Date:Wednesday January 3 2007
If Rip Van Winkle had fallen asleep on Monday, to re-awake next morning, it would have been possible for him to believe that several months had passed, and not just one day.
What madness is this, he might think, where Easter eggs adorn the shop window, and Colchester`s Greg Halford is suddenly worth an amazing £7 million pounds? No, it`s not April. It`s still January, where the start of another silly season in the transfer window has apparently trebled the value of the U`s right-back. This website might be a haven for poetic licence, but nobody here would dare to dream up that kind of a price tag.
Competition for the utility-man will obviously drive up his worth, whose admirers are said to include Sheffield United, Manchester City, Portsmouth and West Ham. Last week, Reading were added to that lengthy list. Soon, half of the Premiership will join a crazy bidding war, while a few hacks predicted yesterday that Charlton Athletic could also be after the 22-year-old, thanks to the advice of Alan Pardew`s new number two, Phil Parkinson.
Memo to Geraint Williams: snap their hands off - take the money. If the offer does come in at " £7 million plus," as the Daily Mail printed on Tuesday, then Colchester will have financial security for quite a while, or at least gain the ability to compete on the transfer front. Receiving that sort of a fee would probably also bring a smile to the face of new owner Robbie Cowling, who would, presumably, not have to spend quite as much of his own cash during the January Sales.
The projected fee for Halford stood at £2.5 million until the emergence of yesterday`s tabloids and, at the rate the national press are producing news on the U`s, the media team of Dave Gregory and Matt Hudson will soon be out of a job.
Another intriguing East Anglian transfer saga surrounds fellow Essex boy, Freddy Eastwood. Unlike Halford, however, the Southend striker will be going back to the Premiership - as opposed to playing there for the first time - having formally been a youth player at West Ham.
Still, it will be interesting to see where Halford actually goes, and exactly how much George Williams accepts for him. The only obstacle to Colchester`s search for the largest fee possible is that, by all accounts, his contract is up in the summer.
This column`s advice to fans is: just go with the speculation. Next thing you know, Colchester will be sitting at sixth place in the League, and competing successfully for the play-offs, in their first season in football`s second tier…
Date:Wednesday January 3 2007
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