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Premier Concern is Undue

Premier Concern is Undue

"The only way Parky can expect to get a job in the Premiership is when Alan Pardew is sacked," said one Colchester fan before the Wolves game on Boxing Day, still bitter about losing our one-time terraced God.

Harsh, perhaps, but maybe former favourite Phil Parkinson, now number two at Charlton Athletic, will eventually end up in charge of the London club, courtesy of the U`s and via Hull City. Whatever happens to him in the long-term, fans should wish him luck - as this website did - and stop begrudging him for leaving.

Parky is involved in a Premiership set-up now, and Colchester have also been flirting with the idea of joining with the elite these past months, although promotion to the Premiership should, by rights, be a thought entertained someway down the line.

Dwelling on a possible rise to the top-flight makes a convenient news story though, not least because England`s top division is supposedly, as BBC London broadcaster Tom Watt put it: "the wealthiest, the most watched, the most exciting" league in the world.

His writing, in the QPR match programme, 'hoops`, on January 1st seemed to echo what many people think about the Championship: it is a division full of obsessive clubs, constantly fretting about what goes on upstairs in the glitzy Premiership.

Watt again: "Twelve months ago, the cliché was still being trotted out about the English Premiership being the best in the world. Now it seems more fashionable to smile ruefully and say: maybe not."

The reason for this, probably, includes a poor showing of our alleged 'golden generation` at the World Cup, and the bung episode of the past season or so. Those two events have taken the shine off the all-singing and all-dancing Premiership somewhat. They needn`t be linked, however, as a Serie A in turmoil did not prevent Italy from taking home the Jules Rimet trophy.

But I digress. Back to this fashion for turning our attention away from England`s Premier League, and instead staring into the basements below, beginning with the Championship. It`s healthy, but only extends as far as the pubs and bars up and down the country.

Championship chairmen view the task of gaining promotion a little differently to the average punter, it seems, as supported by a recent national report. It revealed that only six of 24 managers in the division have been in the job longer than twelve months.

This is probably because many former top-flight teams now playing Championship football (take your pick) expect promotion as some kind of divine right. Financially, too (Premiership exposure is supposed to be worth an estimated income of around £20 million annually) there is also a huge incentive. This means we can easily spot anyone who claims they do not want to be there, as a liar.

As far as Colchester United are concerned though, keeping a lid on expectation will be the secret of any further success. The club is run with the word 'perspective` ingrained within every policy, (from transfer budgeting to contract negotiations) and supporters have long been brought up on that kind of lean diet.

The Championship can become just as much a cutthroat league as the Premiership, if you let it. However, promotion is obviously not the be-all and end-all for Colchester this season. Or in any season, for that matter, since according to Watt - and as evidenced by the fleeting fame of local East Anglian teams Norwich and Ipswich - the Premiership is more a den of iniquity than a safe haven for the fantasist.

So carry on dreaming of a possible promotion, by all means, just try, in the words of Kipling, "not to make dreams your master."

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Tuesday January 16 2007
Time: 1:37PM

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