So, it’s with a heavy heart that I leave Poole. I wanted to stay there until the end, take them up to the Premier League. But that was looking increasingly unlikely. If the Vanarama National had caused me to stop playing for a month, what would League Two do, let alone the Premier League? So Colchester is my destination. Can I turn their season around? Can we sneak in to the play-offs? Most importantly, can I cut it at a level that isn’t the Vanarama South? So far I had flopped at Vanarama National level, but how much of that was me, and how much was the situation I was in?
My appointment got me looking at my profile for the first time in a while. One star reputation, how on earth did I get this job? One of the conditions of the job was that I improved my media handling, which shouldn’t be a problem because it is only that low because you get no interviews in non-league. I also notice that half season in the Conference has really damaged my win percentage.
Enough about me, now on to things I probably should have covered in the last update. Colchester, which I now know is in Essex, are a 2 1/2 star club, with okay finances and a 10,000 seater stadium. They’re predicted to finish 11th in League One, but sit in 16th at the moment. The stadium is in very good condition, whilst the youth and training facilities are both good.
I had looked at the squad before I joined, but only briefly. According to my assistant, this is a pretty average squad, so mid-table seems about right. My first real issue is that I have no right wingers, apart from Lawrie Wilson who is more of a full back. Normally, this would mean a narrow formation, but then I notice that I have an abundance of left wingers, and crucially, Ryan Hedges is one of my best players.
My midfield looks to be my strongest asset. Craig Slater has been around the SPL for a number of years, and I recognise George Saville from his time at Brentford. Thomas Lapslie looks a very strong defensive midfielder, even if his decision making is a bit on the low side.
Up front I have Denny Johnstone, who has an impressive record of about 1 goal every three games over his three and a half seasons at Colchester.
I do also notice a couple of attacking midfielders, one of whom, Sammie Szmodics, loves to play as a shadow striker. The football hipster inside of me started celebrating. What sort of formation can I come up with to take League One by storm?
I have decided to go with a variation of the traditional 4-1-2-3 (DM) formation. The main idea is to primarily attack down the left, but for my Right Back to bomb forward to provide width on the other flank. My Box-to-Box midfielder has been set to move in to the channels to give the full back cover. My Shadow Striker is allowed to roam from his position to try and find the pockets of space in between the opponents defence and midfield. We will sit back and look to transition in to attack quicker through more direct passing.
What’s To Come?
Despite our poor run of form, I have joined the team after two wins on the bounce. We face Portsmouth away in our first game, who sit second in the league. Now, I always want to win my first game, but for a Southampton fan, a trip to Fratton Park is always spicy. We then face a run of games with teams around us, before hosting bottom team Notts County and a big FA Cup game at home to Crystal Palace. I will look to bring in a few players in January, but will probably not sell anyone until the summer. My board expectation is to finish in the top half, but my only goal is to finish above Giggsy’s Millwall.