11:00am Saturday 19th March 2011
By Simon Spurgeon
ESSEX COUNTY STANDARD U's REPORTER SIMON SPURGEON DELIVERS HIS THOUGHTS ON Colchester United IN HIS WEEKLY COLUMN:
I freely admit to not having a clue what Albert Einstein was on about in his seminal work, The Theory of Relativity.
We all know the equation E=mc2, but who among us understands it?
I’m sure Professor Brian Cox could explain it to me in a six-part BBC series on a Sunday evening, but I have little idea what the old Swiss patents clerk was on about.
However, I do have a theory of relativity of my own and I’ll apply it to Colchester United. You see, I think the expectation of success that some U’s fans have is out of line relative to where the club actually is at the moment.
A third defeat in a row is disappointing, especially as the old problem of not taking chances proved so costly again.
Here’s an equation that even the most intellectually challenged can figure out: (appalling away record) + (lack of clinical edge up front) = not going up this year.
But should we be as hard on the men currently leading the charge as some insist on being?
I’m not sure we should and that’s where my little relativity theory comes in.
The way I see it, some people’s expectations have been inflated beyond where the club actually is.
Two seasons in the Championship, the arrival of a wealthy chairman, a move to a new stadium and attention-catching managerial appointments all appear to have helped some to believe that the club is too big for League One any more.
The unhappy ones will argue that they are only ambitious for their team and that they want the club to match their own ambition, but is it a realistic expectation right now? Not in my opinion.
I’m really not trying to be a club propoganda machine and I’ll aportion criticism where it’s due if it is due, but I try to take a pragmatic view in this column.
And I think people need to adjust their expectations relative to where things really are at the moment.
The club is at the start of a building phase after two rapid managerial changes and that’s highlighted nowhere better than by the inconsistency in the team’s performances.
People have compared the current regime with that under Phil Parkinson, but Parky’s success was built on several years of graft and forward momentum and John Ward should be afforded the same time to prove himself here.
Some moan that the Community Stadium experience is a turn-off and it’s true that attendances are among the division’s lowest, but little other than promotion will change that.
The chairman is backing the team as much as he can, but the purse strings have had to be tightened.
The current economic climate, necessary investment on the pitch’s drainage last summer and the financing of a new training facility have all robbed Robbie Cowling’s ability to splash the cash.
So are the U’s really under-achieving at the moment? Of course it’s disappointing as we’d all love to be in the top six still, but I think it’s unfair to be as critical as some insist on being.
If Colchester do beat the odds and make the play-offs this year, I’d say they have punched well above their weight.
Surely you don’t have to be Einstein to work that one out.
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