|Bristol City 0 v 2 Queens Park Rangers|
Saturday, 6th March 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Be social out there – Preview
Friday, 5th Mar 2021 19:24 by Clive Whittingham
A fortnight ago QPR would have been all over a trip to Bristol City like a donkey on a waffle, now not so much.
Bristol City (14-3-17, LLLWWL, 12th) v QPR (10-10-12, WWWDLL, 17th)
Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Saturday March 6, 2021 >>> Kick Off 15.00 >>> Weather – Bright, dry, cold >>> Ashton Gate, Bristol
Before we go all ‘typical QPR’ on this narrative, let’s pause for a moment and reflect.
Twice this season QPR have caught teams at precisely the right time. Derby away, when the division’s most dysfunctional club and out of control dressing room were conspiring to get Phillip Cocu the sack so Wayne ‘FIRE MAKES WAYNE HOT’ Rooney could start flexing his managerial muscles, couldn’t help but be won. Even Macauley Bonne scored. Cardiff, similarly, prior to their infinite run of wins under Mick McCarthy, weren’t even feigning interest in keeping Neil ‘that rotter turned up to my cousin’s funeral wearing white jeans’ Harris in a job when we rolled up and won 1-0 in January. That winning margin would have been significantly wider with a different referee. It probably wouldn’t have been a winning margin at all had it been played a fortnight later. You might, potentially, be able to lump Blackburn at home into that pot as well.
So, yes, it’s annoying we’re playing Bristol City now, at the peak of their Nigel Pearson powers, with Nahki Wells looking like QPR Nahki Wells as opposed to Bristol City Nahki Wells, instead of a fortnight ago, when Wells looked like he wished he’d listened to his twins and stayed near the zoo, and I could have put together a team from the Crown and Sceptre regulars that would have got at least a point from a game against Dean Holden’s side. Mel up front, and he’ll do the entertainment after.
Of course, had we played them a fortnight ago not only would they have been stumbling around like your nan in her final days not even fully aware she’d shit the bed, but we’d have been the red hot team of the Championship moment. Six wins from seven games, Charlie Austin broadcasting master of Selco (it’s where the trade go), Stefan Johansen the midfielder of our fever dreams, Todd Kane running up and down. How quickly things turn. The defeat to what I considered (some of you disagreed, fair enough) a pretty exceptional, and certainly superior, Barnsley side in the week only exacerbated the annoyance at taking only a point from an average Preston team and a desperately inadequate load of slop at Birmingham. One was considered a good result, basically because it was far away and wet, and the other unlucky, essentially because the pitch was shit, we’d played three days prior and were winning for a bit. We’re not going anywhere with that attitude or those results, precisely because whenever we come up against a Swansea or Barnsley type side we’re miles and miles off.
Those of you that did think we were in the same stratosphere as the Tykes on Wednesday night have, rightly, pointed to early chances missed by Charlie Austin and, more pointedly, Lyndon Dykes. Go 2-0 up there and, then, in theory, 3-1 with Austin’s actual goal, and it’s a very different ball game against the excitable, irrepressible northern children. Chase around in your dust cloud all you like while we sit here in shape reading the paper.
Dykes’ miss was spookily similar to a spaff at home to Stoke before Christmas in one of the two games we’ve had with crowds this season – on his heels, caught in at least two minds, hesitant, over thinking, worried. Livingston Lyndon Dykes, Scotland Lyndon Dykes, dumps goalkeeper and ball in the back of the net in an awesome hail of violence and asks questions afterwards. QPR Lyndon Dykes is a lethal combination of not good enough, and knows it.
