Here we are, at the end of 2020 finally. A year that’s seen the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, walking disaster Boris Johnson make more U-turns than Jordan Slew approaching a mobile speed camera, P*sh hilariously fail to make the play-offs yet again and Paul Mullin score a hatful of goals.
Here’s our review of the weird year that was 2020.
January: Played 6, Won 0, Drew 1, Lost 5
2020 got off to a dreadful start as Colin Calderwood sucked any enjoyment out of watching the U’s with his dreadful brand of football that reached it’s nadir with back to back 4-0 home defeats against Salford and Stevenage (who’d only won four times all season up to this point). The Salford defeat saw the board finally lose patience with Calderwood and in came Mark Bonner as caretaker.
February: Played 6, Won 4, Drew 1, Lost 1
That’s more like it! Late goals from Harvey Knibbs and Andy Dallas put Colchester to the sword, and long-time bogey team Newport as well as Scunthorpe and Bradford all fell to defeat at the hands of Bonner’s U’s. Things were starting to look up, but a bat in Wuhan had other ideas…
March: Played 1, Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 1
United travelled down the M11 to Brisbane Road with a spring in our step and an anti-bac gel in our pockets. The game at Leyton Orient marked the first instance of hot water in a football grounds toilets anywhere, ever, and the 1500 U’s fans got behind their team from start to finish. Unfortunately that team included Victor Adeboyejo putting in one of the worst performances many of us can remember from a player in Black & Amber, and the U’s duly fell to a 2-1 defeat. What many of us don’t realise is that this will be the last we’ll see of the U’s for nine months, as the country entered an lockdown to try and curb the spread of the virus. At the end of the month Mark Bonner was given the managers job on a full-time basis.
April: Played 0, Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 0
After the cancellation of the League season United put 500 season tickets on sale, which were snapped up in an instance by loyal fans, despite none of us knowing if we’d even have a club to support next season – if next season would even start. United announce their retained list, clearing out a lot of dead wood from the squad. There is severe flooding in the north of the county as Messers Fry, MacAnthony and Ferguson, plus a couple of thousand B*ro fans cry to the EFL for days about how unfair it was they missed out on the playoffs despite not winning a game in 2020.
May: Played 0, Won 0, Drew 0, Lost 0
With the season officially curtailed, United continued the Here for U’s campaign reaching out to young, old and lonely and vulnerable fans. Bonner is in regular communication with United fans, keeping us up to date with how the squad is coping with the pandemic. Most players are furloguhed.
A quiet month, United’s players made a significant donation to the club’s community trust, enabling them to carry on their work in the local area.
United launch a pair of new shirts, both well received by the fans and selling in great numbers. Gary Waddock arrives as Assistant Manager to Mark Bonner and the first new signings begin to roll through the door, loanee Paul Mullin returns from Tranmere, whilst Paul Digby arrives from Stevenage. The real excitement is saved for late in the month as Wes Hoolahan finally joins the U’s after opting to spend last season in Australia. In UTAS news we resurrected our website with match reports and hot-takes about Andy Dallas.
1,000 more U’s fans snap up season tickets, and Jack Iredale, Robbie Cundy and Joe Ironside all sign for the U’s. The month ended on a sad note as long-term U’s super-fan Carol Looker passed away.
September: Played 6, Won 4, Drew 1, Lost 1
FOOTBALL IS BACK! And United get off to a flyer, beating Carlisle 3-0 and Morecambe 5-0 in the League and reaching the second round of the League cup after beating Birmingham City at St Andrews. Fans are allowed in to watch the EFL Trophy win over Fulham U23’s, but the test event against Carlisle was cancelled last-minute. Owner Paul Barry secured some much needed investment, and Adam May and Idris El-Mizouni (the latter on loan) joined the squad.
October: Played 8, Won 5, Drew 1, Lost 2
United continued their fine form, beating Newport, Walsall and Port Vale in the league, as well as another 5-0 away win, this time at Scunthorpe. Hiram Boateng joins on loan from MK Dons, but more sad news came as it was announced that fan Simon Dobbin had died as a result of the brutal attack he suffered at Southend in 2015.
November: Played 5, Won 2, Drew 2, Lost 1
The month started with a great win against Salford, but United were dumped out of the FA Cup by Shrewsbury soon after. An EFL Trophy win against P*sh on penalties was the only time we gave a shit about that particular competition. Late goals were the story of the month, one conceded in the last minute at home to Barrow and scored in the last minute away at Cheltenham. Southend feigned COVID in order to avoid another defeat at the hands of the U’s, for which the pathetic EFL have not punished them.
December: Played 8, Won 3, Drew 0, Lost 5
Rejoice! Fans were back at the Abbey for the first time in nine months. Unfortunately that co-incided with us being crap. Defeats to Mansfield and Oldham came before an away loss at Forest Green, before we finally got to see United win at the Abbey in a 2-1 victory of Colchester, a match ruined by racist dickheads booing the U’s players taking the knee before kickoff. An abject defeat by Bradford came before a much better win over Leyton Orient at a once-again closed Abbey Stadium. Our final game of the year came at Stevenage, where another lacklustre performance ended the year on a damp note. UTAS wise, we launched a physical fanzine in the middle of a pandemic, a decision we’re not regretting one bit (despite the box of unsold ‘zines clogging up the spare room). We also – for the first time ever – produced a digital fanzine, which whilst it won’t help clear any space in my spare room, will help support UTAS to continue producing a quality podcast, ‘zine and website. You can buy a copy in the UTAS Shop.