I figured Cal to be Will and Harry to be Simon.
Girls were missing weren't they!
They didn't meet any to be fair.
Derm's conquests were average at best!!
Brilliant stuff and Harry's right about the bananas! (I asked a doctor once ) But I can't believe there wasn't a photo of a SINGLE fit bird from their holiday
I guess the only question left to ask is... who out of Cal and Harry was Simon, and who was Will?
Last edited by kuy; 16-03-12 at 10:58 PM. Reason: spelling
I figured Cal to be Will and Harry to be Simon.
Girls were missing weren't they!
They didn't meet any to be fair.
Derm's conquests were average at best!!
Just read all of this, terrific story so far... Keep it going mate!!!
I'm enjoying it.
Glad others are too!
Brilliant work! If Steve Bruce gets the real England job I'll make my signature "ebfatz is a hero and all should bow down to him"!
After collecting their luggage they all met on the other side of customs to say their goodbyes.
It had been an amazing holiday and despite trials and tribulations along the way, they had all enjoyed themselves immensely.
It had brought them all lot closer again after being apart for a year and they would almost certainly be friends for a long time after sharing this holiday experience.
Cal, Foddy and Derm all walked towards the coach station as they were going to get the National Express into London on their way home. Into Stratford and then a train on from there.
Harry by contrast didn't have far to go at all. But the journey was a difficult one. The train journey would take nearly three hours with three changes. The National Express would cost nearly £15 so Harry plumped for a bus service called Airport by Bus 133. It would take him to a place called Marks Tey, which was about a mile from home. He could then catch a cab or a local bus service the remainder of the way. He could even walk it if he felt energetic.
The four friends all hugged and Harry left them and within the hour he was back in Colchester and waiting for another bus to take him home.
There was news when he returned home as he found out that Medi Elito had moved out after having deciding that he no longer wanted to live with Carl and Harry.
As the players were away, he had moved all his stuff out over the summer and then left a note on the front room table.
Carl was there when Harry got home and he welcomed him back.
He welcomed him by saying "We need to look for a new housemate." before explaining what had happened.
Elito was still at the club but for one reason or another had decided to move out.
If anything, Harry was happy more than sad about the change in house arrangments. Medi was always a little cold with him and he would not rarely join in converstion when they all sat down at meal times.
The next day Harry reported for training and before he even made it out on to the pitch, he was summoned to manager John Ward's office.
"Welcome back Harry. Good summer?"
"Yeah. Not too bad thanks boss. Had a good holiday."
Then Ward's demeanour changed.
"Well Harry. You were due back into pre season training on the 18th of August. Today is the 30th.
Holiday or not and I know you're young, but that kind of basic flouting of the club rules will not be tolerated.
It was only after I spoke to Pentney that I knew where you were. And that took a few days. When he returned to the club he had to look through your things to find a number for your parents. They then explained where you were. For three days, we didn't know where you were. As such, for the rule break, you are fined two weeks wages. End of. Now get out and get on the pitch. And you better start impressing me."
Harry left the room. As he walked to the changing rooms, he thought about what an error he had made.
How could he have not informed the club of his holiday. How could he have not factored in the fact that he would need to go through an intensive pre season before the league programme kicked off.
It was a massive error and he knew it.
He had a lot of work to do to get back into the Gaffer's good books.
From a finacial point of view after such a big holiday it didn't really help his bank balance to be nearly £1000 down either.
When Harry got out on the training field he found that he had missed the first three pre season friendlies. A 3-1 away win at Plymouth, a 1-1 away draw with last years rivals Peterborough and a disappointing 0-1 defeat away to Exeter City. Harry was back and available for the next one, a home tie against NAC Breda of Holland. Harry would need to work very hard to be in contention though.
Harry worked hard and after the session came in to see the club doctor and physio.
They gave him a through once over and declared him fit.
Harry's first team experiences had helped to improve him in a number of areas. Accerlaration (+3), Jumping (+3) and Pace (+3) to name a few.
He felt good in himself despite his two week drink binge. He felt fine out on the training field. Not too tired. His stamina improvement probably helped with that.
