Colchester United – meeting the opposition.
This Friday night, Tranmere will be aiming to extend their unbeaten home streak on the back of a 2-0 win at Salford City in midweek. However, they will have to get past a keeper in great form as ex-Rovers shot-stopper Shamal George returns to Merseyside.
To understand more about Colchester United I spoke to @viewsontheu about a range of United topics, including their on and off pitch situations before taking a look at the upcoming encounter.
How long have you been a Colchester United supporter? How did you first come across the club?
I remember my first game at the Old Wembley in 1998 at the age of 6, it was the Third Division playoff final, I guess I’d have to say that’s when my Col U fandom started. I’m born and raised in Colchester. My Dad is a big Col U fan so I’ve been around the club from a very early age.
What are your best and worst experiences through following United?
Best – When we finished 10th in the championship was unbelievable, we were in the playoff hunt for so long. But I’d go with the Carabao Cup run a few years ago, beating Palace and Spurs, then playing Man Utd at Old Trafford was amazing.
Worst – Last season was pretty terrible, we were on the brink of going out of the football league for most of the season, before we rallied at the end. I’d also have to say the 2015/16 season when we were relegated from League 1, only winning 9 games and conceding 100 goals wasn’t fun to watch!
Random fact about the club/the area?
Britain’s oldest recorded town, no matter what way you enter Colchester you’ll see a sign letting you know!
We’re currently two months into the new campaign. However, what are your thoughts and expectations for the eight months ahead and how do they compare to those that you held at this stage last season?
Expectations for the start of the season for most U’s fans was that we were dark horses for the playoffs, 9 games in we certainly don’t look like that. Whilst we look defensively solid, goals win you games and we’ve only scored 7 in 9. We seemed to have flooded the team with players with great experience but all are in their mid 30’s, we look like a slow team that struggles to score and create. I don’t think this season will be as bad as last but I think it’s looking like a bottom half finish. Still a long way to go though!
Who is the current Colchester gaffer? What are your thoughts on him and the way he approaches games?
Current gaffer is Hayden Mullins, it’s still early days in Mullins’ reign but it’s been pretty uninspiring. We had Paul Tisdale assist him towards the end of last year and we looked good. Tisdale left and I think it’s clear to see he was the main reason why we were playing well. In terms of approach we’ve tried a few formations, I don’t think Mullins knows his best formation or his best 11 and it shows on the pitch.
Who is the current owner of United and what are your thoughts on them? Are there any existing off-field plans that are exciting supporters?
Current owner is Robbie Cowling, I think a lot of U’s fans would say they aren’t Cowling’s biggest fan. He deserves credit but only for what he’s done off the field, we’re financially a well run club, which when you see what happens to other clubs that’s always reassuring. However, since he’s been the owner, on the pitch the club has been in a slow decline. It used to be a great community club but it doesn’t feel that way anymore, we’re only averaging 2500 at home games which I think says it all. It’s also “jobs for the boys” at Col U under Cowling, we’ve got ex managers (who were awful) still at the club. One is head of recruitment and one director of football which is mind boggling. People will say to be careful what you wish for and they might be right. I’m not necessarily wanting Cowling out but it does need a shake up in terms of personnel and his on field decision making needs vast improvement.
Who are your key players and danger men?
Our key players are our goalkeeper Shamal George and Brendan Wiredu. It’s George’s first year as the true number 1 and he’s been sensational, by far our best player so far this season. Wiredu is an all action midfield player, he does everything in there. He’s way too good for league 2, us U’s fans need to make the most of him as I don’t think he’ll be with us for long. As for danger men, we’re fairly toothless up front but in Alan Judge we have arguably one of the best players in the league. On his day he can create and score goals with ease, I’d also mention Noah Chilvers who has come through our academy. He’s a player that has the ability to come up with the magic required to win a game.
If we are to take a look at his summers transfer recruitment, what are your thoughts on the incomings and outgoings? Also, would you have wanted more to have happened?
Our transfer recruitment was a short trip up the A12 to Portman Road to sign almost all of their released players. We signed 4 and have 1 on loan, they got mixed reviews. They’re good players with bags of experience which is great but also in their mid 30’s and all signed 2 year deals. They’ve been ok so far but we’ve always been a club that brings players through the academy or plucks a player from non-league or a player that has been released from higher up the division. It looks a much older side this year. We were desperate to sign a striker as we don’t really have that true number 9 but that didn’t happen and it shows so far this season how badly we need one!
What do you think of Tranmere as a club in general and who do you believe are their danger men?
Tranmere is a big club, with a good old school ground. Always well supported wherever they go, I remember the last time you were at our ground and you sang the tequila song for 90 minutes, it was great! As for your danger men, Nicky Maynard and Callum McManaman are good players for this division.
To finish our conversation off, what is your score prediction for the upcoming encounter at Prenton Park?
I’ve got the nickname Mystic Max, I seem to do quite well when it comes to predictions. These are two teams who are defensively solid and don’t score a lot of goals. We’re much better away from home but Tranmere is a tough place to go, I’m going for a 1-1 draw.
‘Shamal George has been sensational since becoming our regular number one’. Shamal signed for Colchester in the summer of 2020, on a two year deal, following a loan spell at Tranmere in the 2018-19 season.