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I told 'em Oldham, the first time battery - U's to prevail at flat Boundary Park
at 18:41 10 Apr 2021

I know I'm the nipper here, first game for me was 20th August 1971, 1-0 victory over Hartlepool, courtesy of a Len Ashurst own goal. Hooked ever since.
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Martches 10/04/2021
at 17:00 10 Apr 2021

All in all, not a bad set of results really. Could have done with Southend losing, but only a point from a home game against mid-table Crawley is definitely second prize. Barrow slipped up conceding a lateish equaliser at home to Carlisle. Grimsby lost as well, that's nice :-)
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Letters from Wiltshire #43
at 10:53 10 Apr 2021

Brain’s pork f’aggots - gorgeous!
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Rate the players feature
at 10:39 10 Apr 2021

I’m blaming Robbie Cowling
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Happy League 2020/21 Week 31 (of 34) - Deadline Saturday 10th April 15.00
at 10:37 10 Apr 2021

WYCOMBE WANDERERS v LUTON TOWN 0-2
ACCRINGTON STANLEY v AFC WIMBLEDON 2-0
CREWE ALEXANDRA v OXFORD UNITED 2-1
FLEETWOOD TOWN v ROCHDALE 2-0
LINCOLN CITY v BLACKPOOL 2-2
PORTSMOUTH v BURTON ALBION 3-0
BARROW v CARLISLE UNITED 1-1
BOLTON WANDERERS v HARROGATE TOWN 1-2
CAMBRIDGE UNITED v EXETER CITY 2-1
SCUNTHORPE UNITED v TRANMERE ROVERS 0-2
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I told 'em Oldham, the first time battery - U's to prevail at flat Boundary Park
at 01:24 10 Apr 2021

RC has not helped the club this week. The players have been affected by the off field antics and they are fragile at best.

Honestly Durham, I realise you clearly want this to be the case, but how exactly has Robbie Cowling not helped the club this week? Would you rather he didn’t respond to complete fabrications in the press? I’d prefer a chairman who stood up and defended the club when we’re attacked, and I reckon our squad feel the same.
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I told 'em Oldham, the first time battery - U's to prevail at flat Boundary Park
at 00:01 10 Apr 2021

Positive - we're still in the fight, and we're still several results ahead of the bottom two. Of the two away games, I thought we'd do well to get a point, and we did, just not in the order I expected them.

Let's see how Grimsby and Southend respond tomorrow.

Now more than ever Colchester United need our unwavering support, so give it up U'suals, we're as strong as The Old Oak Tree!!!
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I told 'em Oldham, the first time battery - U's to prevail at flat Boundary Park
at 21:22 9 Apr 2021

Penalty was a fair call, the free-kick wasn't, but when your lucks against you, that's how it goes unfortunately. The third was just terrible defending, but after that, with the substitutions, we were back in it, and two goals, and what should have been a third, should have meant a miraculous recovery. But sadly not, and pressing for that elusive third we conceded twice on the break. Always happens, but if Mullins had tried to shut up shop and hold on to a 3-2 defeat, everyone would be probably more angry than they are now. That's football I suppose.
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I told 'em Oldham, the first time battery - U's to prevail at flat Boundary Park
at 20:59 9 Apr 2021

All the good work getting two back undone in extra-time trying to get the third. Heyho, let's see how Grimsby and Southend fair tomorrow.
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I told 'em Oldham, the first time battery - U's to prevail at flat Boundary Park
at 18:50 9 Apr 2021

More or less - the cut-off date is the 4th Thursday in March. Any club going into administration after that date have the 10-point deduction suspended until the end of the season. If they are relegated regardless, it's taken off the following season's tally, if not it's taken off at the end of the season they went into administration - which of course may still relegate them.

If it is Oldham, and they want the least damaging outcome, they'll want to get sufficiently clear of the bottom two to take the hit this season and survive in League 2 without a points deduction next season. All of which might make them a bit of a wounded bear desperate for points tonight and the remainder of their season.

This ruling closed a loophole initially exploited by Leeds (sorry Whales) at the end of the 2006/07 season, when they looked doomed to relegation, but not mathematically so at the time. However, it was Boston who took it to the next level, choosing to go into administration during their final game (which they were losing at the time) away at Wrexham, and set to be relegated regardless.
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Letters from Wiltshire #43
at 14:44 9 Apr 2021

Took a while to post this, as the language checking algorithm didn't like the proper spelling of f'aggots
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Letters from Wiltshire #43
at 14:43 9 Apr 2021

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!