He now just had to wok hard and wait and see whether he would be selected for the friendly.
After returning home, Harry caught up on the worldwide transfers and there had been a few.
Andres Iniesta moved from Barcelona to Manchester United for a fee of £19.25m but was replaced by Cesc Fabregas who moved from Arsenal to Barce for £15.75m.
Also in north London, Spurs lost Luka Modric to Inter in a £7.5m deal. A steal Harry thought until he saw that they replaced him with Xavi for a bargain £5.75m.
There were a lot of transfers going through but so far but Colchester had been quiet. Could there be late activity in the window from them.
Just when you thought he was a model pro he goes and misses most of pre season... tut tut.
Game day, 4th August arrived and Harry, after working hard all week, had indeed made the squad and indeed the first eleven.
The team picked was similar to last season's usual eleven with the exception of Myles Weston playing on the left wing.
And what a game Harry had on his return to action.
NAC scored first through defender Dick Mols but in the 34th minute, Weston tore down the left wing before crossing deep.
Harry rose high above his marker Mols and headed Colchester level.
Harry ran over to the dugout and hugged his manager for showing faith in him.
Things got better on 69 minutes when substitute Andy Bond broke free on the right edge of he area before pulling back to Bow on the edge of the box.
He unleashed a stunning volley that went in off the underside of the bar and put the U's ahead.
And that was how it satyed to record a 2-1 win for Colchester.
Harry was faultless during the game.
As well as his two goals, he lead the line magnificently up front on his own. Holding the ball up, linking play. He particularly enjoyed linking with Weston until the latter went off at half time. They instantly truck a bond and seemed to know how the other played despite meeting for the first time just 4 days prior.
Harry was good in the air too and four of his five shots were on target and of course resulted in his brace.
His match rating resulted in a perfect 10 and he came off to the acclaim of the crowd watching their team play at home for the first time in the new season.
David Perkins substitute appearance in the game ended up being his last for the club as shortly afterwards he signed for Q.P.R in a £375,000 deal. This kickstarted Colchester in the transfer market and a new face soon arrived in the form of Northern Irish international Robbie Weir.
At just 22, he looked a good prospect for the team but local media were claiming the £850,000 fee paid to Sunderland was a little high for an untried player.
Then, in no time at all, it was the first day of the season and a home tie against Charlton Athletic.
Charlton were a side that were in the Second Division with Colchester last season.
Their biggest change from last season was the addition of Kevin Foley from Wolves over the summer for a fee of £1.9m.
Colchester had the upper hand over the Addicks though as they beat them home and away in the league the previous season.
The club were certainly going into the tie confidently and it was just a waiting time now for the squad to be announced.
Harry pondered whether he had done enough against Breda to erase the wrongdoings from over the summer.
Would he be able to keep a place in the squad? Would he be the starting centre forward after his performance in the friendly? Would Mooney get the nod?
He would soon find out as the players were called into the players lounge for the announcement.
"OK lads." began Ward.
"Team to start us off this season. Playing 4-5-1 is:
and two triallists
Harry was in the first eleven. He had somehow elevated himself above last seasons top scorer Dave Mooney and secured a place in the starting line up.
"It may be a 4-5-1 but I want us to be attacking going forward.
You can see from the bench (one keeper, two midfielders, four forwards) that if it's not working I can make changes, maybe going to two even three up top. I'd hope we won't need to but I have that option.
Build on that NAC victory. We did well in that game and I want us to continue to play like that.
Hit Harry early if you need to but if you do, make sure you get up there to support him. Go out, enjoy your football and the result will come. Play tentatively and were in trouble."
With that the squad left to go down to the changing room to get ready for the pre match warm up.
Harry was happy to be starting, very happy. He was happy that Myles Weston was out on the wing. Their rapport had grown stronger over the last week or so since the friendly and Harry had mentioned to Carl that he could be a good addition to their household as a new housemate.
When the game kicked off, Harry took his manager's advice and picked up exactly where he left off in the NAC game. He was leading the line like a seasoned pro, not a man with just a few professional starts under his belt. He was a thorn in the side of Charlton central defenders Jake Buxton and Gary Doherty the whole afternoon.
