Vital Football

Latest Colchester United News

U's: Back-street to Front Page

U's: Back-street to Front Page

The credentials of Colchester`s metamorphic rise from the English football`s back-leagues will be examined in front of the Sky cameras tonight against Derby, where promoter George Williams has already tagged them, "victims of their own success."

Sorry, but United`s evolution from plucky challenger to Championship tough nut this season lends itself to the prize-fighting comparisons of Boxing, even if the odds of them recording triumph in the 7:45 bout at Pride Park seem slim.

When Derby last traded blows with Colchester, in front of punters at Layer Road in August, the result pendulum swung the right way. United emerged from a 90 minute mud-fight of scuffling and skill to win 4-3, with vigilante striker Jamie Cureton bagging a hat-trick and a first home win of the campaign.

It led to a fourteen-game unbeaten run on home soil, although those from Britain`s oldest recorded town would probably agree that the subsequent streak echoed more the Marvel comic series than a 12-rounder in the ring.

For, despite clinical statistics, Colchester`s silky football has not always been dictated on their own terms - they`ve got one of the worst away records in the division, having won only three on the road.

Form - neither Derby nor United have won in their last three matches - might become irrelevant during this tie against the Rams, though, as the Essex boys look to provide a battering.

Part of the charm about this fixture will be the off-field clashes, where former Derby players Geraint Williams and Mick Hartford return to the midlands, as U`s manager and assistant respectively. The boss, just known affectionately as George in these parts, was Player of the Year for County during his first season there in 1985-6.

On the battle-field of play, 24-year old striker Craig Fagan will line-up against Colchester, the club for whom he scored 24 times in 84 games. The sod`s law alert is high, as he is yet to open his goal-scoring account for Derby, since arriving in January.

Understandably, too much anticipation and hunger could adversely backfire, which is why Williams has been banging on about success as a negative of late. As he put it last week in his Burnley programme notes: "Talking a good game is one thing, playing it is another."

If results fail to match fervent expectation, pessimism threatens to do what Plymouth did to United in their last away game and win, 3 - 0.

Still, United are an enthralling side, appealing to the spirit of any neutral on two main counts. That old British fascination of championing the underdog is appeased, while society`s modern need for the next sensation - an obsession with finding tomorrow`s news - sees Colchester pasted on the billboard that forms our nation`s collective sporting physique.

As evidence, Colchester appeared on Channel Five`s Football Night this morning - albeit at the ungodly hour of twelve o`clock - and were also the subject of a BBC Sport report in February, which hailed them as the biggest success in the League.

Even the former No. 10 spin-doctor, Alistair Campbell, was forced to admit- having watched his beloved Burnley draw 0-0 in the stands last Saturday - that even he could not have imagined such a web of footballing intrigue.

This happy predicament, spiralling from within the head of every Colchester fan, and now materialising in their laps, asks: are the U`s a mega-team in the making, or merely a provincial side with ideas above their station?

For now, since the journalistic job-description nearly always compels an answer, I`ll leave that as a delicious rhetorical question. Leave it in the hope that tonight`s game provides an indisputably resounding judgement, and not simply supply another disposable opinion from the bandwagon of the media`s travelling circus.

Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.
www.papajohns.co.uk/football


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

Writer:Matt_Us
Date:Friday March 2 2007
Time: 8:46AM

Login to post a comment

Recent Colchester United Articles

Colchester - FL Dates 2016/17 (23/5/16)

The Football League have released the key dates for the coming 2016/17 season.

Who Will Colchester Face In 2016/17 (22/5/16)

With no matches remaining in the regular 2015/16 campaign, some promotions and relegations in the football pyramid are already known.

Wholescale League Changes For Colchester?

The Football League have confirmed that Colchester United have received a 'discussion document' that details proposed major changes to the make up of the game in this country.

A New Season - New Rules For Colchester

With the curtain almost drawn on the 2015/16 campaign, with a handful of Play Off games to go and most looking towards the European Championships in France...

Archived Vital Colchester Articles

Vital Colchester articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Colchester
Write For Vital Colchester
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

Colchester v Rochdale
Suggested By:
Colchester win0%
Rochdale win100%
Draw0%

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
C Wigan 46 24 15 7 87 37
P Burton 46 25 10 11 85 20
3 Walsall 46 24 12 10 84 22
4 Millwall 46 24 9 13 81 24
5 Bradford 46 23 11 12 80 15
6 Barnsley 46 22 8 16 74 16
7 Scunthorpe 46 21 11 14 74 13
8 Coventry 46 19 12 15 69 18
9 Gillingham 46 19 12 15 69 15
10 Rochdale 46 19 12 15 69 7
11 Sheff Utd 46 18 12 16 66 5
12 Port Vale 46 18 11 17 65 -2
13 Peterborough 46 19 6 21 63 9
14 Bury 46 16 12 18 60 -17
15 Southend 46 16 11 19 59 -6
16 Swindon 46 16 11 19 59 -7
17 Oldham 46 12 18 16 54 -14
18 Chesterfield 46 15 8 23 53 -12
19 Fleetwood 46 12 15 19 51 -4
20 Shrewsbury 46 13 11 22 50 -21
R Doncaster 46 11 13 22 46 -16
R Blackpool 46 12 10 24 46 -23
R Colchester 46 9 13 24 40 -42
R Crewe 46 7 13 26 34 -37
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Colchester United Results (view all)

Colchester United Fixtures (view all)