How much that ‘knowing he’s not good enough’ is the fault of the massed online hordes of frustrated QPR fans locked in their homes, and just the simple fact that he’s scored one goal from open play all season and nothing at all now for 18 games, was the subject of this week’s pre-match Warbleton in which the manager said the Scotland international was “perhaps guilty of paying too much attention to social media”. Trying to explain, sometimes gently, but often through obvious exasperation and fury, how much of a contradiction it is wanting QPR to invest more in youth, give our young players a chance, give more gametime to Bettache, Willock or whoever the flavour of the month is at any point, and then absolutely torching them on Twitter and Instagram if it doesn’t go well, has been a regular theme of Warburton’s reign so far. He was particularly aggrieved last season, when both Josh Scowen and Joe Lumley deleted their social media accounts under the weight of criticism and abuse, at the attention his young goalkeeper was getting online, and the affect it was having on him.
Warburton is an odd fish. As an interviewer you only get to spend a finite amount of time with these people anyway, but more than any of his predecessors I’ve found it impossible to get a read on exactly what sort of a person Mark Warburton is, what he finds funny, what he does to relax, what his politics are… anything really. I guess we were spoilt with the oversharing of Ian Holloway but Warburton has the poker face to end them all and my best assessment of him from limited material is he is an obsessive, perfectionist. You see it in his over the top responses to the lockdown return date, the fixture list, the state of the pitches. His standards are sky high, he wants things done a certain way, when they’re not he seems to obsess about it. I saw Tweets to Joe Lumley last season telling him to “get out of my club”, a club he’s come through the ranks at , a club he cares about, a club he still celebrates goals and wins for manically even though he’s now a distant second choice to Seny Dieng. Warburton is right to detest that and call it out, but he also didn’t care for the LFW end of season review which said both goalkeepers had poor seasons and cost us points, nor my assertion in the interview (which had long since gone south after an earlier smart arsed remark) that Kelly and Lumley had had “mixed” campaigns. He can, sometimes, be too Warbs. But he has a valid point.
Now here I go along a fine, and often contradictory, line. Your Tweets are bad, my reports are ok. Running this website for the best part of 20 years, and the Twitter feed that goes with it, means I have, inevitably, at times, been hostile and over-the-top in criticism to certain players. Rob Green, Joel Lynch, perennially 28-year-old Sandro, and others have all copped it. If I don't call it as I see it, I may as well work for the official website and churn out the company line. I’m often accused of doing that anyway, protecting some sort of perceived position of influence. Anybody who has had the misfortune to sit near me at matches will know what a lunatic I am, unable to sit still, incapable of shutting up, regularly losing the plot, frequently infuriated by our own players. Lynch, in particular, in his early December run of ridiculous attempts to get a red card, followed by the inevitable hamstring pull in the game before Christmas, used to absolutely drive me round the fucking bend. So who am I to criticise anybody else?
Football supporters work hard for their money, and chuck completely out of proportion amounts of it into their clubs. They deserve a say for that, more than fly-by-night players and managers who are here for a matter of months. If you want to talk about mental health then talk about the value in these people coming out of the drudgery and grind of everyday life and being able to have a bit of a blow out on Saturday, have a few beers, go to a match, shout at the players and the referee. As a professional footballer you have to accept a certain degree of that as part of an incredibly well paid, privileged job. More in a month than I earn in a year for four two-hour training sessions a week and a football match on Saturday? You’ll deal with me shouting at you. Where it becomes hilarious is when beered up, angry, gobshite football fans get on their precious high horse about a footballer celebrating in front of them, or giving a bit back. It’s all part of it, both sides should accept. If we all sat there and politely clapped along for fear of offending anybody it wouldn’t be the same sport, or the same atmosphere. Chanting Lee Camp’s name 15 minutes into Radek Cerny’s debut? Probs a bit much. But we’ve seen with the crowds being taken away and the introduction of VAR just how damaging it can be when you start fundamentally changing the fabric of a sport that’s been around for 150 years.
