Colchester United season-ticket holder Si Collinson's views on the U's

FOOTBALL is finally back and with it the reunion of what feels like long lost family members, catching up in the bar on what has been happening over the strange months of the year when there is no football.

Then the conversation turns to the matter in hand - our hopes for the season, the long away trips we'll be undertaking and the fact there seems to be three things guaranteed in life: death, taxes and Grimsby away on a Tuesday night.

There was a great atmosphere in the South Stand for our opener against Port Vale and it was a fairly packed stand, which was positive to see.

At kick-off time it was a case of season underway, it's going to be our year.

But at 3.04pm, Vale were awarded a penalty which they scored to take the lead which wasn't in the script.

However, the season is a marathon and not a sprint and after the nerves calmed, Luke Norris made it 1-1 and the first point was on the board.

On the subject of nerves, I really do believe that caused the mistake that led to the early penalty was just that.

No matter what is claimed, the players must have some nerves in their system - they are human after all - and it takes time to settle.

After all the summer hype, signings etc, they are back in in the spotlight with all our hopes and dreams on their shoulders.

If the situation were to happen again, I'm sure it will be dealt with differently now everything has settled.

Tom Eastman really stood out for me, with his performance.

I sung his praises in articles last season and he shone once again against Vale.

He was the standout player and seems to have everything in his football arsenal.

Tom's a very under-rated player who perhaps, like his team-mate Tom Lapslie, doesn't get all the attention and limelight but if he was leave or get injured his loss would have a massive impact.

Tom Eastman is the type of player where you almost do not know what you have until he's gone.

The new signings on show for Colchester played well.

Jevani Brown showed lots of promise and is a nice fit but it was really the old guard who pushed the team forward in Frank Nouble and Luke Norris.

I was pleased to see Norris get on the scoresheet and fingers crossed, he is now off the mark towards a 20-plus goal season.

Young Andre Hasanally made his official league debut after coming on a second half substitute.

He looked as sharp as he had in pre-season and almost got his goal - he's a player on track to higher things, that's for sure.

So the next nine months of following the U's has begun - it's no doubt a journey of ups and down but fingers crossed, this is finally the year it all goes our way and come April (this season ends early due to the Euros) we are celebrating the return to League One.

Role on Plymouth on Saturday and the 12-hour odd round trip - wouldn't have it any other way.