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Jon Waldron: My views on the U's
The fact that so many Colchester United supporters elected to stand in the rain to applaud the club’s players after the final whistle on Saturday said much about the improved relationship between the two groups.
A lap of appreciation or awards ceremony in a club’s final home game of the season is almost always enhanced by a morale-boosting victory, as the U’s provided by beating Tranmere Rovers.
That helped them finish their season at the Weston Homes Community Stadium on a winning note.
It has been a home campaign with generally more ups than downs.
Colchester’s 4-2 triumph over Tranmere was the fifth occasion that they have scored three or more goals in front of their own fans this season and they have lost only four games on home soil.
Although there have been more draws than they would perhaps would have liked, their performances against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday, Sheffield United and Huddersfield Town have been more than encouraging.
There have of course been some very low ebbs, such as the humiliating 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Stevenage on Boxing Day and the 5-1 loss against MK Dons.
But since those defeats, the U’s have undoubtedly been much more difficult to beat.
And the fact that lost only once at the Community Stadium in the calendar year says much about their increased confidence at the venue, over recent months.
U’s manager John Ward hinted in his post-match press conference that there has been an improved relationship between his team and the home faithful, of late.
After those aforementioned heavy defeats, some Colchester supporters had the knives out for Ward and his players and let them know that in no uncertain terms.
Such apparent negativity from the stands did not go unnoticed and prompted at least two senior players to call for more positivity from U’s fans.
But since the turn of the year, there has been a more harmonious relationship between both parties.
And while they may not have been exactly singing in the rain at the weekend, the sound of applause from Colchester supporters after the final whistle said a great deal about their respect for their team’s efforts this season.
See Tuesday's Gazette for all of the latest Colchester United news, including U's manager John Ward's views on the possible appointment of Roy Hodgson as England manager.