Where the line is, now, is increasingly blurred by social media. At the top end footballers have social media accounts run by agents and representatives to “build their brand”. If you’re doing that, to pile millions on your further millions, and somebody has a go at you for playing poorly, I feel like that’s pretty fair game and you have to suck that up from atop your pile of money surrounded by many beautiful ladies. People talking on Twitter, Facebook, message boards and so on about who’s playing well, who’s playing badly… that’s just football and sport. Watercooler stuff. It’s been taking place in pubs, radio phone ins, newspaper letter pages, long before the internet. If footballers tune in, go looking for that, and don’t like what they hear, that’s on them. Again, I would say that wouldn’t I? I run this website.
Where it goes over the line, I think, is at our level, when it’s clearly not some PR representative running the Twitter feed, and ridiculously angry young boys are direct messaging the worst possible thing they can think to say to the player, for missing a good chance against Barnsley, or duffing a clearance away to Fulham. Raw fury, from some spotty teenage boy, piped directly into the phone of the player. Next time a black player - Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford - misses a sitter, sit back and watch their Twitter mentions. Angry, angry little boys, thinking of the most vile racial thing they can say, because they wanted Man Utd to win, and now they might not, safe in the knowledge that they’re behind the cloak of keyboard invisibility. Watch how quickly Twitter acts to hammer somebody posting a video clip of a goal in violation of valuable Premier League copyright laws, compared to the snail’s pace of the response to Aubameyang being called a ‘jungle monkey’.
Do we want to be that club where hard working but limited pros like Josh Scowen, Joe Lumley and maybe soon Lyndon Dykes are so sick of what they’re sent that they delete their accounts altogether? Feels like more of a Chelsea thing to me. But then I’ve had frequent replies on my own Twitter when I voice this opinion calling me out for writing horrible things about them, Tweeting derogatory things about them, shouting horrendous things about them at matches. I was an angry little boy too back in the day, I remember a good friend of mine and my dad’s, Ian Furey, pulling me one night after I’d completely lost the plot during a draw at Scunthorpe asking me, genuinely, if I was ok, and why I was so pent up and angry at that age. I had my reasons. I’ve no doubt that were Twitter around when I was early teens, I’d have been sending horrendous stuff to Tony Roberts and Karl Ready, because I hated them, I thought they were dreadful, they ruined my Saturdays, and when you’re 14 and the chemicals are starting to flow that’s how you respond.
So who am I to talk, when I draw the line now at ‘say what you want about them, but don’t copy them into the Tweet’? That’s my line now, because we shouldn’t all sit and clap politely through a descent into mediocrity, and I wouldn’t have a website if we did, but also it’s obviously counter productive for Joe Lumley and Lyndon Dykes to be receiving dozens and dozens of messages telling them they’re fucking crap on a daily basis. Mark Warburton’s line is further one way, yours may be further the other.
There’s something acutely affecting about receiving a direct Tweet, in particular, slagging you off. It comes direct to your phone, you get an alert telling you about it. It means you might be asleep, or it might be the first thing you see when you wake up, or it might flash up while you’re chatting to your mum, or having Sunday lunch in a pub. It might arrive at a point when you're positive and strong enough to ignore it, or land when you're on the tube home after the shittest of days and already beating yourself up. It invades your safe spaces. You go to the pub you expect banter, you go to the football you expect it to be a bit raucous, you ring your mate up you expect some chat. You wake up at two in the morning for a piss, glance at your phone for the time and see a message calling you out, your head isn’t in that space, that’s the end of your sleeping for the rest of the night. Or, it is mine. If you’re a footballer I guess you expect to cop a bit of grief in the ground, but if you’re sitting down for Sunday lunch with your wife and kids and your phone is pinging because you’ve skied an open goal the day before that’s weird, it’s invasive. It does things to you.
