Date:Tuesday August 26 2008
U’s Up For Cup In Sleepy Suffolk
Preview: Ipswich Town Vs Colchester United, League Cup Second Round
“This tie bubbles the brain, fizzing, bouncing away in the imagination, even if there is a deficiency of lighted-fuse significance that would otherwise let it blow the consciousness.”
Sleepy Suffolk will burst awake the moment Colchester United slide up the A12 tonight to play Ipswich Town in the League Cup. Portman Road could easily double as a Freudian playground, because a pile of pullout-analysis and lip-pursed expectation inflates the best tie of the round.
The referee’s kick-off whistle ought to unleash some of the tension that has been building between fans in the week-and-a-half since fate threw the two teams together.
The hope is that this midweek game between rivals will enrich the rest of this campaign, of course, and not merely mark one isolated point where a county cat-fight between Essex and Suffolk took people’s eyes off the ball.
Football’s equivalent of a Freudian slip come Tuesday would involve witnessing crowd behaviour’s ugly perils prevail, instead of seeing the skill and free-flowing finesse of a potentially stupendous match.
High-stakes means headlines, Micky Mouse Cup, or whatever. Both camps have bravely fought against plastic mantras during the pre-event sparring phase but, remember, Colchester’s long-term vision was skewed last time the U’s rode in to see the Tractor Boys on away turf.
It is now exactly ten months and a day since Col U took an outstanding lead through Clive Platt’s thumping finish in the fateful autumn clash last October, only to suffer a humiliating 3-1 defeat.
The gut-wrenching manner of the loss would define the rest of their relegation-riled season, so it becomes tempting to transpose that particular legacy onto this encounter.
Is the subtext of this game all about United exacting revenge for the downward spiral of doubt that Ipswich inflicted that night? Pop-psychologists could probably feast forever on the emotional wreckage that Colchester dumped on the wrong end of the motorway as leaves turned and fell.
Justice was arguably done in the return game in April at Layer Road when United ensured they were not Blue and White in the face by winning, virtue of a superb Scott Vernon salvo. Although barely delaying the inevitable demotion, the U’s salvaged a shred of pride through their 2-0 victory on more familiar soil.
Switching attention back to the latest chapter in the chequered narrative of Colchester V Ipswich face-offs shows that today’s game is, plainly, an altogether different matter.
This tie bubbles the brain, fizzing, bouncing away in the imagination, even if there is a deficiency of lighted-fuse significance that would otherwise let it blow the consciousness.
With nothing of monumental importance to preserve – no league status, for starters – less pressure exists this time to bill proceedings as a fight for rights.
Unless you count bragging rights, that is. Oh, and then there is Kevin Lisbie’s intriguingly imminent return in a tug-of-war battle between his old and new paymasters.
That the U’s have something to prove, then, to their geographically nearest, but not quite so dearest, rivals is taken as a given on occasions like these. The game in prospect should have you wide-eyed by now. If not, at least be assured that no time remains for a nap.
Wake up, Suffolk. Colchester United are coming.
As Time Corrodes, Robson Stands Its Test
Long-time King of East Anglia and former England manager Sir Bobby Robson, recently admitting that another cancer battle may kill him, will look down on us tonight in statute form during the Colchester Vs Ipswich game.
His monument, funded by Town, their fans and the local council, acknowledges Robson’s illustrious 13-year spell with the side and reinforces his status as a national bastion of footballing standards.
“People tease me that it’s the ultimate honour to be turned into a statue before you’ve met your maker,” says Robson, in his brilliantly revealing autobiography, Farewell but not Goodbye.
Sadly, there are those who brand Sir Bobby a worn-out geriatric – probably the kind of people who reject all forms of deference outright.
There is an alternative, more positive, side to the age-gain coin, though; credit is accrued in wisdom, which 75-year-old Bobby has in abundance.
While time corrodes culture, values and the more waif personalities across all of sport, Robson continues to stand its harsh test, both along the terraces in our region and around the continent. May he always.
Date:Tuesday August 26 2008
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