Salisbury City v Hull City
Saturday 14th November 1998
FA Cup (First Round)
Attendance 2,570




Letters from Wiltshire #43, and the random match selector has chosen one of the few non-U’s matches in my memorabilia collection, and the visit of Hull City to my then home-town of Salisbury, back in the First Round of the FA Cup in November 1998. This was a rare feat for the Whites, and as a result was quite a big thing in the town – particularly in an area more traditionally associated with rugby.



No doubt many of you will have read that perma-tan Phil Brown has taken over from Mark Molesley as manager of our beleaguered South Essex rivals Southend United. This will be his second spell at Roots Hall, his first stint starting well with three Wembley appearances and eventually promotion to League 1 via the play-offs, but ending with the ignominy of being placed on ‘gardening leave’ (why not just sacked?). It is therefore intriguing that the random match selector has chosen a match involving Hull City – the club where he forged his managerial reputation, eventually taking them to the dizzy heights of the Premier League.

To manage Southend United once, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to do it twice looks like carelessness…

Never mind managing Southend United twice, it’s worth reflecting that the Colchester United Phil Brown connection is significantly more entwined than that. When Brown arrived at Hull City, it was of course as assistant to newly appointed Phil Parkinson, after Parky walked out on the U’s following our own promotion to the Championship. Needless to say, despite their bluff and bluster, Peter Heard rinsed Hull City for a tidy sum in compensation on the steps of the High Court. Brown stepped up to be joint caretaker manager alongside Colin Murphy when Parky was sacked less than four months into his new job, the final straw being their 5-1 demolition at Layer Rd.



Salisbury in one paragraph
The original Salisbury grew up within and around the ramparts of Old Sarum, an Iron Age hill fort which probably saw a bit of Roman on Briton action for a while also. The hill fort was refortified in the Saxon period, eventually forming part of Alfred’s Burghal Hidage defences, a network of fortifications designed to give the Vikings a right kicking. Always a poor location for a settlement, New Sarum (modern-day Salisbury) was established in the valley below by Bishop Roger in 1220, after the army refused him entry to the fort after curfew, and he had to spend the night sleeping in the ditch. Old Sarum survived as one of the original Rotten Boroughs, continuing to elect a member of parliament until 1832, despite there only being three houses and seven electors at the time. In 1221 work started on the cathedral, the main body of which took 38 years to construct – that’s actually quite quick for cathedrals. Apparently, the foundations were formed on just 18 inches of f'aggots on a gravel bed – society was considerably less tolerant in those days. Since then, there’s been riots, bloody assizes, rebellions, plagues, all the usual stuff you expect in medieval and post-medieval Britain. I arrived on the day of the 1990 World Cup final – oh, and Russian nerve agent assassins were out and about quite recently.

The Big Day
So as I said, the magic of the cup and all that meant there was considerable interest from the local population for this one. Generally one of the better-supported non-league sides at their level (at the time Salisbury were a reasonably well-established Southern League Premier Division side), they had moved from Victoria Park in the city (literally a park pitch) up to the purpose-built Raymond McEnhill Stadium (known locally as just the Ray Mac) a year earlier. With significantly increased capacity as a result, this allowed a record 2,570 to attend the game, including a few coach-loads from Hull and myself and my daughter Lauren for her first football match ever.

On the day
The teams lined up as follows:



Mr Brown had yet to arrive at Hull City, who at the time were managed by Warren Joyce as caretaker manager. He was caretaker manager because Mark ‘Attila’ Hateley had been sacked as manager during the preceding week, after an exceptionally poor start to their 1998/99 Third Division campaign had seen 12 defeats in 18 attempts which left the Tigers well and truly adrift at the bottom of the table. Amongst their line-up that afternoon was Gregor Rioch, son of Bruce, and an accomplished lower-league defender on his day. Salisbury, on the other hand, were having a reasonable season in the 6th tier of the Football League, definitely holding their own as a solid mid-table outfit.



Although the official capacity for the Ray Mac is currently 3,740, a sizeable proportion of that is just grass bank down one side of the ground and a chunk of the south end behind the goal. The terrace forming the remainder of the south end was occupied by the Hull supporters, which left most of the remainder crammed in on the main covered terraces at the north end and down the west side of the ground. It was, therefore, surprisingly cramped, so finding a vantage spot that Lauren could see the game from proved tricky, and we ended up down at the front near the north-east corner flag.

