Date: 11th August 2008 at 2:27pm
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U`s Transfer Review 2007/8

Colchester United would go on to spend more money than ever during their second Championship season as they looked to build on a fine first year. After the exits of key men like Chris Iwelumo, Jamie Cureton Richard Garcia and Wayne Brown, it was clear manager Geriant Williams needed to act strongly in the transfer market.

Here, Vital Colchester rates each of the signings made between June 2007 and January 2008, in the campaign just ended.

Danny Granville, DEF. Number: 2. From: Crystal Palace, Free.

The former Leeds and Chelsea defender had much Premier League experience to offer Colchester when he signed last summer. He looked an astute signing, snapped up by the club after Palace decided not to renew his contract following a patchy previous season with injury. While the exact same fate would await him in 2007/8, as at times lacked pace, Granville did dislodge first-choice left back George Elokobi when the latter made a transfer request.

Verdict: MISS

Teddy Sheringham, ATT. Number: 8. From: West Ham United, Free. (18 games / 4 goals).

Another former top-flight man, Teddy arrived at Layer Road via a fanfare and a blaze of publicity at 41, reportedly rejecting Bournemouth for the U`s. The Essex-based striker, convinced by friend and club owner Robbie Cowling to don Colchester`s stripes, eventually had an injury blighted campaign. Gave memorable performances against Sheffield United, Preston and Charlton in the early part of the season but found the next just four times for the side as they suffered relegation. Was, at times, a pleasure to have him in the team.

Verdict: MISS

Clive Platt, ATT. Number: 9. From: Milton Keynes, £350,000.

Became the U`s record buy of all time when the 18-goal man left the chargers under Paul Ince, trading his white shirt for a crack at Championship football. With the physique of Chris Iwelumo, the forward was also the same age and height. After suspension in pre-season following a red card against Premier League Bolton, Platt went on to establish his place in the starting XI and performed well as a target-man. Although he under-performed slightly, he will be at home in League One next term – must hit the net more often.

Verdict: Jury Still Out

Mark Yeates, MID. Number: 11. From: Tottenham Hotspur, £100,000. (31 games / 8 goals).

The tricky winger was on course to become the side`s player of the season and it is tempting to think that Colchester would not have gone down, had he been fit all season. The 23-year-old established himself as explosive and with an eye for goal, especially in the games against Preston in August and West Brom in October. Was a bargain-buy and will be like another signing following the collapse of his proposed move to Crystal Palace this summer. Great dead-ball specialist.

Verdict: HIT

Luke Guttridge, MID. Number: 17. From Southend United, Free.

A young Kem Izzet, some people have called him but the U`s former number 17 has since been released from his Colchester contact after just one season with the Essex side. Young enough to have made an impact, and an ideal signing to give Colchester`s squad some much-needed depth, the former Southend man was hindered from the start by his ties with the Blues. During success with Colchester`s rivals in their back-to-back promotions, Guttridge was courted by several Premier League sides but unable to get a run in the team under Geriant Williams.

Verdict: MISS

Matt Connolly, DEF. Number: 18. From: Arsenal, loan.

Highly-rated by Arsen Wenger in London, the young defender was given licence to develop under Geraint Williams at Colchester United although soon lost his place to another loanee, Adam Virgo. Although fast and strong, Connolly lacked composure and looked inexperienced without an elder statesman alongside him for support. Lost his place after a red card early on in the campaign, and was recalled by Arsenal. Since joined QPR on a full-time basis.

Verdict: MISS

Kevin Lisbie, ATT. Number: 20. From: Charlton, Free. (42 games / 17 goals).

One of the best signings Geriant Williams has made in his two years at the club. Lisbie joined the side in late pre-season a year ago after impressing on trial having been rejected by Leeds and Leicester. Super Kev became the club`s top goalscorer with 17 goals, blowing away all doubts about his ability after going stale at Charlton. Ipswich bought Lisbie out of the remaining two years of his Colchester contract, as he left the club after relegation, for somewhere in the region of £750,000; he will be one to watch for them in the Championship.

Verdict: HIT

Bella Balogh, DEF. Number: 21. From: MTK Hungeria, Loan.

