Well, my last column was called "Winning Ugly", so it`s only fair to give credit where it`s due.
Stand up Paul Lambert. Five games into the new man`s reign and we`ve registered three wins, a draw and a defeat. Arguably, we played some of the best football in that defeat, to Millwall.
Those that saw the 5-0 hammering of Carlisle may disagree but isn`t it nice to be debating which has been the best recent U`s performance rather than the worst?
I don`t know what Mr. Lambert has done - I wish I did, then perhaps I could file my application next time the job comes up - but whatever it is it`s working.
Managing a football team is a bit like interior decorating, in a way. I make the analogy as I`ve just moved offices.
When I turned up to see the new place my new 'roomies` were standing their, scratching their heads about how to fit four people into the small space we had. "But we need that space free for the sink." they said. "We can`t put that there because we need more space for that…" it was one excuse, problem or hurdle after another.
I`m not one to blow my own trumpet… much, but a firm hand on the tiller some simple, basic instructions and suddenly the room seemed twice the size. Everyone was happy, everyone had their space, their role, they could get to where they needed to, without impeding or annoying anyone else and - well, it all looks rather lovely now. I even got a pot plant on the windowsill - very Feng Shui.
The room isn`t massive, it isn`t pretty but with a bit of paint and creative thinking we`ve made the most of the good points and hidden the bad. Ask your missus about that next time she`s putting her make-up on. On second thoughts… don`t.
Paul Lambert (really needs a nickname, "Paul Lambert" or "Mr. Lambert" is going to get cumbersome… "Lamby" seems flippant - answers on a postcard please) has done the same with the U`s.
We`ve got our weak points, some of which we`ve discussed here: our lack of wingers; our chopping/changing defence; our injury prone striker; our all too similar forwards - but though you may still be able to see those issues still, they`re no longer the main focus.
Instead, your eye is drawn to: the ball-winning, goal-scoring midfield quartet; the solid-looking no-nonsense defence; the impact substitutes - now, what were those problems again?
Clever isn`t it?
No new furniture, no new players but things look better.
We have won pretty too. Yes, Carlisle were one of the few sides on an even worse run of results than us but a win is a win, a 5-0 win is emphatic in any circumstances. Finally the 'curse` of the new stadium is broken, we 'can` win there after all. The crowd can make the atmosphere electric.
Our next five fixtures include four at home. Today against Orient in the Cup then Walsall, Yeovil and Hereford come to WHCS - with Peterborough (hardly a schlep) away in the middle somewhere.
Posh aside, the others are all mid-table at best or struggling against relegation i.e. games we "should" win. A win in the Cup, to go with our dash towards Wembley in the Paint Pot Cup, four (or more) wins in the league and suddenly our league position will look a lot more healthy - in fact four wins would nearly double our points tally!
Personally I`d still settle for 'Winning Ugly` but Mr. Lambert has made this 'shade of magnolia` look so lovely…
Roll on the super U`s!