BWB

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

"Banter with Burns" 

9 November 2018

The U’s FA Cup trail begins tomorrow and let’s all hope the road is long one. Not bothered if it’s a bit twisty and turny along the way, but please can we enjoy a bit of a cup run again. I still think that this competition is special. The U’s have some excellent history to be proud of which still eclipses the not so proud stuff, like Bedlington, Gravesend and Oxford City.

Tomorrow will hopefully be one of the good cup days. No dodgy non league pitch or opposition, and perhaps, given the league positions of both teams, the U’s will be the underdogs to Accrington? Could it be an advantage? Just as long as we bark the loudest and come home with the win.

And winning is what the U’s are doing currently. Even when not at their very best, like last week against Swindon where we really dropped down to their level of football. They were one of the poorest teams I’ve seen this season and the U’s found it almost too easy in the 1st half, but just didn’t press the accelerator and truly dominate. Great work by Nouble and Szmodics got us the goal, but sadly the whole mood was tempered by seeing Norris stretchered off. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for our leading scorer and hard working front man.

So who will get the nod to lead the line? Will Mandron be brought back in from the bench or will the gaffer turn to big Frank, and bring Brennan back into the starting XI? Have to say that I do like a leftie attacking on the left. The U’s started the season with Frank up front and it didn’t totally work in my opinion, but as his confidence has grown, he could now do very well as our focal point. That said, I am normally wrong when second guessing John McGreal, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Tom Eastman acting as our closet centre forward.

The EFL Trophy beckons on Tuesday night with the much shorter trip to Cambridge United. Don’t forget that it’s a 7pm kick off folks. It may be the least favourite football competition in the country, but it’s a winner takes all game for the U’s so I’m looking forward to it.

Then it’s the pre-Christmas run in from hell. Apart from bottom dwellers Macclesfield we have to take on virtually every other team in the top chuck of League Two. Quite a test for any team and so they’ll need all of your support if you can lend it please.

Good luck tomorrow U’s and if you’re on the road to support them, please have a safe and secure journey

 

2 November 2018

Was that perhaps the longest 6 minutes of added on time that has ever been played? It was probably still not enough in the eyes of the Lincoln management and players. Such happy people they were, as their 6 yellow cards demonstrated.

It made the win and 3 points all the sweeter for the U’s fans. I thought our management and players were outstanding. Lincoln are top for good reason, and they’ll more than likely win promotion. Therefore only a very good team will beat them this season and the U’s certainly met those credentials.

Maintaining such high standards will be the challenge. In seasons past, the U’s have stumbled from game to game, but it all feels very different this campaign. Credit to the management, the players and indeed the fans, who I also thought were excellent against Lincoln getting behind the team. The test will now be, can those fans that have stayed away for whatever reason, now give the U’s another chance? I truly hope so, because we’ll need their support to get out of League Two.

Home again tomorrow when we entertain Swindon who managed their 1st win for while last weekend, albeit at Notts County. Another 3 points would be amazing to keep us in the hunt.

Will Courtney Senior pick up another MOTM award? I’m sure he’ll be hoping for a more sympathetic referee. Last Saturday he only had to breathe on a Lincoln player for the whistle to be blown. No disrespect to our young star in the making, but he’s never going to be a tackling cruncher of a player.

Luke Norris and Sammie will be hoping for more chances than they saw last week. The combined efforts of all of the U’s hotshots make them almost the highest scorers in the top 4 division of the pyramid. It’s been a while since we can boast that statistic and after a few barren games I expect them to be back in the groove tomorrow.

Looking ahead, the FA Cup distracts the U’s from their league ambitions next week. On paper, and on the map, not the friendliest of ties at Accrington, and I expect the home team to be the favourites. The U’s as underdogs may not be a bad thing and with a good number of U’s fans already planning their journeys, the players should get all of the support they need to pull off the win and get the U’s into the next round. I really hate going out in the 1st round.