I’ll share a paragraph now and then shut up, something I’ve held off saying because I didn’t want whoever it is to know it was getting to me, I didn’t want them to know I was reading it, I didn't want them to know the places it's driven me, and I didn’t want to let the prick win. I’ve also feared that were I to call it out I’d be immediately besieged by ‘whataboutery’ around my own behaviour online, and at games, which is far from exemplary. One of my troll’s previous incarnations once accused me of stealing a photograph of Idrissa Sylla celebrating his winning goal at Fulham. The photograph was taken by Neil Dejyothin, who takes photographs for this website, and so I rejoiced in a victorious reply. But you’re never victorious in reply to these people, the reply is their victory. From there they just drag you down to their level, endless replies and ‘whataboutery’, until you eventually lose it, as I did later that night, and surrender the moral high ground. The fact the account has pursued you for months, made up shit, coated you off, libelled you from behind the cloak of anonymity Twitter provides, is irrelevant. You got drunk and called the guy a cunt, now it’s on you.
As that troll died away, another magically appeared. Same generic headshot, same generic name. Hated me, hated anybody who dared to run a podcast, or a website. Tweeted endlessly about Brexit, abused the left leaning panellists on Question Time, and so gathered genuine followers of a similar political persuasion from the QPR support base, and with that started to come after me, Paul Finney, Flo Lloyd-Hughes, Dave McIntyre and others. It is a systematic failure of Twitter that you can block and ignore people, but it doesn’t stop them seeing what you say, nor mentioning you in their Tweets. They wait for you to get involved in a conversation with somebody else, then join in with that, becuase they know you see it that way, and there's nothing in the 'blocking' mechanism to stop it. On the rare occasion they do something bad enough to warrant a ban, they simply start another account, and so you end up being targeted in turn by DavidW, DavidWilliams, WilliamsDavd, DavidW1882, DavidQPR1882 and on and on it goes. Just get rid of Twitter Clive. Love to. The website, my income, my mortgage, depends on the traffic.
Let me tell you about that targeting: Tweets about how I’m behaving in the pub, and where my reserved tables are, to let me know they’re close; Tweets about how I’m behaving, what I’m shouting, who I’m with, during home games with Middlesbrough; Tweets about me illegally streaming matches (not true) when they know I work for a company for whom that would be an issue that could cost me the job; Tweets about me getting advance information on transfers in return for a favourable write up (Paul Morrissey would piss himself at the mere idea); accusations I’m afraid to say negative things about QPR (pur-lease) because I get access and free VIP seats (the regulars around my paid seat in F Block wish it were so). "Clive Whittingham, the guy who spent his dead dad's inheritance pretending to be a sports journalist" - direct quote from one of his Tweets, because if you appear on a podcast you leave yourself open to that, apparently. No word of a lie, there have been direct private messages sent to my mates telling them I’ve been seen touching up their wives, and they need to watch me. Because what’s a destroyed marriage, and friendship, when it comes to the serious business of undermining somebody who dares to run a QPR website?
You mute, and block, and you report and report and you report and you report, and still it’s there, piped into your phone, while you’re at home, while you’re at work, while you’re asleep, while you're happy and don't care, and most crucially when you're sad and you do. Genuine, actual, real QPR fans you’ve seen at games following, retweeting, calling it “important”. It never goes away, by and large it's one negative comment amidst 200 positive, but it rots your brain like an invasive worm. If it’s like that for me, fuck knows what it’s like playing up front for the team, with no goals from 18.
This idea that ‘they need to know’ and it’ll ‘toughen them up’ and it’ll somehow help is every bit as fanciful as the idea of sending me into a northern secondary school called Clive, and calling the abuse character building. More like soul destroying. Steady coastal erosion on whatever you were as a person before it started.
One day that oh so important opinion, or clever bit of trolling, that simply had to be voiced to somebody trying to play up front for Queens Park Rangers, or write a poxy blog about the team, is going to send somebody under a train.
Links >>> Pearson halts Robins’ nosedive – Interview >>> Opening day thriller – History >>> Give and Tyke – Podcast >>> Bad memories – Referee >>> Bristol City official website >>> The Exiled Robin – Blog >>> One Team In Bristol – Message Board >>> Bristol Post – Local Paper >>> One Stream In Bristol – Podcast
Geoff Cameron Facts No.134 in the series – Geoff was the original bassist in Uncle Dirtnap.
