Colchester fan wessex_exile from The U’sual forum says that Vale’s next opponents should be targeting a promotion push this season.
This season, the play-offs must be our minimum expectation, but we should be aiming for automatic promotion…
About the fan…
“I’ve been following the U’s since 1972, when we were a typical yo-yo lower league side – mostly Division 4, interspersed with occasional brief spells in Division Three. Obviously in more recent years we’ve yoyo’ed even further, down to the Conference and up to the heady heights of the Championship. Since ’81 I’ve been an exile, until 1990 in Bradford (Uni and then work), and since then down in the West Country, but still get to 10-12 games most seasons….”
How do you expect your team to do?
Despite our atrocious away form last season, and a very long run of poor results, we still managed to finish one place out of the play-offs. This season, the play-offs must be our minimum expectation, but we should be aiming for automatic promotion.
What are your thoughts on your manager and his signings?
John McGreal is steadily developing as a manager, from a slightly ropey start, and I think we have a very good prospect for the short-term future. Sometimes his substitutions leave us scratching our heads, but at the moment I can’t fault the results. On paper, Sammie Szmodics is clearly one of our main threats, but don’t let his goals fool you – the hard-working Mandron is every bit a danger. As for signings, five players on transfer deadline day smacked a bit of panic buying, but one or two have worked out very well (and others not well at all).
What are your thoughts on your board?
Robbie Cowling is the “Marmite” chairman to U’s fans – personally I think he is an excellent chairman, if on occasions prone to shoot from the lip. He is very clear that he wants to invest in our Academy (CAT 2 status), to help Colchester United prepare for long-term financial security, and four+ starters each week are usually Academy products and/or youth players.
Can you tell us some quirky things opposing fans might not know?
- We were the first team to go out the FA Cup without conceding a goal in open play.
- Despite some claims, we were not formed out of the amateur side Colchester Town, and actually briefly shared Layer Rd with them.
- Although not as ‘tasty’ as it used to be, one of our fiercest rivalries is with Wycombe Wanderers – only 125 miles away by road.
Any recommendations for forums?
Here (The U’sual forum – https://www.fansnetwork.co.uk/football/colchesterunited/forum/) and the official message-board is okay too ( http://www.cu-fcchat.com/)
How do you expect Vale to do this season?
I expected you to do better than you are at the moment (so did we – OVF editor), and be one of the teams challenging for promotion, but as we discovered last season, this is a tough league to get out of. On present form, I expect you to have a season of consolidation and finish upper mid-table.
What is your team’s most memorable game with Vale?
From a personal perspective, my first trip to Vale Park was 2016, so that’s memorable – it was a good trip, met some interesting locals, great pub (The Bull’s Head), but the least said about the result the better. I guess you chaps putting eight past us in one season (2003/04) is fairly memorable for all the wrong reasons as well.
A score prediction and what do you expect the attendance to be?
I predict a tight game, with the U’s winning 1-0 (Szmodics to score). The last Saturday before Christmas will mean the crowd will be down – 3,128.
Finally can you pass on any decent recommendations for local ‘away friendly pubs’, eateries and the best places to park for our fans travelling to the game?
There are no pubs and eateries near the ground at the moment, other than a McDonalds next to the park and ride, the usual concourse fare and some burger vans.
The Half Butt in Great Horkesley is a nice pub, and if you come by train, the Norfolk and Victoria are good pubs too (not sure if either are home fans only?). The Bricklayers used to be home fans only, but by all accounts is to be avoided these days.
The shuttle buses for the ground leave from Bruff Close, right next to the train station. There is parking at the ground, but you have to book ahead, and by all accounts it’s a nightmare to get out of after the match.
Best bet for parking is the park and ride on the north side of the A12, which is only a 5 minute walk from the ground.