Well, that was depressing wasn`t it? All those hopes riding on one game, at home to Sheffield Wednesday - with whom we`ve shared some cracking games, games we`ve normally won - and it all ended in a bit of a damp squib.
Realistically the damage was done long before Wade Small ensured the U`s were on the wrong end of yet another reverse. Take a look at the table.
I know, I know, I said not to look until March was over, but who can resist the masochism when your team is bottom of the league?
Aside from the fact we`ve too few points the other glaring difference between us and the teams around us is the "Games won" column. We`ve won a lot fewer games than the rest. Kind of obvious you might think, given we`re 24th.
It used to be a Colcestrian tradition to steal draws from the mouth of victory - but this season we`ve taken it a step further. I don`t even want to count the number of games where we`ve scored first and gone on to lose, it`s too depressing.
Far be it from me to throw in the towel, I`m not usually a quitter but even my rose-tinted specs are starting to fog over with the black cloud of relegation.
Yes, mathematically we`re not down yet. But one of the most galling things the night of the Wednesday result was the fact that those teams around us managed to pick up points. Sheffield Wednesday`s were obvious but Scunthorpe and Preston both managed unlikely wins against play-off chasing teams.
Even if we did managed the miracle of stringing a few wins together we`d need those above us to drop a stack of points and that looks almost as unlikely at the moment.
Facts of the future
So, what`s to look forward to this season? Perhaps with the shackles off we might start to get some of the rub of the green - hopefully not too much though, I don`t mind the losing, it`s the hope that hurts!
With the pressure to get results off the players` backs perhaps we can start to look at the team for 2008/9. Sir Ted aside, the team`s hardly filled with old players. The majority have at least a few more good seasons left in them yet! Gerken, Ifil, White, Baldwin - all young players who`ll improve with experience. Yeates, Jackson and Hammond in the midfield - plus Medi Elito too. Kevin Lisbie`s been around for a while but is far from retirement age yet, likewise Clive Platt and compared to those two Scott Vernon`s a spring chicken!
There are more besides with plenty of miles left on the clock too. Not least of all Geraint Williams. Too many people seem to forget this is only his second season as a manager. He`ll be better for the experience too.
After our amazingly successful year last time out, a lot of our prize assets got cherry picked away. It`d be naïve to think the squad will remain entirely the same after this season too, but hopefully the circling vultures may have been put off by our results! (There has to be a silver-lining somewhere!)
So warm up your gallows humour, ease off the weight of hope and expectation and enjoy a few more weeks of Championship football. Whatever happens it`ll be the second highest position achieved in the club`s history.
A new stadium and a season of new hope abounds but don`t wish your time away just yet. There`s not much of it left. Enjoy yourself, it`s later than you think!
Up the U`s!
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Reproduced by kind permission of Matt Hudson and Colchester United F.C.