Jon Waldron: My views on the U's

Young gun - Colchester United's Jordan Sanderson (right) may be one of the players to benefit if a new under-21 league is rubber-stamped for next season.

Young gun - Colchester United's Jordan Sanderson (right) may be one of the players to benefit if a new under-21 league is rubber-stamped for next season.

First published in Sport by

The news that Colchester United could enter a newly-formed under-21 league next season is a welcome development.

Over recent years, U’s managers have commented on how detrimental the absence of a competitive reserve league has been.

With very few fixtures available in a much-reduced Football Combination these days, some of the U’s promising youngsters have been deprived match action at a senior level when they need it most.

And it is not only their younger players who are affected.

In years gone by, a thriving reserve-team league has been effective in helping clubs give some of their senior players valuable match time when they need it most, such as when they are coming back from injury and need to build their fitness up.

Although Colchester have tried hard to organised behind-closed-doors friendly as often as possible in order to compensate for the absence of reserve-team games, there has still not been enough football to be played, outside of first-team level.

That is why a new under-21 league would be a valuable asset to clubs such as the U’s, who are aiming to bring through numerous talented youngsters in the coming years.

With Colchester closing in on achieving Category Two status for next season as part of the Elite Player Performance Programme, they will be able to play at a high standard.

That would help give U’s players emerging through their youth system such as young professionals Alex Gilbey, Freddie Ladapo and Jordan Sanderson plenty of crucial game-time, something they do not really get enough of at present.

In addition, the under-21 league, which still needs to be finalised, is likely to permit clubs to field a set number of over-age players in games, something that would also be beneficial to everyone.

Colchester manager John Ward is understandably keen to see the league ratified so that in a few years’ time, the club’s players might be better prepared for the demands of senior football.

While training and coaching is undeniably important, it is also key that they receive an adequate amount of game-time, something that many argue that the current reserve system in this country does not currently provide.

Comments (3)

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9:06pm Wed 25 Apr 12

Sparkfilms says...

I'm hoping the Gazette make reference to the 65% of turnstyle clicks re. player's wages etc for next season.

The average wage allocated per player is £*,*** per week for next season and this has taken a fair bit of work to meet the budget.

Some players were ( are currently ) getting 200% of this figure.
I'm hoping the Gazette make reference to the 65% of turnstyle clicks re. player's wages etc for next season. The average wage allocated per player is £*,*** per week for next season and this has taken a fair bit of work to meet the budget. Some players were ( are currently ) getting 200% of this figure. Sparkfilms
  • Score: 0

9:48pm Wed 25 Apr 12

Sparkfilms says...

I should add that even with the new constraints it is still possible to offer certain players the same money or even more - although this may not be the case at WHCS.

I wonder how the 65% structure would work on the old bonus schemes that were once common place ( and possibly still are ).

Bonus payments were worked out on results, gates, league postions, unbeaten runs etc.

This leads me to something else.

A former league player signed on for a new club in the Conference a few seasons ago.

The deal was done in a car park about 45 miles away from here.

The club secretary handed the player a pack in an envelope stating that it included club information and a handbook etc.

The player never opened the pack, but some weeks later his girlfriend was searching the glove compartment in his car and came across the package, she said 'what's this?', and he replied - 'Oh, it's a handbook and stuff'.

She opening the package and out sprung a wad of £50 notes - £7,000 in fact.

Just imagine if the player had sold his car as he intended for £3,000 and the buyer turned in a profit of £4,000 - and that nearly happened!
I should add that even with the new constraints it is still possible to offer certain players the same money or even more - although this may not be the case at WHCS. I wonder how the 65% structure would work on the old bonus schemes that were once common place ( and possibly still are ). Bonus payments were worked out on results, gates, league postions, unbeaten runs etc. This leads me to something else. A former league player signed on for a new club in the Conference a few seasons ago. The deal was done in a car park about 45 miles away from here. The club secretary handed the player a pack in an envelope stating that it included club information and a handbook etc. The player never opened the pack, but some weeks later his girlfriend was searching the glove compartment in his car and came across the package, she said 'what's this?', and he replied - 'Oh, it's a handbook and stuff'. She opening the package and out sprung a wad of £50 notes - £7,000 in fact. Just imagine if the player had sold his car as he intended for £3,000 and the buyer turned in a profit of £4,000 - and that nearly happened! Sparkfilms
  • Score: 0

9:20am Sat 28 Apr 12

crazy comments says...

I would never trust my 10 year old grandson joining the youth set up at Col Utd while Ward was around. He would go backwards instead of forwards.
I would never trust my 10 year old grandson joining the youth set up at Col Utd while Ward was around. He would go backwards instead of forwards. crazy comments
  • Score: 0

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