Below the fold
Team News: Jordy De Wijs has travelled. Apparently he’s been struggling with existence, which is a particularly niggly one that takes time to overcome. A 45 minute aerial tour of Aylesbury in Les Ferdinand’s helicopter for the first person to actually spot him. George Thomas misses out with a fear of the West Country accent. Little Tom Carroll, Big Bad Luke Amos and Charlie Owens are the long termers.
Bristol City have been decimated by injuries all season long. Nathan Baker, Callum O’Dowda, Liam Walsh, Marley Watkins, Andi Weimann, Pew, Pew, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grub, Wash, Soak, Rinse and Spin are all definitely out of this one. Jay Dasilva has a broken leg. Tommy Rowe is just too damn good looking. Jack Hunt suffered a knock to the head during the midweeker with Bournemouth so may have to sit out under concussion protocols. Jamie Paterson may not live through the night. Chris Martin is trapped under a collapsed pile of pizza boxes. Joe Williams is struggling with brain and nerve tonic addition. They’d use penicillin, if Mark Paxton hadn’t used it all up getting knobrot off some tart. It’s estimated that the 1-1 draw at home to Swansea in October, when they were missing five players, is the closest to fully fit the Robins have been this season and they lost Weimann and Stephen Sessegnon to long term problems in that match.
Elsewhere: Rotherham richly deserved their spectacular last second winner at Sheffield Blue Stripe during the week after a spate of questionable refereeing decisions from our old mate Darren Bond had artificially brought the Owls back into the game. And they’ve got another ace up their sleeve ahead of a home game with Justice League leaders Racing Syon House, probably the best team they’d have played all season – a Covid postponement. This will leave the Millers, hit more than anybody else by plague and bad weather this season, with four games in hand on those around them at the bottom of the table, and if Billy Davies taught us anything while at Nottingham Forest it’s that this is worth roughly 18 points. Shrewd move.
Bad news indeed for the St Andrew’s dwellers three points above them in the table. Birmingham are the latest to venture into the category five Barnsley hurricane at Oakwell, while Coventry host Wayne Rooney’s Derby County – a planned return to the Ricoh Arena announced in principal this week has immediately turned me against this otherwise likeable, progressive, attacking, attractive young team. Have I missed going to football enough to go to watch QPR at the Ricoh Arena next season? It’s not a conundrum I’m looking forward to addressing with any seriousness, so fuck them, I hope they don’t win another game. Sheff Wed and Wycombe, away at Reading and Stoke, are getting to the requiring snookers stage. Both dead on arrival really. Shame, great trips, good clubs, nice people, will be missed.
Sporting Huddersfield are still trying to work out whether they fancy getting involved in all of this. One win in 13 games and a goals against column that looks like a prolapsed rectum has them peering over the edge, and a televised home game against Cardiff City won’t help much tonight. Seven wins and three draws since Big Mick McCarthy stuck Neil Harris’ white jeans in the charity bag has seen the old dog immediately net a two-year contract extension – you just know he negotiates for TC as well – and they’re in prime position to take advantage of any further wobbles from Harry Redknapp’s latest moneybox on wheels who have an awkward trip up to Preston Knob End this weekend.
Look how much ground we’ve covered there. Only left to mention Borussia Norwich continuing their procession back to the Prem with a home win against Lutown, Swansealona’s date on the Thirteenth Annual Neil Warnock Farewell Tour, and Miwwllwwwaaaaaawwwwwwllllll (fack’s sake Wawwll) playing the Mad Chicken Farmers for their own amusement and nobody else’s.
As always, pray silence please, for Nottingham Florist’s attempt to safely transport that squad down to Watford tomorrow for the early lunchtime game. Love in the time of Covid-19.