Good luck tomorrow U’s, thanks for your support, and don’t forget to check out the U’s Supporters Bar, open to all, before the game

26 October 2018

If you are going to make any game this season, then tomorrow, when the league leaders Lincoln City come to town, must be that game. I would dearly love to knock them back a peg or two, and a large number of U’s supporters cheering on their team would be a massive help. Please do your very best to be there.

Rallying call over, a win would keep us nicely nestled in the play off places after a reasonable week of away games. Tough trips for the fans that made both Morecambe and Grimsby. Sadly I could not make either but from what I have heard, it was backs to the wall in the North West and luckless up in the North East. Any win away from home is priceless of course, and unfortunately we hit a resurgent Grimsby just at the wrong time.

It was very pleasing to read some of the comments and tweets from gaffer and players alike in appreciation of the support they received last week. A lovely touch and certainly most genuine.

No major damage to the league table and the U’s can now look ahead to some home comforts for a while. Very sad to lose Sammie, but hopefully he’ll be back soon, if not tomorrow. The squad can just about cope without him, but as with any injury if gives others the chance. Our bench is strong and salivating at the prospect of some actual game time.

I made the mistake of tweeting that I wasn’t bothered about where the FA Cup draw would deliver us, just as long as we won. Accrington Stanley away, thanks to ball number 13, would not have been my first choice though. Another long excursion amongst a shed load of others this side of Christmas. If the U’s are going to have a cup run, and please God let them, then they might as well start with a demolition of Accrington.

Off tangent a bit, so what does Grass Roots football really mean? The sale of Wembley was meant to have delivered huge sums of money to a level of the game where many a League One or League Two player would have begun their football. Thousands of artificial pitches would have been created. Not much grass there, just plenty of rubber, so what about the stuff that grows in the ground? Keep an eye open for the campaigns to improve the quality, number and cost of these real “Grass” Roots pitches. It might just help the U’s stars of the future.

Our current U’s stars will have to be at their very best to counter the management and players of Lincoln tomorrow. I’m sure they’ll do us proud and I hope you can be there, cheer them to 3 points, and celebrate long into the night, when of course you get an extra hour to do so.

Good luck U’s and thanks as always for your support

19 October 2018

That was probably one of the best Crawley teams that I have ever seen play the U’s. Barely a weak link in sight and so all the more credit to our lads for winning the 3 points. It was a hard earned victory as the possession statistics will tell you, but when you can defend well and still score 3 goals you know you’ve had a good day.

Their only route to our goal was a penalty award. He was inside the box for sure, but as for contact, well it was barely a tickle and their player admitted as much. For two games running now we’ve had to take bad spot kick decisions on the chin. No more please.

It’s at the other end of the pitch where my focus lies this week. I have already heralded Luke Norris this season and for good reason. He’s the sort of centre forward the U’s have been wanting for years. Always wanting to attack and a massive threat in front of goal. Unlike some of his predecessors I don’t keep my fingers crossed when he’s shooting.

I think that John McGreal has shown good faith in Frank Nouble and that faith is now paying off. His goal last Saturday was a strike full of the confidence that he struggled to find earlier in the season. He can and will score more for the U’s this season.

As for Sammie, he’s just excellent in and around the penalty area and the opposition must loath defending against him. He knows what his powers are and uses them to great effect.

Goals are like gold dust in the Football League. If these guys keep banging them in then I wonder how many clubs will be banging on Robbie’s door in January with their own gold looking to secure their services? I would strongly suggest to our Chairman that installs more locks on that door.

The U’s are hitting the motorways these next few days with trips to Morecambe and Grimsby. Tough on the players and fans alike when the fixtures fall in this way. Our away record has been good and it would be great if it could be enhanced with at least one win before we welcome Lincoln City next Saturday. How I would love to knock Lincoln off their perch next week!

We might also be making motorway plans when the FA Cup 1st round is drawn this Monday. Just 3 weeks before the U’s try their hand at the cup again, but just 3 days before they play Romford in the Essex Senior Cup at the Jobserve Community Stadium. Suspect the team will be full of youngsters as it’s the day before Grimsby, but they will still be very worthy of your support.

