Date:Sunday August 19 2007
Value For Money At Layer Road
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Steady Teddy and Quiet Man Williams Do Exactly What It Says On The Tin
Many call him the Quiet Man of Championship football; he might not be glamorous, but he doesn’t care. U’s manager George Williams, a ‘Mr. Colchester United’ if ever there was one, is walking proof of a mantra that runs right through this football club: true class is understated.
There’s no doubting that, just over a year in to his tenure, we’ve got the right man as boss here in Geriant Williams. After the recent thrilling draw with division heavyweights Sheffield United, he highlighted the summer’s new recruits had already been schooled in the Colchester way of playing football – upholding, from first whistle to last, great self-belief, commitment and a never-say-die attitude.
How else do you explain two dramatic equalisers away from home on the opening day? Clive Platt’s debut goal was particularly satisfying, given that the points seemed lost; his looping header showed all those fans who believed the club had experience a summer of regression how wrong they were. Lessons have been learnt, it seems. This season’s away tips should be a lot more fruitful than 2006/7, where the side won just 20 points on the road.
Post-match, Geraint was full of prise for the team’s performance, and typically remained as aspiring as ever: “It’s a good point away from home. Maybe we could have come away with a bit more,” he told BBC Radio Essex. Williams also saluted new-boy Teddy Sheringham, whose arrival in white and blue is widely compared with Robbie Fowler’s transfer to Cardiff City.
“The first conversation I had with Teddy was like the advert, ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’,” Williams said recently. A true professional from day one, the 41-year-old played the full 90 minutes after minimal pre-season action due to a calf injury. Wave good-bye, then, to a myth that Colchester’s latest number eight has been signed to fulfil part of his job-description as a commercial cash cow.
In today’s feverish climate, where popular chatter states that every outfit and his mascot really ought to be challenging for a place in the top-flight, both Sheringham and Williams provide a breath of fresh-air. “How some of the bigger clubs in our league are all going to get into the top two, I don’t know,” observed the gaffer on Sky Sports last week.
He’s more of a pragmatist than damp squib, though; excited partisan is perhaps the best way to describe him: “Even at Colchester the crowd are now saying: ‘We were 10th last year, let’s try and push on for the Premiership!’
Against that kind fantasy, which might leave the club open to the curse of pressure through inflated expectations, Williams’ ethos – a belief in quiet progression and classy carpet football – is proving a winner. It also feels absurd to assume now, when season-ticket sales have ballooned by thirty percent since last term, that Colchester lack ambition.
There seems to be nobody more ambitious and hungry, incidentally, than Sheringham; he appears so composed and hard-working on the pitch.
Listen to Teddy cuffing away the claim that Colchester could suffer the second-season syndrome after one great Championship year. “There’s still a mainstay of players here who know what they achieved last season; with new faces, you won’t get any complacency.”
Like Sheringham, the manager is helping keep a healthy bridge between a large canyon of hyped perceptions and sporting reality.
Amid all this talk of values, at least we should be confident of getting a continued value for money this season, the last at Layer Road.
Date:Sunday August 19 2007
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