They just coudn't handle him. He won the majority of balls in the air despite giving away an inch or two to both defenders. He played very well in tandem with Weston until Weston went off injured after 56 minutes.
By that point, Colchester were a goal up through a first half strike from Nathan Webb, playing in an unfamiliar central midfield role but playing well.
Harry's involvement in the game ended after 76 minutes when he was replaced by Jake Hyde.
Colchester controlled the game without adding to the scoreline and recorded their first win of the season at the first attempt.
Charlton were restricted to just two shots on goal in the game, both off target and they came off very happy with the performance. John Ward's tactic and team selection fully vindicated.
Bad news followed though the next day as Myles Weston's injury was found to be worse than feared and the prognosis was that he would be out for two months with strained ankle ligaments. Ian Henderson must have impressed the Charlton hierarchy when he came on to replace Weston as he was subject to a £220,000 bid for them just a day after the game. The bid was accepted and he was soon on his way to south London.
Weson's injury was the only blip on the copybook as it turned out as a series of good performances gave Ward lots to think about going forward.
Harry had played well, Hyde had impressed after coming on and with Mooney waiting in the wings, things were looking good up front. Webb had played well in the centre of midfield and also Lloyd James in the defensive midfield position and of course the defence who had held the opposition to just two off target chances in the game.
Although things looked good, the team and Harry in particular were not getting ahead of themselves.
Harry had become a lot more vocal in the changing room since he won a few starts and he reminded his team mates that this was not the same division that they were in the previous year and opponents would be a lot tougher on a more regular basis. The squad agreed.
They discussed at length ways to try and combat teams and how they could get results against stronger opposition than most of them had faced before.
Ward and Charnley obviously had their say but also speaking up a lot were Izzet, the skipper Okuonghae and Harry himself.
It proved a worthwhile chat as the realities of being in a higher division hit home in the next few games.
A 0-3 away defeat to Coventry was followed by a League Cup First Round to Preston.
They then upset the odds by defeating Leeds 1-0 away from home with a goal from Jake Hyde.
Harry had been dropped to the bench for that game and Hyde took his opportunity to make a name for himself.
Harry made a scoring return in the next game against West Brom but it wasn't enough to stop his side going down 2-1 at The Hawthorns.
At the start of September and after some teams had played five league games, the table was interesting reading.
Harry looked at the table and thought that Colchester were decently placed. He was surprised to see smaller clubs like Watford in the top half and big names like Middlesbrough and Newcastle in the bottom half.
He was clever enough to know though that it was very early days in the season and a lot would change in the next month let alone by May of next year when the season ended.
That's some great writing, well played! and well played Harry too, needs to get himself a transfer to the big club up the road, SUPER IPSWICH TOWN!
Hyde and Bow were rotated again for the next game in which Hyde scored in a victory over Burnley.
Because of the way it had been going, Harry half expected to start the next game against Sheffield United.
That probably would have been the case had Colchester not dipped into the transfer market once more before the game came round.
It turned out to be a double swoop as they first signed young defensive winger, Massimo Donati.
Not the former Milan and Celtic midfielder but a 19 year old signing for his first club. He had had no luck in his native country and so came to England looking for his football dream. His first task will be to pick up some English so he can communicate with teammates.
The second signing was a player that Colchester and Harry knew well.
He scored against the club last season and that goal was responsible for inflicting the first defeat of Harry's career.
That man was Jonathan Forte and he signed from Southampton for £625,000.
With a record of 19 goals in 43 games last season, you could see why the purchase had been made.
Harry was worried for his future. He had made great strides in his young career and didn't want this to be a step back but he also knew he would have to continue to work hard if he was to continue involvement in the first team.
With Harry himself, Hyde, Mooney, Steven Gillespie and now Forte to vie for position up front it was going to be difficult.
Forte made his debut in the next fixture, away to Sheffield United. He played well. Harry got a chance off the bench but not up top.
He came on to replace Anthony Wordsworth in a left midfield role. Unfamiliar for Harry it certainly was, a gamble by Ward it certainly was.
Especially as he made the change instantly after Colchester equalised to make it 1-1.
