Looking back, moving up
As we reach the halfway point in the season I thought it was a good time to go leafing through a few of my old wibblings for this page. It`s astonishing. No, not the typos and shocking spelling but how far we`ve come in just the four or five months of this season.
At the outset I was: welcoming the new manager "after an exhausting interview process"; fretting about the departure of Neil Danns and Liam Chilvers; stressing about the lack of depth in the squad and worrying about the U`s being able to hold on to Greg Halford (good to know that some things never change!)
But what a change for the other things.
Our "inexperienced" new man at the tiller is the Championship equivalent of Hannibal (no, not the one from the A-Team!) guiding the U`s through treacherous mountains against all odds. He`s quickly built his own backroom team from sports scientists and physios to Big Mick Harford.
Can the continual improvement from 'Big` Chris Iwelumo be coincidence? Can our luck with injuries be just that, luck? Maybe. Maybe Geraint has just had "a plan come together." Sorry, wrong Hannibal again. Either way, he certainly deserves a cigar.
Not that he`d smoke it just yet. His feet are solidly on the ground - and that`s not a quip about his height or weight! He`s handled himself with remarkable dignity and composure when surely inside he is thinking: "Wa-he-hey! TOLD you I could do it!"
Geraint has resisted the urge to crow and we should follow his lead.
I had the pleasure of attending our recent match at Crystal Palace with two mates of mine, both Palace fans. I bullied them in to coming in with the Colchester fans, (even though one has a Selhurst Park season-ticket!) I can be very persuasive. Am I glad I did. Magnificent. Again. And that was just the U`s support.
The team finally mounted a successful away raid, taking advantage of a demoralised Palace and bragging rights are mine all the way until May - the return leg, on the final day of the season. Of course they`re now insisting I should join them in the away-end at the Layer Dome...
What have I done?
I pleaded my case: "If it`s a meaningless match, I will. Fair`s fair." "Ohhh no." they said. "Meaningless or not, you`re coming in with us." We discussed the relegation worries of both our teams (they a little more animatedly than me) but, like Geraint, inside I thought different. I was thinking: "What if it`s a play-off clinching game?"
I bit my tongue and we talked over what a party we`d have when we`re both "safe in mid-table."
Still waters run deep my friends. And despite my early season worries, so now does our squad.
My fellow message boarders were raving about Hogan Ephraim`s performance for the reserves in midweek. I fully expected to see him on the bench against Palace. He wasn`t. How could he be?
And we`ve come full circle. From my first waffle of the season to the most recent. Just last week I was raving about our squad`s strength. I`m starting to repeat myself. This is just the façade though. You know what I`m thinking inside. You`re thinking it too. Keep that to yourself and roar on those super U`s as if your life depended on it, not just the time of your life.