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Jon Waldron: My views on the U's
Fine lines exist between success and failure in sport.
Some Colchester United supporters were already homeward bound last Saturday night, seemingly content in the knowledge that their side had beaten Walsall until Andy Taylor’s sweet free-kick changed their mood completely.
Had the ball not nestled in the top corner of the net, the U’s would have celebrated a hard-earned win, been applauded off the field and the majority would have left with smiles on their faces.
As it was, Colchester’s winless run was extended to nine matches, jeers rung out and the relevant internet messageboards were rife with disgruntlement and disappointment.
These days, of course, booing is only one example of football fans making their feelings known.
The traditional post-match pub conversation has been replaced by frenzied communication via social media and internet chatrooms, where seemingly anything goes.
Not so long ago, U’s fans might well have bumped into the likes of Roy McDonough at Smith’s in Colchester on a Saturday night and vented their spleen.
Now, such interaction is more likely to occur with the modern-day player in cyberspace, dangerous territory indeed for young players with pitfalls aplenty to beware.
In his post-match press conference that followed the Walsall draw, U’s boss Joe Dunne mentioned on more than one occasion the need for staying upbeat, this week.
“People will focus on what we’re not doing well,” admitted the U’s boss, “but it’s my job as manager to make sure that my players, particularly the younger ones, stay focused on being positive and making sure that their future is bright.”
Dunne’s intentions are correct but while it his job as manager to keep his players’ mood as positive as possible ahead of their trip to play Brentford on Saturday, it is another matter entirely to protect them from the harsh criticisms of the real world, away from the shelter of the training ground.
The truth is that the longer the U’s go without winning, the harsher the criticism will no doubt become.
And while they are backed to the hilt by their coaches and peers, this is nevertheless a steep learning curve for Colchester’s youngsters.
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