Good luck in all your fixtures this week U’s, and safe travelling to all of the supporters heading out to cheer them on.

12 October 2018

Our good record at Stevenage was well and truly blown out of the water by Guthrie and Co last Saturday. And there was plenty of water to be honest. Most of it finding its’ way into the stand where we were all shivering. You could say that the U’s were undone by a certain amount of climbing for their 1st goal and a certain amount of penalty area misjudgement for their 2nd goal, but that doesn’t hide the fact that apart from the opening period, the U’s were below par and struggling in the wind and driving rain.

Conditions suited the Stevenage play. Lots of tall men quite happy to see the ball in the air most of the time. The U’s prefer a different style of play and to be honest a couple of our lads went missing a bit as a consequence. Just one game though and definitely not the end of the world. Win tomorrow against Crawley and we’ll be back chasing the top 3 again.

It’s debatable as to whether John McGreal will get the shepherds crook out on a player or two. Not really his style perhaps? The good performance against Southend seems to have given him food for thought though, and he would dearly love to bring Kent back, possibly alongside Prosser and Eastman.  He’s also been talking up our Wolves loanee Aaron Collins this week, who I thought played quite well in the season opener, but since then has hardly kicked a ball in anger. We shall all see about 2pm tomorrow when the team is announced.

So what of that Southend win and indeed the EFL Trophy competition? Firstly, I had a little smile when I saw that Charlton had placed 8 (eight) past Stevenage. Clearly though still not popular with the fans around the country, although an Essex derby peaked the interest somewhat. The U’s victory sets up a nice final game shoot out at Joe Dunne’s Cambridge in November. The winner taking their place in the final 32. I do agree that the competition needs work. It has the stigma of annoyance about it at the moment and I struggle to see the purpose behind it. That said, the U’s have a very good chance of progressing so I’ll be Cambridge bound to support them .

Back to tomorrow and Crawley will be tough opposition. They can claim Lincoln as a scalp already this season and although better at home than away, I doubt they’ll be easy pickings for the U’s players. Be great to have a good backing of U’s fans to support them, and don’t forget that your support of the new supporters bar would also be appreciated. The more people using it, the better chance we have of keeping it and developing it long term.

Thanks for your support as always

 

5 October 2018

Brian Owen used to work wonders for the U’s and it seems that Tony Flynn has also acquired his healing powers.

The walking wounded, albeit minus the gutted Frankie Kent, were back amongst the pack on Tuesday night and they were most welcome. A dazed Tom Eastman and a hobbling Luke Norris looked destined for the subs bench at best, but Mr Flynn had them back up and running to play 90 minutes and secure the much needed win after the Saturday set back.

If that wasn’t impressive enough, the ahead of schedule Tom Lapslie also played a major part, if not the major part against Yeovil. It was great to have our midfield destroyer back in action.

Bury were a tough old side, and to be honest Yeovil weren’t adverse to the occasional foul either. Perhaps the U’s are lucky to have escaped with only Frankie’s turned ankle from these last 2 games.

To lose one centre half was bad enough but to lose two was down right silly. Bury took full advantage. Fair to say though that the U’s weren’t at their best and they’ll be disappointed to lose their 2nd home game of the season.

It was important to get it right on Tuesday and the will they, won’t they play news and possible managerial mind games, certainly provided a boost to players and fans alike. Pity that the attendance was on the low side though.

Frank Nouble stole the headlines for a couple of lovely strikes, but I thought that alongside Lapslie, Kane had a very strong game keeping the speedy Jordan Green quiet.

11 games played and the U’s are in a great position heading the bunch looking to get close to runaway early leaders. Heading the bunch courtesy of the 2nd best goal difference in the top 4 divisions. Only Manchester City can better it. Impressive work as the U’s head to the quarter mark of the season.

Have you managed to take in the new supporters bar yet? I think that it has gone really well and forms a great addition to the match day. Definitely a huge step in the right direction from the powers that be and with our support it can only develop and improve further.

