Date: 11th February 2009 at 1:49pm
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He`s got East Anglain links, gives Leyton Orient sex appeal and could make any tracksuit look good. Alas, not new O`s boss, Geraint Williams, but the planet`s most recognisable sportsman, David Beckham.

You expect, when League One`s Orient got a whiff of Beckham-mania, they`d get excited. The biggest signature in football was reputedly heading from autograph book to boardroom with a surprise takeover bid fronted by Beckham`s advisors. Becks was made waves down South for the first time since media outlets printed he might take a mid-season U.S. sabbatical with Ipswich.

At least that`s how the red-tops painted it. The truth emerged as something less dramatic – the proposal was merely through a consortium lead by Becks` agent, Terry Byrne. Boringly enough, it fell through on the day Williams was appointed as Leyton`s fire-fighter in a relegation blaze.

With Beckham busily wooing the Milanese public, it seemed unlikely that the former Manchester United pin-up was so desperate to revalidate his European passport that he`d swap Los Angelis for Brisbane Road.
Stranger things, unfortunately, in the week that Milan`s medics told England`s own he could play until he`s 38, haven`t happened.

Fine, perhaps nobody was even thinking that the boy for Leytonstone wanted to turn out for his neighbourhood club; not yet, anyway. But neither were people expecting Brand Beckham`s links, with impromptu investments of potentially millions, to surface so empathically. For judge, jury and executioner, the Orient fans` dream image probably posited Beckham as all-in-one chairman, manager and skipper.

The rest we know: Beckham`s pretty hyde and mean right-foot have been loaned to a football`s fashion house in Italy, pending a permanent more and tonight he expects to draw level with Bobby Moore`s 108 England appearances. Tonight he`ll face the country, Spain, where he won Real Madrid a La Liga medal, under the boss who first dropped him from, then put him back into, the team.

Back at Orient, Colchester`s former manager, the affable Geraint Williams, has to compete with that maelstrom of malign speculation. Or at least try: his style was always to pour water over the fire of hyperbole`s flame, which is why he`ll probably find the new nickname, Saint Geraint, an annoying complement at best. Modesty`s the best policy where Williams, a tracksuit talent for sure, is concerned.

But, as Guardian journalist Paul Hayward noted when Monday morning turned into a managerial sack-fest at Chelsea and Portsmouth in the Premier League: “There is no known cure of hysteria.” And although opinion fluctuates, a poll on our sister site at Vital Orient says punters that way think Williams qualifies at the best man for the job. Supports rightly appear excited that a new man might lift them up the league, but novelty nicknames and inflated expectations are a cargo he can surely do without.

Optimism remains there, despite an unconvincing London-based radio interview on the science of goalscoring and his apparent tactic of sticking ten men behind the ball to grind out a point in his first game.

On a cure team`s lack of net-busting strikes, Williams told the BBC: “You get into the opposition`s box more often, and you get more shots on goal. It`s not quite that simple, but that`s the idea.” That hardly scientific analysis is taken straight from the book called keeping it simple, stupid.

Perhaps Geraint is totally right, and if he brings the results, it`ll be our fault, not his, for demanding a hugely comprehensive explanation for everything, in our era of professionalism, Pro Zone and sports psychology. The Colchester viewpoint of the man who lead United to their dizziest-all-time heights in 2006/7 was at first that his calmness diluted the pressure: talk of a possible Premier League promotion was always band. Then, it all turned sour and so stuck a wet-lattice label, instead.

Maybe aura, charisma, doesn`t matter as much as what the scorecards are saying each time a full-time whistle blows. Avram Grant was called The Undertaker for his grave face at Stamford Bridge but he came closer than anyone to winning Chelsea a converted Champions League.

Whatever, you just have to pity a man who waited five months for a footballing return, only to be upstaged by rumours of Leytonstone`s most famous ambassador making a sensational return to his birthplace. Nobody, least of all Geraint Williams, can compete with Beckham`s bandwagon.

Geraint Williams` top-four games as Colchester manager:

April 2007: 3 -0 Win (A) Southend – Jamie Cureton reaches 20 goals as Colchester thrash their rivals Southend away from home. To re-visit the clash, click here.

November 2006: 5-1 Win (H) Hull – Colchester make Phil Parkinson blush with an outstanding victory as Chris Iwelumo becomes the first U`s player to net for goals for almost fifteen years. To re-visit the clash, click here.

March 2007: 2-1 Win (A) Southampton -Cureton nets twice live on Sky TV as the United player tastes glory against his former club. To re-visit the clash, click here.

April 2007: 3-1 Win (H) Sunderland – A virtuoso performance from the side sees title-chasing Sunderland beaten for the first time in 2007, as Colchester revive their slim chance of entering the Championship play-off zone. To re-visit the clash, click here.

We want to know YOUR thoughts


eastneydave says:

Matt – come over from Vital Pomepy to say Hi and a good point about Grant. He may not have the charisma of Jamie’s dad but he gets results and that is all we want. Good luck for the rest of the season.

  • Thanks – maybe Williams will do well for the Orient, and Grant could do well for Pompey, if appointed. Time is against managers these days. Even Williams only has a short-term deal now and had just two full seasons with the U’s. Will be interesting to see what he does with the O’s!

  • A good article Matt – Wish you luck mate and although I’ve rather have most available manager rathan than Mr Grey ,, you make a valid point

  • Wouldn’t be surprised to see Sven get the job! Just out of interest when did Curo player for Southampton?? Up the U’s!

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