As always, Harry gave his all and despite a booking, played reasonably well.
He did hope though that his involvement would not be limited to out of position substitute appearances.
The next game would be a big one for Forte. Southampton were coming to town.
Harry spent the rest of the week working as hard as he could to ensure he kept his involvement in the first team. Training hard, extra runs whilst at home, extra hours in the gym.
He was fit, he was ready. But would he be involved?
He hoped so.
Southampton's replacement for Forte definately played. That man was Josh McQuoid, a signing from Millwall.
He'd made one substitute appearance and this would be his first start for The Saints.
As the teams were announced, it emerged that Forte also played.
As this news was announced by Chic Charnley, Harry's head dropped. He had visions of not playing again for months. His brain was going hyper speed thinking of the connotations that this would mean.
Then no more than five seconds later, he heard his own name.
His head shot up again. He was playing. With Forte.
Would that mean two up front?
That's the way that his mind was going but that was not how the team lined up when they took to the pitch.
Forte lined up on the left wing. It was certainly an unfamiliar position for the new signing but once again it proved to be an inspired decision by John Ward.
It confused Southampton and especially their central defender Jose Fonte, who was pulled out of position numerous times in the first fifteen minutes trying to track Forte out to the wing.
This in turn left extra space for Harry up front who was playing the loan striker's role.
This he exploited to nearly it's full potential.
He tried a number of things but was unable to score.
He held the ball up well but was unable to craft any goalscoring opportunities for either himself or his team mates.
Colchester did eventually take the lead on the half hour and it was through central midfielder Nathan Webb.
Bow had lost his marker and tried to burst into the box past covering defender Fonte but was tackled.
The ball broke to Webb who swung a boot at it and saw his shot curl across the goalkeeper Shane Higgs and nestle in the back of the net.
Colchester had scored and comfortably saw it through to half time with their lead.
Harry's involvement in the game ended at the break as he was replaced by Jake Hyde.
Ward obviously had a game plan to hold the lead in the second half as he also sent on Andy Bond on the right side of midfield to replace the more attacking winger Ashley Vincent.
It certainly worked. Although Colchester did not create another scoring chance in the game, they also restricted Saints to just two in the half.
As it happened they scored one of them. Alex Chamberlain used his pace to break away down the right wing and he crossed along the six yard line for substitute Guly do Prado to tap in the easiest of equalisers to leave it as a share of the points.
A share of the points was probably the fairest result.
It left both teams on 11 points in 8th and 9th in the division and everyone went home happy.
Sounds like it's starting to get tougher for Harry...
When Harry got home, he looked at the First Division table.
Yes, Colchester were 9th. That was good. They also had a game in hand on four of the top eight.
He then looked at the club's goals for column.
They had scored just six goals i their seven goals so far.
This he knew was poor and this he knew, being the centre forward, was partly down to him.
He now had a personal record of just two goals in 18 appearances.
Granted a lot of those were short sub appearances but it still didn't look great and he knew that if he didn't start scoring soon, he would be dropped.
It was exactly what happened. Hyde took his spot in the starting line up for the loss away to top of the table Wigan and didn't feature at all in the 3-2 win over Derby.
He returned to score the winner and play 90 minutes in the 1-0 victory over Scunthorpe though so he could not be too unhappy. He was getting game time. Maybe not as much as he wanted but he was getting games.
Last season's top scorer Dave Mooney had yet to play this season.
He was understandably becoming agitated sitting on the sidelines and not playing and he had told the manager that he was looking for first team football. It transpired that Mooney had inserted a minimum fee clause in his contract when he signed in the summer. If a bid of £1.9m came in for him he could discuss automatically with the club in question. Problem was without him playing, would anyone be willing to shell that kind of money on him.
During the international break at the start of October, Harry and Carl really ramped up their search for a new housemate. No one at the club was looking.
In the early stages of he search, they thought about Jake Hyde but Harry thought it might be weird living with the person you were vying for a position with so they agreed that it couldn't be a keeper or a forward that moved in.
Then one day Carl looked at Harry after having what looked like a monumental brainwave.
"Harry? What about a bird?"
