Colchester United F.C – ‘meeting the opposition’

Colchester United – ‘Meeting the Opposition’

To finish off an eventful League Two campaign, one which has promised so much and still does with a playoff place at stake, Colchester United will travel to Prenton Park where they will meet Keith Hill’s Rovers. The previous meeting between the two clubs resulted in a 2-2 draw, to earn that playoff place the Whites need at least a point again this time round. Thus, with so much at stake I spoke to United supporter Lisa Ford who informed me about her personal experiences following the club and gave me an insight into the club’s on and off field position amongst other subjects.

How long have you been a Colchester United supporter?

Since 2018. 

Highest and lowest points across that time?

In the past three years, the highest moment has to be the win against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao cup. However, the lowest has to be not being able to watch them in the stadium since the COVID-19 outbreak apart from a trial run game in December.

Random fact about the U’s?

We have not seen Eddie the Eagle, the club mascot, since December 2019! 

What were your expectations for this campaign and how have they fared with what has actually happened?

I expected us to pick up where we left off last season with a good cup run and at least playoffs. However, we will finish this campaign near relegation which wasn’t exactly what we predicted. 

When United make the long trip up to Merseyside this weekend it will be Hayden Mullins that guides his men from the touchline as he was appointed interim gaffer in late March following the dismissal of fellow interim boss Wayne Brown. However, it was Steve Ball that started the season off as manager. Was it the right time to relieve Brown and Ball of their duties and has Mullins had much of an impact in his role so far?

Ball was always going to be given a chance at some point but unfortunately for him I think it was too big a job. Maybe the board saw how Brown had been for Maldon and Tiptree and believed he was better suited but again the results just didn’t find for him it seems that Mullins with Tisdale seem to have clicked and we are seeing better performances and results. 

Robbie Cowling is owner of the U’s and put a statement out recently to dismiss rumours of the club being on the verge of entering administration. What are your thoughts and the general consensus from the fanbase of Cowling and what was the initial reaction to the administration rumours? 

Cowling is very much a business man and his prime thoughts are making sure the club stays afloat. It’s his money that went into the club and he uses money from his other businesses so I genuinely don’t think he would allow the club to go under. As for the fan base, all fans like to blame someone for results and he seems to be the one that takes it.

Your danger men?

I’ve always rated Frank Nouble and Callum Harriott. My youngest loves Harry Pell but I think he has a short fuse when frustrated and teams know this and my eldest is a defender so it’s Thomas Eastman for him and he is a constant in that team. 

The last time the two clubs came head-to-head was in late March, it resulted in a 2-2 draw, Danny Lloyd and Jay Spearing being on the scoresheet for the visitors. What were your thoughts on that game and did you think that a draw was a fair result?

Another game where we gave away a lead to end in a draw. It was a dirty game Harry Pell was hot headed and got booked but then scored so all was forgiven.

How do you see the upcoming game panning out? (Score prediction and how both playing styles may look like etc) and why, if you do, do you think the upcoming meeting will pose more questions than the previous encounter in Essex?

I’m not confident with any game we’re playing at the minute. I feel a few of the players don’t play in natural positions and also it could potentially be dirty again. I would go with a draw so either 0-0 or 1-1. 

What eleven do you think will be chosen by the visiting interim gaffer?

Shamal George, Tommy Smith, Omar Sowunmi, Thomas Eastman, Miles Welch-Hayes, Harry Pell,  Noah Chilvers, Brendan Wiredu, Jevani Brown, Frank Nouble and Michael Folivi. However, I would like to see more of Joshua Bohui. 

Thoughts on Tranmere? The club in general.

I don’t know the club too well but my thoughts on the team were that they can be quite dirty.

What are your thoughts on Colchester United’s January transfer business? Did it have much of an impact with what happened in the remaining months of the season and would you be interested in keeping any of the new recruits for longer? Who is the one player, that may have been a January recruit or not, that the club have to keep hold of in the summer?

Folivi only now seems to be making his mark with a few much needed goals he maybe should have played more from when he came through. Having Wiredu and Nouble back was the god send for my two. I really really hope Nouble comes back permanently. I feel the club needs to give him some reassurance that the managerial and the close relegation battle was just a unique one off this season. Hopefully we keep Mullins and Tisdale and start afresh next season with the same oomph we seemed to have found with these last remaining games.

One player in particular may come up against his former club this weekend, in young goalkeeper Shamal George. The Liverpool academy graduate played a part in Tranmere’s 2018/19 promotion to League One, has he had much of an impact at the JobServe Community Stadium?

I believe so! He made some outstanding saves against Cheltenham a few weeks back. I think it takes a while for any player to find their feet with a new club and start shining. I think he’s had an impact, an impact which means Dean Gerken may be on the bench for a while.

Colchester United goalkeeper Shamal George during his time at Tranmere. ‘He made some outstanding saves against Cheltenham a few weeks back. I’d say he’s had an impact’

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