Friday, 6 August 2010

Joel "mystery man" Thomas - Col U legend

Mystery man, Joel Thomas, has last year been seen at Colchester United's stadium, but has never played a whole game. Joel was signed from Hamilton Academicals for £125,000 in July 2009, by Colchester manager Paul Lambert. His record at the Accies was ten games started, nineteen sub appearances, and one goal. Obviously the guy had hidden talents. (And no jokes about Scottish goalkeepers on here.)

In the first game of the season Colchester beat Norwich 7-1, a result so impressive that Norwich sacked their manger, and appointed ours soon after. Striker Thomas never played a whole game for Lambert, despite him having paid a fortune by Col U standards.

The next manager Aidy Boothroyd also never selected Joel, althoug he kept the bench warm for some matches, and actually made seven substitute appearances for the U's during 2009/10.

Boothroyd left Colchester this summer, so Thomas's third manager in one year, John Ward might have given him a run, especially as we're low on strikers? No, Thomas doesn't want to play for Colchester any more, and he's been released for a free transfer, not that anyone's signed him yet.

Well, for Thomas's year's salary (of say £30,000?) he made seven brief appearances, totalling maybe an hour in a Colchester shirt? He scored no goals, but the soccernet website suggests he had three shots, one of which was on target. He made no assists, got fouled six times, fouled others eight times and got a yellow card for his efforts. I was fortunate to catch a couple of his substitute performances and can confirm that he ran about a bit, possibly as he was cold sitting on the bench for the previous eighty minutes.

Frenchman Thomas (23) has played for several clubs in France, Germany and Scotland, but never much, or for long. So why did Lambert sign him last summer, and make Colchester United £155,000 lighter, one year on?

Meanwhile, a new season starts tomorrow, as the U's travel to Exeter for their first game. As always I'm optimistic, but know that by the end of August we'll be out of the League Cup, and it will mathematically almost impossible for the U's to be League 1 Champions, and that a play-off place might be the best hope. There's always the possibility of a decent cup run, before being knocked out by some team from the North Circular Road Relegation League, to a hat trick from their star striker, Joel Thomas. Being a football fan is such fun, and being mainly an armchair fan, I'm not funding this folly.

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