The Hungarian international was criticised for playing up-front too much during Colchester`s pre-season trip to Bromley last summer. It had looked after that game as though he would not sign for Colchester after the club had not seen him defend enough. It is thought MTK wanted to sell the player outright and the U`s balked at the potential fee, around £250,000. Although the U`s did have an option to buy Balogh full-time, the club decided against it after he remained largely a peripheral figure in the squad, failing to dislodge either Karl Duguid or Phil Iffil from right back. Did complete a career hat-trick of broken noses, doing so twice whist with the club last season.

Verdict: MISS

Medy Elito, MID. Number: 30. From: Trainee, Free.

The England youth man won his pro-contact with Colchester at the back end of last season, reportedly rejecting the chance to play for Manchester United in favour of the U`s. The tricky winger became the club`s first-choice left-sider last term, after injuries to Mark Yeates and the since-released Kevin McLeod. He found the net in impressive fashion against West Bromwich. Shrugged of his tag as the new Giggsy, given to him by The People newspaper but has a bright future.

Verdict: HIT

Adam Virgo, DEF/ ATT. Number: 19. From: Celtic, Loan.

A former Celtic defender and emergency striker, ‘Virgs` became a contender for a starting spot when Pat Baldwin and Matt Connolly succumbed to the treatment table. Although he took flack for mistakes at times last season, he won a place after good showings during the 1-1 draw away at Southampton at the back and for his impact as a sub in the narrow home defeat to Burnley. His deployment as a forward earnt a goal in a 2-3 reverse, and lead to calls for him to join the club full-time. Now plays at Brighton, where he began his career.

Verdict: MISS

Chris Coyne, DEF. Number: 5. From: Luton, £400,000.

The arrival of the former West Ham player from Luton in January gave the club some much-needed leadership at the back as the club looked to avoid the drop. He impressed enough to win international recognition with Australia, and although his arrival came too late to prevent the inevitable, he may become the side`s skipper next term.

Verdict: HIT

Phil Ifil, DEF. Number: 18. From: Tottenham, Undisclosed.

Youngster Ifil has a touch of class about him, although had an unlucky start to his U`s career. The former Spurs first-teamer scored two own goals, got sent-off and gave away a penalty in his first few games. He is unofficially supposed to be a club-record signing and told the media in January that Colchester`s contract offer for him was more financially competitive than a rival bid from Southampton. Has some work to do to prove his worth, but has a great pedigree.

Verdict: HIT

Dean Hammond, MID. Number: 22. From: Brighton & Hove, Undisclosed.

The promising midfielder ended a long contract dispute during the winter transfer window when he signed for Colchester. Knows where the goal is but also has an aptitude for the less-than pretty parts of the game. A former skipper, he has also demonstrated leadership qualities and could become a crow idol if he continues to impress next season.

Verdict: HIT

Scott Vernon, ATT. Number: 24. From: Blackpool, £10,000.

Constantly linked with a return since his days on loan when Colchester went up in 2005/6, Vernon demonstrated loyalty when he made a loan trip to Essex from Blackpool to tie-up his contract on deadline-day in January. Having repeated the trick with the Oranges as they went up the season before last, when he achieved double-figures in front of goal, Vernon rejoined the U`s hungry for a first-team place. Although he must compete with this summer`s buy, Steven Gillespie, Vernon should prosper this season and knows where the goal is at this level.

Verdict: HIT

Matthew Heath, DEF. Number: 16. From: Leeds United, Loan then Free.

A steady performer and instantly at home alongside Chris Coyne after joining on loan from Leeds, Heath filled a gap before shaking off some injury problems during his spell. With his future at United in doubt, the U`s pounced to sign when he became a free agent this summer. Completes a promising quartet of central defenders at the back his term as Colchester look to mount an assault on the League One title.

Verdict: HIT


Hit = 9

Miss = 6

Undecided = 1

Manager rating = 7/10.

More hit than miss, says Vital U`s, with Clive Pall still to impress. Signing of the season is probably between Kevin Lisbie and Mark Yeates, although there were many other shrewd purchases. Better at picking up permanent singings than in the loan market, perhaps, although all potentially good additions. The worth of those January recruits should now tell. A case of when they were good, they were very, very good and when they were bad, they were rubbish!


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