Date:Friday January 18 2008
I`m back. After my little 'having a baby sabbatical` I`ve returned to lighten your afternoon with my poetic prose… or haunt your match day with my waffling witterings depending on your view point.
It`s quite a different view at Layer Road this afternoon though eh? No, not because the low winter sun gets in your eyes. Because of the new signings. Two already and possibly more by the time you read this, with Daniel Fox in talks over a move.
Chris Coyne`s already looking the part. His move was quite drawn out but with a number of complicating factors at his former club and other interested parties that was hardly surprising. What`s important is he`s here now and already the defence looks sturdier.
Take a bow if you saw the Phil Ifil signing coming. I don`t think anyone did? Spurs fans I`ve spoken to are gutted he`s been let go, which tells you all you need to know about what quality we`ve obtained there. He has the large part of his career ahead of him too.
Coyne broke our transfer record again (after Clive Platt did to it what he`s done to many opposition centre-halves this term) and word is Ifil`s move could end up breaking it again with add-ons and clauses.
It feels odd, Col U spending money, doesn`t it? The fact our record transfer was £50k was an odd thing. On one hand it was quite embarrassing. 90% of Premier League stars get paid more than that in a week! On the other hand it was a source of pride. We`d spent so little but look where we are! Finishing in the Championship`s top ten!
Our continued success was like a thorn in the side of the Leeds and Nottingham Forests of this world. We spent barely a fraction of their overblown budgets but were, literally, in a different league on the pitch.
Now we`re splashing the cash, does it feel the same?
Let`s get things in perspective. £350k (the rumoured fee for Coyne) is hardly Abramovich-esque. At the same time our rivals in this league are still spending stratospherically larger amounts. Just in this transfer window: Stoke, Leicester and Preston have all spent millions, plural. And QPR? Even Carol Vorderman would struggle to keep up with the numbers flying about at Loftus Road. Three of them are immediate rivals in the table.
For the price of one of their million-pound signings we`ve picked up Coyne and Ifil, possibly Fox too. We`ve hardly stepped into the big spender`s league overnight.
More important than the cost is how quickly the new players settle in and gel with the rest of the team.
New signings help boost the squad`s spirits, especially when they see players of quality arriving. It sends the message from the board and management: "We`ve not given up, nor should you."
It gives us fans a lift too. A buzz of excitement and anticipation to see the new kids in action on our home patch. Coyne`s first towering headed clearance will be met by thunderous cheers no doubt and if Ifil can recreate his raking cross-field passing at Layer Road he`ll get a rapturous reception too.
Our position is still precarious though. It was scant reward that a well-earned point at high-flying Bristol ended with us dropping to the foot of the table but we need to be looking up (there`s nowhere beneath us to look now!).
Forget the table. If we can get the results over the next few weeks the table will take care of itself. We need to ride the bounce of the new signings and maintain that upward momentum.
Realism is key though. If Fox does sign and slot in at left-back, that`s 75% of the defence replaced. None of them have played with each other before, let alone with Baldwin or Virgo and Gerken. It`ll take hard work on the training ground but it`ll take a bit of time too.
That last one is not a commodity we have in abundance at the moment, so it`ll require patience from us fans too. It`s no coincidence that our best performances this season have been away from Layer Road. The pressure cooker atmosphere which served us so well last year is now working against us as it gets to our nervous players.
Coyne, Ifil, Fox(?), Yeates, Gutteridge, Lisbie, Platt and Teddy - all new to Layer Road this season (even if Yeates is a returnee). That`s eight players, most of the team. They need to know about the support Layer Road brings and how that pressure can affect the opposition but help them.
More than ever your unequivocal support is needed. Give those lads a welcome that`d make a volcano seem chilly. Roar on those Super U`s and they`ll give you more to cheer about and so the cycle goes on. We`ll have 'Fortress Layer-drome` back before you know it.
You can read the full article and more from CO2 in the U's award winning Matchday Magazine stil priced at just £3
Date:Friday January 18 2008
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