It's the Standard Verdict - an exclusive weekly look at Colchester United (From Essex County Standard)
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It's the Standard Verdict - an exclusive weekly look at Colchester United
ESSEX COUNTY STANDARD U's REPORTER SIMON SPURGEON DELIVERS HIS THOUGHTS ON Colchester United IN HIS WEEKLY COLUMN:
A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed.
So wrote the 19th-century Norwegian playwright and poet, Henrik Ibsen – who says I don’t bring you culture in the Standard Verdict? – and Southampton’s players would do well to carry that thought on to the pitch at St Mary’s Stadium tomorrow.
Saints players had a chance to make their first impression on their new boss Nigel Adkins at MK Dons on Wednesday, but their deeds in their npower League One clash with Colchester tomorrow will be their first on home soil and are certain to be carefully scrutinised by the new man at the helm.
Those deeds in their first home game under Adkins’ leadership could well make a lasting impression – for good or bad.
They say a new broom sweeps clean and Southampton’s players will be wanting to make sure an under-par performance doesn’t result in them ending up in the proverbial bin.
Will that have an impact on Colchester’s players?
It shouldn’t do as they will be concentrating on their own game, but a fired up opposition may well make it harder for them to achieve a third League One away win on the bounce.
The boot was on the other foot last year at St Mary’s and it was the U’s turn to have their deeds examined as Aidy Boothroyd took charge of his first full game.
Colchester stood up to the test of being scrutinised by a new manager with a solid team performance.
Mind you, Kem Izzet did appear to have a bit of trouble staying on two feet when he went in for the tackle on Adam Lallana that saw him given his marching orders.
In the wake of that game, though, Boothroyd talked a lot about the effect of “new manager-itis” with the effect it can have on players.
He said players who may have found the treatment room a comfortable refuge under the former administration can make sudden Lazarus-style recoveries and that it is a clean slate for everyone at the club.
A new manager will publicly tell the fans that they look at that in a positive way, but he will also be aware that players may feel a private sense of unease that they may not fit into their new boss’ plans.
A poor start could leave a permanent blot in their copybook and now Colchester’s players need to capitalise on any nervousness that Southampton’s players are sure to be feeling.
The Saints will know that any slips will be under microscope and that apprehension can be the perfect breeding ground for mistakes.
Wednesday’s 2-0 defeat will surely have heightened that sense of unease so the U’s will know they need to get out of the blocks quickly and get in the faces of their opponents.
They have to be on the front foot from the first whistle, to not let the Saints settle and an early goal would make that microscope an uncomfortable place to be.
While we’re at it, a follow-up goal or two wouldn’t go amiss either. Colchester have been finding it difficult to convert early dominance in games into wins and that’s the only thing taking the sheen off a very positive start to the season.
They have made sure their deeds have made a good impression on their own new boss, but they now have to ensure they aren’t on the wrong end of any impression-making deeds tomorrow.
Footballers aren’t generally reknowned for their eloquence so, as Ibsen so rightly said, their deeds on the pitch are far more important than any words they conjure up.
But then again, the Norwegian playwright is also credited with saying: “It is inexcusable for scientists to torture animals; let them make their experiments on journalists and politicians.”
I’m not sure that particular sentiment is one that I can embrace so wholeheartedly.