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Can U’s kick back?

Can U’s kick back?

This column appears in today's awarding winning Matchday magazine, which was recently voted the best in the Football League at the football awards.

Can U’s kick back?

Fans waking last Saturday, after Derby had demolished Colchester 5-1 in front of the Sky Cameras, may have seen David Beckham in his latest Adidas advert declaring: “The world is round.” Aptly back to basics, then, as United entertain Coventry this afternoon.

A casual observer might think of those buccaneering words of discovery, spoken during Colchester’s morning after the night before, as irrelevant.

They would be wrong, because US-bound Becks made a serious point; so forget all the cheap gags about Columbus getting there first. It was, essentially, that soccer’s spin-cycle can flip you upside-down just as fast as propel you by a peg or two.

After the Rams succeeded in hanging the U’s out-to-dry, those in Essex knew exactly what he meant. A day earlier, Colchester had enjoyed a literal 15-minutes of fame on Five’s Football Night, whilst chief executive, Marie Partner, was also announcing that a future ground-share with Ipswich could be in order.

In the same week, the subject of the club’s rise had continued to confound even the most prominent of talking heads. Watching the game against the Clarets, Downing Street’s former spin-doctor, Alistair Campbell, a staunch Burnley fan, said: “If Burnley can’t go up I think it would be great if a small club like Colchester were promoted - it would not be bad for the Premiership.”

Colchester’s stock has never been so high. Or maybe so low, given that the club shop has only recently replenished its supply of shirts, depleted since Christmas. Such is the fevered demand for all things white n’ blue, that I’ve only just managed to get my mitts on a copy of last year’s fantastic 2005/6 Review, ‘Against all odds.’

That motto ought to be plastered everywhere in Britain’s oldest recorded town, even if the team did not conform to stereotype when surrendering at Pride Park, because it speaks as much about 1971’s famous F. A. Cup victory over Leeds United as it does about this season.

The intention here is not to champion gallant failure, by dressing up an outside chance of securing play-off qualification as a triumph – the table alone expresses that. Better, instead, to highlight how far United have really come over the past season and-three-quarters, putting this relative rough-patch into context.

It seems Colchester merely misplaced their lines for the first half-an-hour away at County, on the big screen. Captain Karl Duguid set about trying to find them, prompting his co-actors by assisting in Jonnie Jackson’s goal, as well as creating chances of his own.

The game was not a contest, in the end, but, at 3-1 down, the hope that it could have been one was alluring enough to keep the attention.

That same appeal has brought you back to Layer Road this afternoon, no doubt. Our unwavering faith is what grants sport the right to welcome a supporter through the turn-style with one hand, and perform a pickpocket operation on their wallet, with the other.

As Geraint Williams promised post-Derby: “There are more highs to come.” Despite four games without a win, I believe him.

We quite often hear it said that, without life’s lows, we could never comprehend the true meaning of the highs. With that in mind, faint muttering about a downturn in fortune – that floats from Barside and into the Family Enclosure – takes better perspective.

Football’s ability to define a working week remains, however, as absolute as ever and it was today’s opposition manager, Iain Dowie, who invented the phrase ‘bounce-back-ability.’

From 3pm, Colchester will be testing theirs.

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Writer:Matt_Us
Date:Saturday March 10 2007
Time: 12:00PM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Wigan 45 24 15 6 87 40
2 Burton 45 25 9 11 84 20
3 Walsall 45 23 12 10 81 17
4 Millwall 45 23 9 13 78 23
5 Bradford 45 22 11 12 77 13
6 Barnsley 45 21 8 16 71 13
7 Scunthorpe 45 20 11 14 71 11
8 Gillingham 45 19 12 14 69 16
9 Coventry 45 18 12 15 66 16
10 Sheff Utd 45 18 12 15 66 7
11 Rochdale 45 18 12 15 66 6
12 Port Vale 45 18 11 16 65 3
13 Peterborough 45 18 6 21 60 5
14 Southend 45 16 11 18 59 -5
15 Bury 45 15 12 18 57 -18
16 Swindon 45 15 11 19 56 -10
17 Oldham 45 12 18 15 54 -12
18 Chesterfield 45 15 8 22 53 -10
19 Shrewsbury 45 13 11 21 50 -18
20 Fleetwood 45 11 15 19 48 -6
21 Blackpool 45 12 10 23 46 -19
22 Doncaster 45 11 12 22 45 -16
R Colchester 45 9 13 23 40 -41
R Crewe 45 7 13 25 34 -35
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