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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Time To Summon Some Anfield Spirit

"In the past, Liverpool`s teams hunted like a pack. They were a true team, the team was the star. I believe it is a mentality that all great teams of any era have possessed. There is now a lot of money in this business and the spirit of all for one and one for all is very hard to recover." - Liverpool`s Rafa Benitez, shortly before the 2007 European Cup Final in Athens

It`s all gallows humour and teacup-size storms at Colchester United right now, the modern hub of a town where one very famous Little, Little Star first Twinkled and Humpty Dumpty really fell from his wall. These days, though, the pen seems to gravitate more toward scrawling epitaphs than nursery rhymes.

Ambition, or a distinct lack of it if you believe strikers Chris Iweumo and Jamie Cureton, is the watchword. The former went to Charlton without a fee, with the latter causing a verbal tornado on Tuesday by requesting a transfer. Both have since claimed Colchester are not completive enough in either the transfer, or salary, department.

The good news is that both midfielder Kevin Watson and young defender John White have committed themselves to the club with new contracts, while the board of directors also issued a statement in order to counter those negative claims, trying to extinguish any bad vibes at the club.

Talk about good timing: this sporting soap opera almost had us all reaching for the remote. At the very least, Wimbledon`s forthcoming annual racket-rally suddenly seemed a mite more appealing.

But then a new twist; actions replaced words as United confirmed pre-season ties against Premiership side Bolton and European Cup finalists Liverpool.

Suddenly, talk of tennis wildcards, amid a bid in Colchester to launch the town onto the latest Monopoly board game through popular vote, appeared a perfect motif.

So shifts the summer`s abiding melody from that catchy Kaiser Chief`s number 'Everything Is Average Nowadays` to the eternal terraced anthem You`ll Never Walk Alone.

When Liverpool come to town this July, Essex air will be full of figurative Phoenix imagery and a chorus of regeneration, even if, as the bookies` predict, they field a B-list cast to face Colchester.

The Fields Of Anfield Road will be on tour, along with a fistful of history that holds five European Cups. Liverpool`s famous Red Sea of fans meets Colchester`s, the loudest League crowd who managed to sing themselves Blue and White for the record books.

A common thread between the two clubs, despite being light-years apart on the soccer stratosphere, is that they both overachieved last season, which left the punters dazed, confused and asking: how?

In Liverpool, they confounded the critics by reaching another European Cup Final, while the U`s delighted in defying gravity to achieve a top-ten finish during their first season in the Championship.

Vocal parity between the fans is restored through remembrance that there is even a CD-single elegising the immortal Colchester line about the cavalier spirit of all for one and one for all. Thus, the words Liverpool`s manager, Rafael Benitez, used to describe his team before the recent Champions League Final, printed at the top of the page, could easily apply to those singing the Blues.

Yes, it has been a turbulent summer so far for Colchester. Still, there remains a lot to be said for walking on, and doing it with hope in your heart.




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The Journalist

Writer: Matt_Us Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday June 8 2007

Time: 9:27AM

 

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