Keeping Faith in Davison
Time's wingéd chariot is coming for Aidan John Davison, no matter how many times he tries to delay the inevitable by signing a contract extension. The stallion pulling it has a wild look in its eye, the Grim Reaper is probably on board - waiting to consign another reputation to the scrapheap of retirement.
Age attacks us all, but it`s sometimes sadder to observe the process in a fallen hero who spends so much time in the public domain. Of late, though, 38 year-old Davison has spent more of it on the bench, playing second fiddle to Dean Gerken. He has not been on net-minding duty since November`s 5-1 desiccation of Hull City at Layer Road.
Since then, the former Northern Irish international has singed a new contract, despite previously declaring his intention to retire at the end of the current campaign, saying: "I`ve been retiring for about five years now! I just feel that there`s a bit of life left in me." The next challenge for the journeyman is to win his shirt back.
Davison is a keen admirer of the man who has taken his spot in goal, Dean Gerken. There is a bit of healthy rivalry between the pair, and the elder of the two has emphatically stated his belief that Gerken will eventually play for England.
But, after letting in five goals at Derby, one popular view is that 'The Dean Machine`, as he is otherwise known, can wait. The 21-year old, a former trainee of rivals Southend United, ought to be dropped; but not because he played badly in the U`s last match.
In the blame culture of our society, the position of Goalkeeper is a perfect metaphor. Those between the posts have an ability as 'keepers to make-or-break a match; they are as much a hero as a scapegoat. A gambler by nature, Gerken made two fantastic saves during the Derby game, and frequently pulls-off top-drawer stops every week.
But this column proposes the re-instatement of Davison for Gerken`s long-term benefit, as well as Aidan`s, in the short. Gerken cannot be allowed to become too sure of his place in the Colchester starting XI, because that might breed complacency.
United, as primarily a selling club, will also want their latest young prospect to stay for as long as possible. If this means shelving Geraint Williams' obvious dislike of squad-rotation, then so be it. Until Deano is absolute number one, the scouts should stay away, although he has been watched by those working under national boss, Steve McClaren.
A suggestion tickling the ribs currently is that squad players Jamie Guy and Kevin McLeod may be forced to go out on loan in search of regular football. Colchester have one of the smallest squads in the Championship - if not the smallest (bar, perhaps, Burnley) so letting players go is not something even Williams, still a novice in his first season, could seriously consider.
That sketchy report came from the Evening Gazette - the same newspaper responsible for twisting the words of club captain, Karl Duguid, in the red-hot headline in February: "Pay us what we deserve."
Duguid is supposed to have demanded a pay-rise for the entire team, funded by money from Greg Halford`s record move to Reading, but has surrendered his column writing duties to Kevin Watson for now, in light of the bad reporting.
The Halford money, it now seems, could be spent in part on the wages of West Bromwich midfielder, Rob Davies, who looks set to join on trail after appearing for the reserves against Northampton this week.
The next home matchday, against Coventry on Saturday, ought to confirm or deny that speculation, which constantly runs the Colchester gauntlet. After four games without a win, the stakes are getting higher, and the roulette wheel might cause Williams to ring the changes this weekend.
If those changes include using Aidan Davison in goal, remember, you heard it here first.