Harry looked at him. It was true. They had not even entertained the idea of a woman moving in. They had only been looking at men. In fact they had barely looked outside the club.
The house had been in an letting agent window for the last couple of days though.
Interesting idea mate! Why have we not thought of that before! No seriously. A girl doesn't bother me. Could be alright. You'll have to start tidying your pants away though! Are you single at the moment mate? I don't want you jumping her and her moving straight out again!
"You're going the right way for a smack in the face mate!" said Carl jokingly.
"I think it's a good idea. Will certainly help with the rent. It'll prompt us to keep this place tidy. We might even get a decent home cooked meal now and again!"
"And do you know what. I think I know the perfect person. Jane in the club kitchen is looking for somewhere...."
"Whoh!!" began Harry "She's like 50 or something!"
"Let me finish will you! Jane in the club kitchen is looking for somewhere for her daughter to move into. The daughter wants to move out at home. Branch out on her own, you know.
And she's not 50, Jane is like 40 tops!!"
"Oh. Ok. And how old is the daughter?
"18. 19 maybe. Not old don't worry! Too old for you though Whipper Snapper!"
"Well ha di ha! I'm not looking. Before I even think about a girlfriend I have to pass my driving test. A guy without wheels is nothing to a girl!
Harry was due to start lessons in the next couple of weeks and he hoped he would be good enough a driver to be able to take his test soon after his 17th birthday.
A couple of days passed before they were back at the club and Carl approached Jane in the kitchen at lunchtime and asked if her daughter was still looking for a new place to live.
He explained that they were looking for a housemate and it could be a good solution for both parties.
Jane seemed interested on her daughter's behalf so took the address and said that her daughter would be round around 7pm that same evening.
"Excellent" said Carl. "Oh. What's her name by the way?"
"Oh yes. It's Penny." replied Jane.
That evening, Harry and Carl had done a swift tidy up ready for the visit of the prospective new housemate.
Then just before 7, there was a ring on the doorbell.
Early? That bodes well." said Harry.
He and Carl both went to the door and opened to find a young lady standing on the doorstep.
"Hi. I'm Penny. I've come to look around. My Mum sent me along."
"Come on in. Great to meet you. I'm Harry. This is Carl."
Carl was standing there with the widest eyes Harry had ever seen.
"CARL!" snapped Harry.
"Er, erm, sorry. Hi. Hello. Er, yeah. Come on in."
They showed Penny around and then sat down to have a chat about whether she did want to move in.
It wasn't long until there was another knock on the door.
Harry went to answer it to find two of Carl's friends there with beers and crisps in hand.
"Of course, the game. I forgot. Come in. Guys, this is Penny."
Penny said hello to the two newcomers.
"Do you like football, Penny?" asked Carl.
"Oh yeah. I love it!"
It actually sounded like a serious answer instead of a sarcastic one.
"Great. You're going to fit in here fine!" replied Carl.
"If she moves in mate. Let's not get ahead of ourselves." said Harry quickly. "You happy to stay to watch the football with us though?
"Yeah sure!" Penny answered.
The five of them then sat down to watch Steve Bruce's debut as England manager.
Brill stuff man!
Harry is Sheldon i am guessing lol
To bad for his lack of game time, hopefully somone can see his potential.
Hadn't quite decided which is which yet?
Although a keeper who needs glasses could be an interesting story addition down the line somewhere!
Bruce's debut went well for him and England's 2-0 win over Hungary helped them to finish top of qualifying Group 6 on goal difference ahead of Denmark. Both teams would be making their way to the European Championships the next summer.
Imagine if I was there as part of it thought Harry.
Penny stayed until the end of the game and had a lot of fun. She enjoyed the company of the lads and felt that she would be able to settle in pretty well.
"Right guys - listen." she said as the game finished
"I'll move in but there will be conditions! I'm not your maid. I'm not going to do your washing. I'm not going to be the one who clears up the whole time. You'll have to pull your weight and not rely on the woman to do everything."
"And what a woman!" Carl whispered into his friends ear.
"That is not a problem Penny. We will do our fair share don't you worry! Harry replied.
