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Club News

New Book Launched

17 November 2015

Championship era recalled in charity fundraiser.

We caught up with Richard to find out more.

Nearly ten years have passed since the momentous promotion at Yeovil, and long serving supporter Richard Blythe has penned "A Glimpse Of What's Beyond".

.Colchester United fans can get their hands on a brand new book about the club, chronicling the U's Championship era

What was it that made you decide to write the book?A number of things:-
a) the thought that the full story of those momentous times should be collected in one place because it is local history
b) Rob Hadgraft's book "Conference to Championship" covered it, but he was writing about a fifteen year timespan and so could not go into it in as much detail. Furthermore, he was writing in 2007. I thought that by interviewing the main participants ten years down the line, there would likely be things which would come out that would have been considered too sensitive for publication nearer the time, and so it proved
c) I wanted to read the full inside story. Gradually it dawned on me that if I was going to read it, I'd probably have to write it!

What were the biggest challenges in bringing it all together?
I'm not the best with IT - I'd place myself one level above Harry Redknapp and, before I started this, I didn't even know how to cut and paste! 

I lived in constant fear of a computer crash. Various friends implored me to back up my work somehow, and eventually I did. Little victories like that, inconsequential to most, meant a lot to me. IT wise, I'd now consider myself semi-competent to 1998 standards!

What was your favourite part of writing the book?
The book is all about reaching the second tier and those two wonderful seasons. However, I thought it important to put that in context, that's why there is a chapter on the club's history.  Also, I think most Col U fans enjoy a bit of Layer Road nostalgia. I think some people go a little overboard on that, but there is no escaping how Layer Road played a massive part in what was achieved over those two seasons. I thought the stadium deserved its own chapter. I especially enjoyed writing that because the idea of Layer Road being in the Premier League was an opportunity for a bit of a chuckle. 

I particularly enjoyed delving into all that. 

When you wrote the book, was there anything you discovered that changed your perceptions of those seasons?
To equal the club record for consecutive wins, and then go on a new run where we beat it, all in the same season is sensational when you think about it.
I'd also forgotten what a chaotic state we entered the Championship in. As few as six or eight players at some training sessions, with the season a couple of weeks away. The manager, the physio/fitness coach and about ten players had all left and we lost the first four matches, five counting the Carling Cup. 

Poor old Geraint Williams is considering his position and he gets a few wise words from Mick Harford. To have the season we had from those beginnings is amazing, as is the fact that Geraint did not win manager of the year. 

What were your favourite games in the Championship?
I never thought I'd see us playing Ipswich on level terms. For us to beat them on live TV must be hard to equal, although beating George Burley's Southampton comes close. 

For the sheer quality on view, I'd have to agree with Geraint Williams and say the home win over Sunderland was the best match, especially with someone of Roy Keane's profile brooding in the dug out.

. All proceeds from the book go to Headway Essex and Teenage Cancer Trust!by clicking HEREA Glimpse Of What's Beyond is now on sale in the U's Club Shop and online 

Personally, I don't think we would have done so well under Parky, but we would have stayed up and who knows, we might still be there now. A good debate to have over a pint, but we'll never know!

Another interesting question relating to that time is, would we have done even better in 06/07 if Phil Parkinson had stayed ? Although they worked so well together, Parky and Geraint Williams have different footballing philosophies. 

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