And so we head to Stevenage tomorrow and a reunion with a certain Mr Guthrie which could make for an interesting afternoon. Perhaps let it not become a distraction for us as we look to take more points from another form team. The U’s are looking like a team to take on all comers and our record at our local rivals is very good, so please give the team all your support.

Have a great weekend and Up the U’s!

28 September 2018

The U’s have the opportunity to make a real statement in League Two these next few days. Bury at home tomorrow and then Yeovil at the JCS on Tuesday night. Both have had decent starts this season, so our guys will have to work hard, but just think where we might be this time next week.

6 points would be incredible and will certainly enable the U’s to stay with the early front runners in Lincoln, Exeter and Newport with their strange looking negative goal difference. It’s a chance to pull away from the tightly knit pack of teams all within 3 points of one another below us.

So, 2 big games ahead which hopefully will mean 2 big U’s crowds to help cheer them on. This week has seen the football club announce a new venture that I personally feel is great idea and a huge stride in the right direction. The match day experience is an often used phrase, and on our travels, many of us go green with envy at the social facilities that other clubs have for home and away fans. To have a supporters bar at the JCS is so important and I would encourage all of you to check it out tomorrow and Tuesday night.

It will be in a slightly embryonic stage, but with your support and I am sure, your constructive suggestions to help it along, between the fans and the football club, we can help make it something really special for the future. The U’s want it to happen and the Chairman has invested money to get it off the ground, so now it’s up to us to get behind it. The CUSA will certainly be in there tomorrow doing their away travel bookings etc

The same is true of the football team. It’s clear that a large investment has been made in the squad this season with Pell, Norris and Nouble all brought in with the sole ambition of winning promotion. To move up a league, teams need to invest. Largely, the U’s fans have supported this and have really enjoyed the start of the season. We all need to keep this going.

The players certainly kept their unbeaten away league record going last Saturday. Alas, I could not make Oldham, but from the snippets I have heard, our Lancashire friends were a very decent outfit and on fairness deserves a point. Tough on the U’s though to concede 2 late goals. I am told that Norris and Pell played really well. I’ll keep saying it, in that Luke looks a terrific number 9 and if we can keep him fit and keep giving him chances to bang the goals in, then the business to bring him on board during the summer looks on a par as that which delivered Harry to our door.

Good luck tomorrow U’s and thanks to you all for your continued support 

21 September 2018

These are really happy times to be a U’s supporter. The players are keeping their feet on the ground though, and so will we of course, but long may it last.

It’s clear that the U’s can’t afford any slack games. The decimation of Crewe was brilliant but probably a one off. League Two “standard” must be respected, as Cambridge proved last Saturday. If they had taken their chances, or to be more precise, if Jabo had taken his chances, then it could have been very different.

Dillon kept them at bay though and I am sure that John McGreal will have challenged his defence about the relative ease that Joe Dunne’s men entered our penalty area. To be honest I feel that we missed the destructive nous that Tom Lapslie provides when we’re under the cosh like that.

Still, when they missed the target, we hit it, and in style too. I was delighted for Frank Nouble after his 1st U’s goal. Cheerio left back and a wonderful finish from the big man. I really hope that this confidence boost will help both himself and the team.

It says a lot about our team when they can still notch up 3 goals and a clean sheet when they are perhaps not at their finest. Even better when they can do it in front of an ever growing U’s home support which is nice to see.

The U’s have a pretty decent record at Oldham and it would be great to extend that tomorrow, before a nice little home double against 2 other form teams in Bury and Yeovil. Oh the joys of a Tuesday night game again! Hopefully I was a little hasty in calling the Crewe game a one off?

I managed to make the U’s U23 game v Charlton on Monday night. In fairness, it had more of an U18 feel to it for the U’s. Plenty of teenage talent up against the more experienced Addicks lads boasting the occasional international and Champions League player. Not a bad plan really and many of the U’s lads did well in their 1st win of the season. Andre Hasanally stood out with a good goal and assist, whilst at the back, Paul Rooney, Ollie Kensdale and Chris Forino all look like future and potential understudies to the incumbent centre halves.

