Life Under Geraint
This article appears in today`s U`s Review, the Colchester United official Match Day Mag. Vital Colchester would like to thank Colchester United and Media Manager, Matt Hudson, for his continued support this season, and are proud to have forged such good links with the football club.
Life Under Geraint
Hats off to anybody welcoming Burnley fans to East Anglia by following an unofficial headwear theme. It revives Steve Cotterill`s comments after September`s 2-1 win at Turf Moor: "Colchester must be riding out of town with sombreros on."
United`s sun hasn`t stopped shining since that game, even if playing football at Championship level is like going into the fairground`s house of horrors when faced with different mirrors.
Weekly, the impact of this distortion makes results impossible to call, because England`s second tier can make a fat cat look thin, or cause the chest of a plucky challenger to swell unrecognisably in size. Points mean prizes and reputation is worth nothing.
It is a division with no room for ego, certainly, which starts a debate designed to excite the punters with their coins. Which is better: Coca Cola Championship, or Premier League?
For playing personnel, the latter cannot be rivalled. However, when considering that 208 countries recently agreed to pay a combined £2.7 billion for exclusive rights to Premiership matches until 2010, the mind boggles. Survival of the financially fattest is a new slogan to resonate throughout the League`s crumbling pyramid.
While Championship football may be of inferior quality to the top-flight, the former presents a more accessible version of working man`s theatre. That is mainly because it seems to symbolise everything soccer should be cherishing - including terracing, and encouraging supporter involvement in club affairs.
Chiefly, of course, a football club should represent the local community, and here Col U are case in point. One enquiry, for example, (from a season-ticket holding friend) was all it took to succeed in preventing smoking in the Family Enclosure at Layer Road. Had the same situation occurred at Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge, we would still probably be awaiting a reply.
Thankfully also, this division does not require it`s bosses to have UEFA Pro Licence qualifications, allowing those like Burnley`s Cotterill to speak his mind on all things sombrero-related.
The only thing threatening to gallop through the flat lands of Essex right now is reality. It has stormed into our fairy-tale of a campaign recently and, after disappointing losses to West Brom and Plymouth, is attempting to drag Colchester down a peg or two in the standings, away from potential play-off paradise.
It is almost an unwritten rule though - in this season of an expected relegation fight - that United do not go down without a scrap, despite Geraint Williams not being a fan of verbal sparring.
George`s style is actions over words, where an often non-committal interview technique is eclipsed by his attacking substitutions. Fierce programme notes also constantly demand good displays, especially under the 'Layer Drome` lights. Three points are always necessary.
This method of management acts - along with his current record of played 34, won 15, drawn 6 and lost 13 matches - as his justification for letting the division`s resident clowns take on the media circus. It falls to neutrals everywhere to decide whether people like Mike Newell and Ian Holloway are simply savvy, or stupid, for playing with the press.
Colchester`s all-round stability - we`ve had Robbie Cowling`s takeover, don`t forget - looks to have been the making of them and it stems from Williams` unwavering composure at the top of the tree.
Perhaps George`s biggest achievement, following his promotion from assistant in the summer, is that, now, losing never feels like a terrible mistake - just a lesson well learnt.