And with that Harry stood up and held out his hand to shake Penny's.
She bypassed it and gave him a huge hug. She then gave one to Carl.
After that they all sat down and watched the match ananysis whilst Penny called a cb to take her back to her parents house. They arranged that she would move in her stuff over the next week or so.
The cab soon arrived and Penny said her goodbyes and went on her way.
As she left, Carl and Harry high fived and remarked on how lucky they had been.
Penny, from first impressions, looked like she was going to be the perfect housemate.
She was fun, friendly, loved football. It was an added bonus that she was attractive as well.
Carl was already smitten! He didn't stop going on about her for the rest of the evening.
By the next Saturday she was ready to move in the bulk of her things.
Carl helped her with the moving in.
Harry wasn't able to help as he had been named in the squad for the home tie against Swansea City.
As it turned out, he was again an unused sub but the team did win 2-1 to lift them up into 5th in the division.
A seven minute cameo on the left wing the following Tuesday against Watford didn't alter the outcome as Colchester lost 2-0.
In fact, the best Harry was making was the bench for some time.
Colchester brought in two midfielders on loan. Gary Deegan, a centre midfielder, from Charlton and Luciano Civelli, an attacking left midfielder from Leeds. Civelli would be cover for Myles Weston who had been injured more than he had been fit in his time at the club.
Bow's longest outing was a 69 minute sub appearance after Jake Hyde came off injured in the home game against Hull.
Colchester went on to win the game 1-0 with a goal from Kemi Izzet and it was their first win in a month. They had slumped from 5th down to 10th in that time. Harry hoped that he might get his big break in the side soon.
After that game, John Ward made a big transfer in the history of Colchester United. Big in terms of financial outlay anyway.
Ward shelled out an amount of £1.3m on Stoke City's Michael Tonge. Now Tonge hadn't played regularly since he was a Sheffield United player back in 2009. Since then he had gone to Stoke and hadn't quite done enough to cement a first team place there.
He went on loan to Crewe last season and played himself back into a bit of form with 5 goals in 17 games.
It remained to see whether the outlay would be justified. The fans were right to be concerned. The last big money signing, Robbie Weir (£825,000), had made just one substitute appearance since joining three months previously.
Tonge made the bench for Colchester's next fixture as did Harry again. An away fixture to Q.P.R.
And could it prove to be a pivotal day in the career of Harry Bow.
Again, Harry found himself on the bench and as he walked out to the dugout at Loftus Road, anticipated another cold day wrapped up on the bench watching the action pass him by.
Hyde had kept his place despite coming off injured in the previous match. He was still not 100% fit but still got the nod ahead of Harry, Mooney and Forte. It was a strange decision from John Ward but he had made strange decisions before and more often than not they had come off so the club trusted him.
Harry was on his feet pretty early to celebrate Jimmy McNulty's first goal for the club which put Colchester ahead but soon sat down listening to Ward and Charnley discuss possible outcomes in the game.
The goal settled Ward a little but Charnley wasn't so sure.
As early as the 15th minute, Charnley wanted Hyde replaced and a change of formation.
Charnley was obviously very persuasive. In the 19th minute, Harry was standing alongside Jonathan Forte, jumping up and down and waiting for Hyde to come over to the touchline to replace him. Lloyd James was the other change and the formation was going to 4-5-1 with Forte playing in the hole behind Bow.
"I've put it on the line for you two." Charnley said to Bow and Forte.
"Don't let me down."
Chic was right. Why had Ward agreed to a double substitution after just 19 minutes of the game. A game they were winning. Everyone must have thought he was mad. Even more so when Matthew Connolly equalised for Q.P.R in the 32nd minute.
That equaliser spurred on Harry. He was a man on a mission. He had to take his chance and nothing was going to get in his way. Not least Bradley Orr who Harry chopped down on the touchline late in the first half whilst desperately trying to close down and put him under pressure. Bow received a yellow card despite his protests.
By this point though, Harry was on a high. Harry had six minutes earlier restored Colchester's lead with a powerful header from a floated cross from Ashley Vincent.
