Fans View: Derby Day Slam Dunk

U’s fan Alex (@RomseyAmber) returns with his view on our rivalry with that lot up the road, the one and only Harrison Dunk, and Mark Bonner.

To paraphrase Michael Caine in Austin Powers there are two things I cannot stand, narrow minded parochialism and that lot up the A1.

It is for that reason thoughts of supposed local derbies against Luton, Stevenage and Braintree are all long forgotten as I bask in the afterglow of victory in our first proper local derby for over 20 years against the Peterboring. It was evident in the game at Scumdon Rd but it was striking, as has been noted elsewhere, how prepared we were for the match on Saturday from the off both tactically and psychologically. The Pish players looked confounded by the situation and overwhelmed by the intensity of desire on display from their opposition despite their threat on the break and the need to confirm their play-off place. In contrast I felt our performance to a man was controlled, committed, and composed.

They say stable societies need common conventions and bonds to hold them together with a shared history and traditions handed down from one generation to the next. Much the same could be said about football clubs or they would exist in a vacuum but there is sense amongst fans that only they really understand that rather than those who own their clubs or those who represent it on the pitch. We are therefore lucky to have men in charge of our club in Paul Barry & Mark Bonner who are also fans like us. There can be no doubt they knew how important Saturday’s match was even if the realpolitik of their respective roles as Chairman and Manager dictates they cannot demonstrate that as vocally as the rest of us. Furthermore, we are also lucky to have players in Michael Morrison and Liam Bennett who are local and were also once fans of the club to bring that same passion to the time. The Pish meanwhile only had to rely on Will ‘Forever a U’ Norris who looked increasingly rattled as the game on and Barry Fry to relate to them the importance of the game and what sane person would take him seriously?

Another man who played a crucial role on Saturday is the legend that is Harrison Dunk who has been through it all with the club since signing eleven years ago. Dunk rolled back the years to put in a vintage performance having aged like a fine wine but at the end of the match he looked like the bottle of Chateau Dunk had been drained. A friend behind me commenting that it had appeared he had pulled something toward the end of the game. I could only reply that Dunk could pull my missus after a display like that!

I have also written before about the importance of integrity and good financial management being key in ensuring stability and longer-term development instead of rapid rises and followed by harder falls. The best teams are also greater than the sum of their parts on paper especially when managing a side like ours where our budget is amongst the smallest in the league. Instilling a side with a sense of passion and belief is therefore particularly crucial to maximise our potential in the fight to stay in League. I am therefore glad the board have not pulled the trigger as many of those around us have done, including Port Vale most recently, because if anyone deserves our faith it is Bonz a man who believes in the U’s like us and with Fergie left fuming what’s not to like about that?!

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