Salisbury City were at the Tigers from the outset, and clearly were in no way over-awed by their league opponents. Aidy Randall in particular was having a whale of a time in the midfield, chasing down everything, and really giving the Hull midfield and defence a torrid time. It was also clear to see why Hull were struggling at the wrong end of the league, and there was clearly expectation in the crowd that an upset could be on the cards. However, as we know only too well, if you don’t take your chances, then the chances are you’ll eventually be punished.

The game reached half-time goalless, and so despite the crowd, it was time to treat Lauren to her first taste of football concourse food – I think it was a hotdog, bottle of water and bag of crisps, and she was loving it all – particularly chuckling at the (ahem) docker’s banter from the terrace around her. I seemed to be spending quite a bit of time reminding her not to repeat anything she heard when she got home!

Into the second half, and I suppose it’s fair to say that the fitness levels of the professional side were starting to show through. The Whites were still having a decent go, but now starting to find themselves under sustained pressure at times too. Eventually, and I’d still say against the run of play on balance, Hull City took the lead with an effort from Gregor Rioch. As gutting as it was, the heads of the Salisbury City side didn’t drop, and for the next 10-15 minutes again they had Hull City on the back-foot. This included a cast-iron certain penalty, which referee Rob Styles inexplicably waved away.

About halfway through the second half came what remains one of my comedy gold moments watching football. A couple of Hull City chavs with a flag, clearly believing they were so much harder than a bunch of non-league yokels, decided to try and ‘take’ the home terrace behind the goal. Now, they kind of hadn’t figured that yokels spend most of their day performing hard manual labour out in all weathers, are generally tough as old boots, and have hands the size of shovels – they soon realised they’d made a terrible mistake. They were eventually dragged out (aka rescued) by the police, battered, bruised and minus a Hull City flag, with bellowing laughter from the agricultural sorts ringing in their well and truly boxed ears.

Anyway, back to the match, and having been denied a certain penalty for Salisbury City, inevitably Hull City then doubled their lead with just over 10 minutes to go. This one really did knock the stuffing out of the Whites, many of whom were already running on empty, and some game management substitutions from Warren Joyce saw Hull City over the line and into the Second Round of the FA Cup.

Salisbury City 0 Hull City 2 (Gregor Rioch 55’; Brian McGinty 79’)

Despite their dreadful league form, Hull City got through the Second Round too, winning 2-1 away at Luton Town. Their reward was a trip to Aston Villa in the Third Round, and though they lost 3-0, they would have done very well out of their share of gate receipts for an attendance of nearly 40,000.

This cup run also seemed to be the catalyst for a remarkable turnaround in their league form, winning ten and drawing eight of their 22 matches in the second half of the season, comfortably avoiding relegation out of the league – that honour befell Scarborough. Hull City supporters to this day still refer to that season as The Great Escape.

Incidentally, whilst me and Lauren were showing support for my adopted home-town in the FA Cup, the U’s were up at Bedlington Terriers – I reckon I had the better day of it…

Up the U’s
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Rumours are just rumours
at 01:04 9 Apr 2021

But you’re spreading baseless speculation that Robbie Cowling is about to leave the club, here, now. How’s that helping?
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Change at Southend
at 23:57 8 Apr 2021

Crikey - looking forward to TanMan's half-time team talk on the pitch at the Jobserve if true.
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Rumours are just rumours
at 21:31 8 Apr 2021

My apologies Durham, but this needs careful consideration and response.

The club has now issue a revised statement - RC has withdrawn his claim that someone at the EFL leaked the news. I would imagine that his legal advisor told him to do so. Undoubtedly, but who knows if he might have been on the right track to begin with. I guess it might come out if there was an inquiry?

The statements that we have been receiving from RC are becoming more and more difficult to digest. It's a personal opinion, and I respect yours, but not to me. If anything, I've found his honest frank statements throughout the pandemic quite reassuring.

This has been a difficult year. Which started with the removal from the club of 5 decent players following our defeat to Exeter. No dispute with that, but we know why, and when the brown stuff started to hit the fan, RC brought one of them back.

On the field it has been challenging with defeat to Marine, a mauling at Exeter and then demise from just outside the top seven to third from bottom. Yep, don't disagree.

The adverse publicity that the club has suffered, WB appointment (the racism storm), the players not taking the knee and the supporters booing the gesture, RC's loss at the Employment Tribunal and firing first without considering the implcations all suggest that he is unhappy at the club. Again, it's all about opinions, but none of that indicates RC is unhappy at the club. Quite the opposite, RC's response on all those matters has been positive, pro-CUFC, and indicative of someone who's in this for the long haul.