Referee: Tony Harrington for this one, a swift return to QPR action after he oversaw our win against Blackburn in February. Fresh from a card fest at Bournemouth v Watford at the weekend, he’s the same referee that had this fixture the season before last when Steve McClaren’s Rangers were denied a deserved point by a scandalous last minute penalty award against Darnell Furlong, something the referee and PGMOL later wrote to QPR to apologise for. I don’t know, no real logical rhyme or reason to this, but I feel giving fixtures back to referees who’ve fucked them up before (and this is far from an isolated incident) just feels needlessly provocative to me, and makes the apology letters they send out ring rather hollow. “Sorry you lost at Bristol City on Tuesday because our referee bollocksed the whole thing up, but to make it up to you we’ll give you the same referee for the same fixture next time…” yeh, cheers lads. It also puts a pressure, or at least a doubt in the mind, of the referee and the people watching and playing in the game – either ‘here we go again’ or ‘watch him even this up’ – that just doesn’t need to be there given the sheer number of fixtures and referees there are. A lousy appointment really, completely unnecessary. Case file.
Bristol City: Getting rid of Lee Johnson towards the end of last season hasn’t freed Bristol City from their extremely streaky nature that has both blighted and lifted their recent campaigns, almost in equal measure. This is a club that either wins every game every week, or loses for months at a time, and rarely anything in between. Their 2017/18 season remarkably contained an unbeaten run of 12 games, another sequence where they lost one and won ten of 12, a seven game losing run, a run of one win in eight games, and another sequence of one win in 13. In 2018/19 they had one run of four consecutive wins, two sets of four consecutive defeats, and nine wins in a row through January and February. So when they lost only one of their first 12 and two of their first 18 in 2019/20 they probably should have known there was some shade to go with their light just around the corner. Four straight defeats for Christmas was recovered rather in January, but as the country locked down for the summer they’d taken two points from a possible 15 and they returned in June to four quickfire losses that killed their play-off hopes and ended the tenure of Johnson. More of the same in 2020/21 with six wins and a defeat to Premier League Aston Villa to start Dean Holden’s reign, spells of three straight wins and three straight defeats, spells of five wins and a draw from eight followed immediately by six defeats in nine, and then the annual cliff dive of seven straight defeats, the last five of them to nil, including a 6-0 at Watford, to end Holden’s brief tenure as manager. Since Nigel Pearson’s appointment they have won impressively, 3-1 both times, at promotion chasers Boro and Swansea but were beaten here 2-1 in the week by Bournemouth thanks to two defensively shambolic goals after taking the lead. It leaves them on a four game losing run at Ashton Gate, and overall this year they’re 7-2-8 at home – only Preston, Birmingham, Rotherham and Wycombe have lost more home games. It’s been either one thing or the other for the Robins so far, nobody in the league has drawn as few as their three. That means they’ve been able to stay buoyant in twelfth despite 17 league defeats, at least five more than any other team in the top half. Only Rotherham (18) and Wycombe (20) have lost more games, only Huddersfield (51) and Wycombe (55) have conceded more goals than City’s 46.
QPR: Speaking of streaky, here come your rip roaring Rangers, no wins in ten games, followed by six wins from seven matches, followed by a draw and two defeats. Rangers finished thirteenth last season with 58 points, 67 scored and 76 conceded. If they can better that with the players that have since gone out of the team that would be some achievement for 2020/21. They currently stand 18 points shy of the total with a clutch of home games against Wycombe, Huddersfield, Millwall, Coventry and Sheff Wed lying on the other side of this tough trip to Ashton Gate where they’re without a win in ten visits dating back to 2003, and have lost their last four. They’ll have to go some not to significantly improve on the defensive record with 39 goals conceded so far (1.21 a game compared to 1.65 last season, eight clean sheets so far compared to last year’s total of six). Rangers conceded 56 in their first 32 league games in 2019/20, 17 more than their current total. The defeat at Birmingham last weekend broke a run of six unbeaten away games, including three wins, lifting them to four away victories for the season. They managed seven last year, which was their best total since the 2013/14 promotion year. Nahki Wells scored 24 goals in 56 starts and 16 sub appearances across two loan spells for QPR before joining Bristol City at the end of the January transfer window in 2020. His goal at Loftus Road for City in early December this season was his fourth against the R’s in seven appearances for City and Huddersfield against us. Since New Year’s Day 2020 only Ilias Chair, My Chemical Hugill and Bright Osayi-Samuel (seven) have scored more goals for QPR than Wells (six) even though he’s only played four games for us in that time. His goal for Bristol City in the first meeting this season means he is the joint top scorer at Loftus Road since the start of 2020 with six from four appearances, level with Chair on six from 29 home appearances.
