|The View From The Other Side - U's Vs Doncaster|
Thu 13th Sep 2012 12:00 by Daniel
How long have you supported Doncaster Rovers?
Lewis: Although I like to think that I have supported Doncaster Rovers since birth, it is unfortunately not the case. My Dad supported Manchester United, so that's who I liked most before being introduced to Doncaster Rovers and Belle Vue at the age of 7 in 1998, at the beginning of John Ryan's reign as Chairman. Since then, I have been a loyal supporter both home and away.
RedJ: I've supported Doncaster Rovers for 17 years, not having heard of them until 17 years ago.
What are your memorable moments and games between the U's and Rovers?
Lewis: Although I can remember playing Colchester in the past, unfortunately nothing sticks out in my memories. I think the last time we met, the game finished 0-0 but looking through our past few encounters it seems you often beat us in Colchester. That's probably why I can't recall any memories; I've done my best to erase them!
RedJ: I always remember one year at your place the ball being smashed at a steward and his flask of tea going all over him, and that's something that will always stick in my mind. The 1994/5 season game was also one that I'll not forget. I remember falling half way down the stand after that third goal where I actually met the guy who's now my best friend who ended up dragging me up, so that was pretty special for me.
What are your expectations this season?
Lewis: Following an awful Championship campaign last season, relegation was exactly what was deserved. A good start to the season this time around was required to give any chance of any success. The first two games went well for Rovers, beating Walsall and Bury in the league as well as York and Hull in the League Cup, but since then our form has dropped slightly. Defeats to both Crawley and Yeovil have made us drop down the table but I fully expect a successful season. I am not aiming too high but expect a top half finish, with the Play-Offs being a bonus.
RedJ: Well I've always said midtable upwards, top 10 would always be a bonus for me. We've been up and down lately, picking up a great opening day win followed by a gritty one against Bury before losing two on the bounce, and even though we're only early in, this would go some way to supporting that idea, but then we always seem to do it the hard way.
Who is your danger man?
Lewis: David Cotterill has been superb in his opening few games, scoring a wonder goal at Walsall on the opening day. Kyle Bennett is also a threat on a good day, able to beat any defence with ease to both create and score goals. Iain Hume will provide an extra attacking option since joining from Preston on loan.
RedJ: Personally I think our dangermen are Kyle Bennett (when he's at his menacing best he's truly terrifying for defenders), with 2 from the first 2 and Chris Brown. Brown is the kind of striker that I reckon will bang goals in if he stays fit (which is the problem, really) but when he's on song, he's another to watch in the box. Dave Syers is a little terrier too and pops up with goals all over the shop, and his never stop running attitude really makes him a threat no matter where he's playing.
What do you know about our team?
Lewis: Unfortunately, there isn't a lot I know about Colchester United but I do know that you have recently moved from Layer Road to your swanky new base. I also know that some of Layer Road remains at the Weston Homes Stadium, with the floodlights having been moved between the sites. I understand you have a strong squad, with players such as Freddie Sears standing out.
RedJ: I'm aware that you've had a pretty similar history to us in terms of bouncing round the bottom two tiers for decades on end, and I know about the height of your history in the last 15 years or so, particularly memorable though for me is you playing against Leeds and winning 3-2 in the cup. I don't really know much about your current squad, but with players like Sears and Morrison I can see you as being a decent challenge for all comers this season.
What's your prediction for the game?
Lewis: If we can play as well as I know we can, I think we could travel home smiling on Saturday but I can't help but feel the game will finish level. Maybe 1-1 or 2-2 would be accurate but if we show up, especially in the second half, I think we could just snatch a win.
RedJ: I think 2-1 to us (no bias obviously!) and I think it'll either be scrappy as hell and we'll scrape home or the wingers, Bennett in particular, will run you into the ground. With Woods in goal, though, anything is possible.
Will you be bringing a crowd?
Lewis: Although Doncaster Rovers have never visited your new stadium, I don't expect a huge turnout. Rovers' fans don't seem to travel in big numbers unless the side are doing well. It is also the St Leger Festival in Doncaster this week, with the St Leger race taking place on Saturday afternoon so this may take the fancy of some fans more than the trip to Colchester.
RedJ: Having not seen how many we've been given, I'd guess at around 700 with it being a reasonable distance and not a particularly glamorous tie (in contrast with the Sheffield United match which is also very soon, which I'd imagine would detract from the away crowd at your place). We've been pretty good on the road this season, and from what I've heard from opposing fans, we've been one of the noisiest at least. We're just a pub team having a laugh, after all!
Finally, how has having a new stadium changed your club?
Lewis: When the Keepmoat opened in 2007, attendances were greater than those at Belle Vue. We maintained good crowds over the first couple of seasons (winning the JPT and League One Play-Offs helped) but since then they have clearly fallen. Many people were put off because the council were in charge of the stadium and prices were high. The atmosphere was also affected which is put down to the ground being fully seated by many fans. The club have now taken over the management of the venue and are working with fans to improve the atmosphere and other factors. Over the past season fans were staying away because they were sick of seeing us lose, but hopefully a good season will help things improve and draw more supporters in.
RedJ: I'd say our atmosphere has gotten gradually worse since we've been at the Keepmoat. Now the ground is under our control things should improve, mind, but the service at the kiosks was far less personal than at the old Belle Vue, and it just felt so cold in terms of character. The ideas for having an unreserved section behind our goal though should improve things. On the other hand, it's much more comfortable, and the facilities are much better, and there's now a decent sheltering for the cold!
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