So plenty to feel good about at the U’s this week. Let's keep it going

Good luck and safe journey to all those off to Lancashire tomorrow, and good luck also to the local teams in FA Cup action this weekend.

14 September 2018

I’m looking forward to the team announcement tomorrow. The excitement and anticipation of not knowing which players will be selected purely because the FA may have sent a last minute email suspending a player for the game. I’m surprised that FIFA haven’t thought of it already, to along with their other plans to “liven” up the game, such as having 6 goals on the pitch to make scoring easier. Surely “in play” suspensions without any warning or reason must be future of football. You heard it here first folks!

The Luke Prosser story is very poor work from the officialdom. Ludicrous mistaken identity is one thing, but sending an email as late as the Wednesday afternoon saying sorry Colchester United, the referee has made a little error,  you can’t play your captain and key player in the next game, is just plain stupid. Maybe the person employed to type such emails doesn’t work Mondays or Tuesdays? The FA must have forgotten to pay their phone bill too.

Thankfully, on the whole, it did not affect the U’s performance at sodden Tranmere. To be fair we weren’t at our finest in the 1st half. Maybe feeling hard done by and we did switch off badly for their goal. A few half time messages from the gaffer and suspended skipper, and they were out early for a team huddle and a much improved 2nd half. Definitely well worth the point, and it could have been more had the referee shown some rare love for Luke Norris after he was hauled down in the box.

After a long and rainy journey for the fans it would brilliant to see the player fight back as they did. The new season spirit and feeling remains intact and it will take them nicely into the Cambridge United game tomorrow afternoon. Save some money. Get your tickets today rather than tomorrow. It’s a local derby and should be a real cracker. It’ll also be good to see Joe Dunne again. U’s legend, top guy and hopefully a successful manager for years to come.

Finally a word of praise for Diaz Wright after his 90 minutes last Saturday. A few nervous moments, and that’s to be expected, but overall he worked incredibly hard in midfield covering for Lapslie and Comley. He played well and I suspect that the U’s fans will be seeing much more of him this season.

Good luck tomorrow U’s. No last minute emails please, and as always, thanks for your support

7 September 2018

Our Harry Pell was given hell at Cheltenham. Poor chap, I’m not sure that their former talisman deserved the attention that came his way on and off the pitch. By football standards it was relatively minor, but Harry had the last laugh with the vital 3rd goal from the spot. And it was vital because the U’s were under considerable pressure in the 2nd half.

Harry almost had the 1st laugh too as he rose from his prone position and grabbed hold of the ball ahead of Norris for opening spot kick. Memories of Guthrie mucking it up and going against orders last season sprung to mind, but thankfully the adrenalin waned. All 3 U’s goals from dead balls. When was the last time that happened?

And what about that Norris free kick? Ronaldo who? You have to say a big well done to the players for battling for the precious win away from home. They worked hard and got the result that they deserved. Have we got a U’s team this season that are going to strive harder for consistency and goals? I certainly think that we are heading that way.

Tranmere will be a massive test, as well as a long journey for the travelling U’s. Made even harder of course with Lapslie out for several weeks and a few others warming the treatment table. The squad will need a depth of quality to cover injuries but by the sounds of his post match comments I think that John McGreal was hoping for a few more positives from the Checkatrade defeat on Tuesday. A kick up the backside to a few of the fringe and younger players that he expects more if they are to get close to the starting XI.

I had to miss the Southampton game rather than boycott it. The competition remains an unpopular one with fans and I can understand the reasons as to why. Pity though in that more support could help the team to progress. You only have to look back to the FA Cup debacle last season to realise the impact of having just one stand open. From the winning becomes a habit cliché, lets hope that we can still beat Cambridge and Southend in this group to carry on the good work.

Best of luck tomorrow U’s and a safe journey to all going to support them. Don’t forget the big local derby with Cambridge here next Saturday. Get your tickets early folks!