Prediction: We’re indebted to The Art of Football for once again agreeing to sponsor our Prediction League and provide prizes. You can get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Last season’s champion Mase offers us this…
“Those playoffs are looking a long way off again. Nigel Pearson has had a positive effect on the Robins' recent results and with our flagging confidence and increasing raggedness for all to see in the last few games, this is an unfortunate moment to be heading to the West Country. Hoping for better from the home matches next week.”
Mase’s Prediction: Bristol City 2-0. QPR. No scorer.
LFW’s Prediction: Bristol City 2-1 QPR. Scorer – Nahkiiiiiiiiii Wells
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Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
Letters from Wiltshire #43 by wessex_exile
Well, that has been a lively week for Colchester United in the press, and not least for Robbie Cowling, with not one, or two, but kind of three club announcements in rapid succession to try and put the record straight. First, we had Tribunalgate, which certainly looked very poor according to the initial press reports, but which on closer inspection when some of the ‘fact gaps’ were filled in wasn’t anywhere near the story that some would have us believe. Then of course we had the ‘leak’ that the U’s were about to go into administration, despite all the reassurances we’d been given in previous statements from Robbie. Not so said Robbie again, and particularly angry at what he believed to be the source of the story. Hence statement #3, repeating his assurances, but this time after passing through the lawyer filter to remove his thoughts on the source. To paraphrase Robbie’s conclusion to that statement, let’s hope we can all have a day off from this sort of media shenanigans and enjoy our game at Oldham tonight!
Letters from Wiltshire #42 by wessex_exile
Well, these sure are strange times at Colchester United, particularly for a club (nor a Chairman) not usually associated with the ‘managerial revolving door’ approach. With results not matching expectations or even minimum requirements, and a brief spell after being appointed Interim Head Coach, Wayne Brown has been released to return to the Jammers, for whenever their pandemic-interrupted football restarts. In comes not one, or two, but three new ‘appointments’. Hayden Mullins steps up as Head Coach to the end of the season, Joe Dunne apparently comes back to the U’s in a sort of unofficial coaching/ team-spirit sort of role, and exceptionally experienced lower-league former Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale arrives to provide Hayden with advice and support – crikey!
Letters from Wiltshire #41 by wessex_exile
This afternoon the U’s take on Bradford City in a bid to gather sufficient points to stay clear of the bottom two. It’ll be a tough gig though, even if (as I suspect) Bradford City have left it a bit too late to challenge the play-off spots. They were on a decent run of form, that is until defeats at Newport, Carlisle, Scunthorpe and a goalless draw at home to Oldham put paid to any lingering promotion hopes. For us, it’s simple, to stay out of the bottom two, for all intents and purposes we only need to gain half (or more) of the points that Grimsby or Southend do. Sounds easy, just wish I felt more confident we will…
Letters from Wiltshire #40 by wessex_exile
Today we learned the sad news that Peter Lorimer has passed away, aged 74, after a long-term illness. Love or loathe Revie’s Leeds, no one can deny that “Hotshot Lorimer” was a truly magnificent footballer, and his passing is a sad day for the global football family.
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