us begin with the negative part of the U’s week first, as headlines were made for all of the wrong reasons and our supporters were devastatingly tarred with the same brush as a certain London football club. The subject matter is emotive and sensitive. I do believe that none of the fans who chose to boo were racists, because that would be totally against the proud record our supporters have shown for many years in their fight against discrimination of every nature. However I also believe that the U’s players, and those from Grimsby, were purely showing their solidarity against racism last Saturday, because so depressingly, after so many years the problem never reaches a successful resolution. It was their right to do so, as allowed by the footballing authorities of course, and so to express dissatisfaction with the simple yet important message they wanted to get across was in my view utterly disrespectful.

For all we know some of our players taking the knee might have been subjected to terrifying racial abuse as kids in school, or even as they started out in their football careers.

The U’s Chairman has made the clubs position clear on the subject. For me, the PFA and EFL could have done more ahead of the re-emergence of fans at stadiums, and still need to do more in my opinion. Close to 60% of teams took the knee last Saturday. Clarity needs to be provided from those in control of the game now. Finally, it overshadowed and clashed with so many crucial messages in the U’s programme for that game, including how the CUFITC and the players are delivering the No Room For Racism in primary schools.

Onto the really positive news and how good was it to be back at the U’s again to watch the players in action? So great to see so many friends not seen for many a month. Brilliant to see a U’s fan and friend again who was so seriously poorly even before COVID, and also so sad to be without others who have left us tragically, including one wonderful lady who will be hugely missed.

Only adding to the feel good part of that was the unexpected but totally outstanding debut for 16 year old Junior Tchamadeu. He totally took it all in his stride and I am sure at one point he was even marshalling Harriott into position. This was brilliant news not only for the young man but also the football club, and to be a part of a win and a strong defensive effort, must have been a great effort.

The U’s strong home record continued with a strong team performance. More like the U’s we know. Another gear to their football after the misfire at Exeter. The game was a battle and I am sure that Steve Ball would have been looking for more goals, but they result and work rate has to be applauded.

That same defensive offensive was at Scunthorpe on Tuesday. Dean Gerken is throwing himself around as he was as a U’s teenager, and in a midfield devoid of 3 normal starters, how well are Noah Chilvers and Luke Gambin doing? Our first win away from home will take us nicely to Port Vale and Cambridge before we welcome Morecambe to the U’s where I hope that we will be able to welcome more of you into the ground.

I hope that the next week bring us more of the positive news we all love from the U’s. Thank you once again for your support, and good luck to Steve and the players

4 December

Obviously I am over the moon that the U’s fans will finally be allowed back into the stadium, but I am also so disappointed that the green light coincided with December. Scrambling to find and wash winter apparel when it would have been so much kinder in the summer. All this is totally tongue in cheek of course, but I do have a strong suspicion that a certain “Jim” will still be wearing his shorts for the 5.30pm kick off tomorrow.

This is a vast step in the right direction for football at our level. For me it is the chance to prove to the doubters that football fans can follow the critical rules when they need to do, especially for the benefit of the club they support. That benefit will probably be long term though because I cannot see the numbers allowed being profitable for the U’s at the moment. If all goes well then it will be the catalyst for more U’s fans sooner rather than later I hope.

So onto tomorrow and the chance for the U’s to continue their unbeaten home run in the league. After the Exeter debacle, we battled to a draw against Crawley on Tuesday night. It was an opportunity for the players to find their feet again and although it wasn’t a classic I thought we seemed like ourselves at time, especially in the final quarter. That said, a different story would be told if it was not for Dean Gerken who made some exceptional shot stopping saves. After some recent errors Dean responded to his critics in the only way he could and all credit to him.

It was a fantastic strike from Harriott and U’s fans will be pleased to see him fit and back in form again. I thought that Sowumni did well after so little action this season and of course I was delighted to see Tom Lapslie back on the pitch. Please wrap him up in cotton wool Mr Ball. He gives us the midfield bite that I love to see.

A down side for me is that we now have two players suspended for tomorrow in Stevenson and Welch-Hayes. Another 4 cautions on Tuesday, although I thought Ben was unlucky, brings the U’s even closer to wrong end of the discipline table. It is the manner of several of the cautions that disappoints. Petulant tackles and misdemeanours and I think we are better than that. With a busy and important couple of months ahead, especially with injuries, or in some cases players self-isolating, we will need our better players on the pitch rather than sitting in the stands.

Back to tomorrow and on this occasion as we are being allowed to bring in our own non –alcoholic refreshments, I am looking for ways to keep my Bovril and Balti Pie hot before taking my seat. I had thought about placing them under the bonnet of my car but I suspect that apart from being stupidly dangerous, the thought of an oily flavoured meat based drink does not really appeal to me. Perhaps a well-known food courier company could moped them up to me?

Seriously though it will be great to be back watching the U’s tomorrow. Fingers crossed that more fans can be accommodated soon and also fingers crossed that the U’s make up for my lack of hot drink by delivering a very warming 3 points.

27 November

The pain of yet another winless game at Exeter coupled with our heaviest defeat for 5 years will live long in the memories of U’s fans. The only silver lining edging the Coronavirus cloud being that we were not allowed to be there in person to witness it. Our long journey home to Colchester, dissecting the game, arriving back in the early hours, would not have been for the faint hearted.

Having ground out the iFollow viewing for all of the 90 minutes I am struggling to understand where that result came from. Exeter were slick, smart, strong and precise in virtually everything they did. The U’s were a long way off the level required to at least match them and several players looked strangely elsewhere, especially with their passing. After the FA Cup disappointment against Marine where I offered a little sympathy to the players, but watching the final stages last Tuesday night was embarrassing. The pity is that our cup exit has left the U’s with no game this weekend, so they now have a week to potentially stew over that performance before Crawley come to town next week where they must find a way of getting back to the levels that had previously taken them to the play off positions.

These levels were on show at Mansfield a week ago where I thought the U’s gave as good as they got and showed the fight required to come back for the point. The finish from Luke Norris was very good and with hindsight, with so many attackers on the pitch in the final stages, I bet that Steve Ball would have been disappointed not to have snatched victory.

The emptying of the U’s bench of attackers that night was courtesy of the new rules regarding the now 5 permitted substitutions. My own jury is still out on whether this is a good thing or not. It will certainly change the thinking of managers, otherwise we would not have seen 3 being replaced at Exeter after 45 minutes. Some teams may not be able to cope with excessive changes on the pitch.

Such a shame that the U’s get dismantled in the same week where plans are put in place to hopefully place us back into the Jobserve Community Stadium to support the team. As I have said before, I will always prefer to watch the U’s live than via a screen, so I will jump at the chance. Clearly much of the work has already been put in place by the U’s and they deserve huge credit for doing so. It will then be up to us as fans to make sure that we follow all of their rules and help the club make this work. To think it will be a “normal” experience would be wrong. That will come in time, so for now let’s just focus making it as enjoyable as possible. Time to dust off the scarves, hats and gloves though I think!

Thanks for support as always U’s fans and I hope to see some of you back up at the stadium real soon