31 August 2018

We're off to Cheltenham again tomorrow and the U's will be seeking better fortune this time around following their penalty demise a few weeks ago. Harry Pell will enjoy his old chums again and perhaps will not enjoy so much the welcome from his former supporters. A nice little goal will help silence them please Harry.

Last week was a set back and this Saturday and next, being tough away games, will test our mettle. Several fans have said to me that it is not so much the new signings that have given everyone a boost, it’s that they sense a stronger resolve and desire to succeed this season. There is no denying that it has gone pretty well on the pitch so far, and they deserve a lot of credit. Where the U’s have struggled in the past is living with the hype, getting themselves up on cloud 9, attracting more supporters to watch and then shooting themselves in the foot.

To a degree this was the case against Northampton. Big old side the Cobblers and I think one or two of our lads struggled with the physicality. It was disappointing, especially because as I say, there were fresh faces in the stadium, but this “new” U’s now has a chance to show that they can evolve from the peaks and troughs that have haunted us in the past by getting right back on track this next fortnight.

So what do you think of the match day programme giveaway? Hope you’re enjoying it. It’s something new and a bit ground breaking. Tongue in cheek, but pity that John McGreal didn’t have time to glance at the Northampton supporters article. They love their two centre halves, but weren’t afraid to tell that world that they were rubbish against quick footed forwards. The trap was set and poor Frank Nouble had to aerially battle a couple of giants for much of the game.

The U’s looked great when they changed formation and personnel. We should have created and scored more overall and at key moments our touch or pass went astray. I’ll keep beating the Norris drum of course and if his header had gone in I think I could have been confident that a start would be his at Cheltenham, where our 1st away win of the season should be forthcoming hopefully.

It may only be August but hanging onto the coat tails of Lincoln City is already a must.

Good luck tomorrow U’s and thanks to those fans who are travelling. Don’t forget we have Southampton U21 here on Tuesday night in the old Checkatrade, and well done to the U’s for securing another England international. Might need some buses for that one!

24 August 2018

Are you also still bouncing from the 6 (six) goal demolition of Crewe? What a truly wonderful game of football for the U’s fans. Discount the fact that the Crewe players are going to reimburse their fans. They weren’t rubbish. The U’s were just out of this world.

Mansfield was a real tough 90 minutes for our lads and I was impressed that the same XI still had power left in the tank for Tuesday. The Stags are promotion favourites and have banged in a few goals already. I think their fans and players were expecting to turn the U’s over, but there is more steel in our guys this season and they clearly forgot about Sammie Szmodics, our fox in the box.

The draw was very much deserved after the work our players put in on the pitch. Luke Prosser and Tom Lapslie were top of the lot in a U’s class room full of A star performers, and another point away from home was brilliant. A quick word of praise for the U’s away support. Good numbers and in fine voice.

Back to the goal fest and it’s hard to put into words just how complete a performance that was. Our foot was firmly on the gas for the majority of the game, and Crewe only got a sniff of Dillon’s goal when we bothered to change gear. Brennan was really impressive. Harry and Tom dominated the midfield and even our defenders are getting in on the goal action. The race for top scorer come the end of the season is wide open.

Nouble v Mandron v Norris. Where do you place your bet for leading man tomorrow? I can see now why Newport played big Frank out wide. Ball at feet he can work up a real head of steam. Deceptively quick and  so I am not sure if he the most comfortable being a target man? Given first dibs he has yet to score so I think he might be given a break in place of Norris, if he recovers from the cheap Crewe shot in the back. He looks a real Number 9 – hence the shirt, and with an eye for goal already, I like him and hope he carries on doing well.

Mandron may well have to wait his turn I reckon. Still no bad thing to have fresh centre forwards on the bench. It’s been a while since the U’s have had that luxury.

So the big question is, can the U’s repeat the feat against the Cobblers? Only one way to find out and that’s to come along to watch and cheer them on. Don’t be surprised if Northampton batten down the hatches and frustrate us. The U’s are a form team and we’ll have to expect that now.