Notwithstanding what has been happening behind the scenes, do not be suprised if RC leaves the club within the next few months. Based on his recent statements, there's no evidence to draw that conclusion, and I'll be exceptionally surprised if he does. In the unlikely event he does, you do realise we'll really be in the brown stuff?

There are more problems behind the scenes than we possibly know. Finnacial, managerial, administrative you name it. You may know more than you're saying, but what is that based on?

Whatever happens there is clearly one club close to Administration offering Grimsby a lifeline and if not us then Southend or Barrow or A.N Other. There may be, who knows, but the twitter rumour may well just be that, a rumour?

It is a total mess and certainly not helping the club prepare for Oldham away. I agree, the recent flurry of negative reporting is an extremely unhelpful distraction, and we know there are more than a few who would dearly like RC to go just because they don't like him.
[Post edited 8 Apr 22:25]
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Rumours are just rumours
at 18:26 8 Apr 2021

Indeed - can't see how that interpretation can be drawn whatsoever?
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It takes one to know one?
at 01:40 8 Apr 2021

Sadly not, nor did Manson audition for the Monkees, Marianne Faithful get involved with The Rolling Stones and a chocolate bar, or Marc Almond (or other celebs over the years) have to be pumped clear of ‘stuff’.

If it’s any consolation, Jocky Wilson did feature as a back-drop to the Dexys on TOTP, but it wasn’t a cock-up, it was an affectionate and deliberate joke reference by Rowlands
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It takes one to know one?
at 00:11 8 Apr 2021

Fair do's - a draw seems equitable. No one comes out of this too much dignity, neither disgruntled employee Mr Harris, nor Trustee Robbie Cowling.

However, the inflammatory banner headline "Multi-millionaire owner of League Two football club Colchester United called disgruntled employee a 'f****** c***' before ‘being headbutted in corridor’ during row, tribunal hears" really doesn't help. Particularly as it would appear there are both actual recordings and presumably police reports to refute that claim?

I'm reminded of a Guardian article back in the early/mid 80s (pretty sure it must have been 1983/4 when I was in Castleford) under the banner headline "Did you know Bob Holness played saxophone on Baker Street?". The Guardian journalist responsible used it specifically to make a social experiment point.

Of course it wasn't true, nor did he actually want readers to be fooled by it, given he revealed at the end of the article it was actually Raphael Ravenscroft, not Bob Holness. What he wanted to do was demonstrate the point that most people read and believe a headline without necessarily reading and/or questioning the article beneath it.

That Baker Street headline spread like wildfire through mainstream media at the time, and I strongly suspect some still believe it to this day.
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U'sual Champions League 2021 - Quarter-finals
at 23:20 7 Apr 2021

An eventful week in the first legs of the Champion's League quarter-finals, which have finished:
Man City 2 Borussia Dortmund 1
Real Madrid 3 Liverpool 1
Bayern Munich 2 Paris Saint Germain 3
FC Porto 0 Chelsea 2


Group 1



This shows how quickly things can change. Sector4 holds on to top spot on 4pts with his spot-on and outcome from yesterday's matches, and despite drawing a blank tonight. BOOM - ghughes11 misses predictions for yesterday's matches, but goes immediately into the second qualifying slot on 3pts with his FC Porto 0 Chelsea 2 prediction spot-on tonight. The irony that I asked him to change his prediction really isn't lost on me. I (wessex_exile) hold on to 3rd place, equal on 3pts but behind on spot-on predictions, after adding the Chelsea away win as a 3rd outcome to add to yesterdays brace. As with leader Sector4, concordman also misses out on points tonight to stay on 2pts, but with margins so slight at the halfway stage, no one is out of the running yet.

Group 2



Daniel stays top on 5pts, following tonight's correct away win for Chelsea to add to his spot-on and outcome yesterday. However unitedwhites closes the gap significantly with the Chelsea victory spot-on. Despite another outcome to add to two yesterday, with the same away win for Chelsea, mfb_cufc slips into third place on 3pts. No points tonight from predictions leaves durham_exile in fourth place on 1pt, but by no means out of it yet.

The second legs start on 13th April, and as a reminder to those yet to predict, any predictions highlighted in yellow indicate your one predicted exact match with group opponents - if you look left or right you'll be able to work out with whom and avoid clashing.

Good luck everyone!
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It takes one to know one?
at 20:53 7 Apr 2021

Bah...and I would've gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for those pesky Daily Mail evidence-based investigative reporters!
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