Thanks for your support

17 August 2018

Absolutely wonderful to get off to a winning start to our home league campaign last Saturday, but it was sadly tempered by another League Cup demise at Cheltenham.

I’m slowly falling out of love with cups. It would have been great to make some early running in this competition, and look to carry on the good work into the FA Cup. Forgetting of course the distraction of the cup group thingy where some Premiership youngsters get involved. It was good comeback to make it 2-2 but heart breaking to eventually lose on penalties. A tough way to lose our little unbeaten run.

Tuesdays’ penalty skier was Saturday’s goal scoring sensation. Port Vale simply could not handle Courtney Senior. In fact there only way of handling anyone decent was to dump them on the grass. His goal has been doing the social media rounds this week and if you missed it, please try and find it. Jacksons’ goal was just as good, especially Sammie’s lay off, and it all made for a very good day at the office for players and fans alike. The U’s are an attacking force once again and a fair refection of the game would have seen our winning score line doubled.

The set up looked good against Vale. Different to the previous game, which was still effective, and perhaps this indicates a change in management thinking. The players really liked it too, and as we all know if the players aren’t bought into the game plan, then it’s only going to fail.

They all had great games. Luke Prosser was immense at the back, Harry Pell and Tom Lapslie were both destructive and creative, and Frank Nouble, whilst missing a sitter, showed what a good front man could do for the U’s.

It’s comforting to think that we now have a depth of forwards at the U’s. The pressure is definitely on because only the chaps in form and scoring will get the starts. Nouble could be that man but if he doesn’t hit the net soon, my sneaky feeling is that a fully fit Luke Norris will be the one.

Off to the dangerous Mansfield tomorrow and I’m sure the U’s will have a strong following to cheer them on. Getting a result there would be tremendous. Then it’s back for a home double and if the blue and white shirts can do the business again then August will have been a very good month indeed.

I appreciate it’s way too early in the season to be excited about promotion, but there are encouraging signs at the U’s this season. Thanks for your support as always

10 August 2018

Football almost made it home from Russia during the summer, but the U’s will certainly be at home tomorrow afternoon when Port Vale will hopefully be our first victims of the new league season.

For lovers of the game there has hardly been a gap between our disappointing finale back in May and the new adventure that kicked off at Notts County last Saturday. In amongst it all the U’s have had what looks to be a very productive excursion into the transfer market. Losing Drey Wright for nought was a bitter pill and Sam Walker was always going to leave, albeit he’ll be hoping for more than bench space at Reading.

On the flip side, there is certainly more of an attacking feel to the boys in blue and white with new boys Nouble, Norris and Collins all forward thinking chaps with hopefully goals in their boots. Harry Pell could well be the X factor for us in midfield. Not a player we’ve had in that position for a while, and I believe he’ll do very well.

Keeping our defence intact, especially with Kane signing a new contract, is great news. They were back into the groove in the opening game. The grappling Jon Stead and co rarely had a sniff of our goal such was the strength of our back line. My take on the Kane saga. First up, I am a big admirer. He seems to have different motives compared to other players of his age. Clearly he loves his football and the U’s, and by signing a 2 year deal, when the big move comes a knocking in the not too distant future, and it will for Kane, the U’s have a chance of securing a proper value for him.

It feels so much better at the start of this season, than last, and the point at Notts was a good start. Could have won it deservedly, and Eastman came closest with a beautiful strike that was but an inch too high. Collins looked sharp, Sammie too and Pell was revelling in his declaration that the midfield was his territory and woe betide any opposition player trying to play in it.

The key to our success will be bringing the away game buzz to the home games. Dominate for 90 minutes and to use the old cliché, make it a fortress. I really think that we have the players to do it and I hope that we have the fans to do it too. Promotion will need all of us, hand in hand, pulling in the same direction. Hopefully our numbers will be strong enough to hold up our end of the deal.

Thanks for your support as always and good luck for the season U’s