He was particularly proud of it. Vincent had really stood up the cross and he he first had to climb higher than central defender Fitz Hall and then generate power in the cross whilst also heading it back across Paddy Kenny into the far corner of the goal.
He was extactic. A really enjoyed the goal and his teammates did to.
Ward and Charnley both jumped to their feet in the technical area as well, their brave decision looking like it may pay off after all.
Coming in at half time, the players were brimming with confidence, they were enjoying their football. They enjoyed having a target man up top who was willing to run himself into the ground. Hyde usually did this but carrying his injury he just wasn't putting himself about.
Harry made a difference, Forte also in behind him was a great link between Harry and the midfield.
Ashley Vincent was having his game of the season and was over and over again beating his man and delivering crosses.
Twelve minutes from time they got their reward. Vincent flew past his marker and delivered a cross to the far post which was headed out to the edge of the box by Jamie Mackie.
The ball fell to the feet of Bow who after a touch to control, drilled a shot into Paddy Kenny's bottom left corner to seal the points for Colchester and a remarkable day for Harry Bow.
2 goals off the bench and a man of the match display.
A heroic display which proved Chic Charnley right in suggesting the change and John Ward right to listen to his assistant.
Harry was determined to keep this form but to do that he would need to keep his place.
A brace for Harry! Surely he can cement a place in the first XI now?
Brilliant write up, great work Eb.
This did not happen.
Colchester's next game was three days later, again in London away to Millwall.
Harry did not even make the squad. A surprise name on the bench was Medi Elito.
He hadn't figured in one squad since Harry joined the club but then there he was and taking a squad place that Harry might have expected.
To say he was a little peeved was not the half of it.
Colchester came away with a 2-1 win and all Harry could do was hope that he made the next squad after a full weeks rest.
Harry needn't have worried. The day after the Millwall tie, Harry was pulled aside on the training ground by Charnley.
"Harry lad. Just to let you know not to worry about missing last night's game. We rested you. You looked tired and we want you for the local derby. It's Norwich Saturday. It's a big one. We want you firing. You'll be in the squad and to be honest unless something drastic happens on the training field in the next two days, you'll start."
What more could Harry ask for. Honesty from the management team is all he could ask for and that was what he got.
To celebrate, when he got home, he took Carl and Penny out for dinner to celebrate.
The celebrations continued as Harry scored during the Norwich game to take him to 5 goals in 6 starts and the club to a 1-1 draw against one of the divisional favourites.
After the game, loanee Luciano Civelli was sold by his parent club Leeds to Carlisle United for £575,000. He was replaced in the squad by Giles Coke on loan but he in turn was then sold by his parent club so Colchester brought in another loanee in the form of 22 year old Graham Carey from Celtic.
In December, Harry didn't get much playing time.
And he wasn't too happy about it.Code:vs Bristol City 3-2 (Izzet, Bow, Heath) - Bow starts vs Reading 0-2 - Bow gets 12 minutes vs Newcastle 0-3 - Bow didn't play vs Charlton 1-1 - (O'Toole) - Bow played 31 minutes vs Coventry 3-1 - (Vincent, Hyde, Izzet) - Bow unused sub.
What would he need to do to tie down a first team place? He had started scoring and what was his reward? Being dropped to the bench.
For the first time, seeds of doubt as to whether he was at the right club for him started to creep into his mind.
Why couldn't the Gaffer play two up top? That would certainly increase his playing time. Ward insisted on sticking with his tried and tested 4-5-1. To be fair to Ward, it was working for him. Colchester were sitting 7th and that was just two points off second place.
But, just like fellow forwards Dave Mooney, Jake Hyde, Steven Gillespie and Jonathan Forte, Harry was looking for more playing time.
Harry decided to bite his tongue for now and get on with things. He wanted to try his hardest to make that lone striker role his own. The next chance he would possibly have to do that would be away against Derby County on New Years Eve, Harry's 17th birthday.
Good man-management fom Charnley that, and if he'd told Harry before the Millwall game he might have eased off in training Hope Harry keeps his head down and works hard, as a sixteen-year-old he can't go mouthing off to the boss and at 7th in the league Ward clearly knows what he's doing!
Harry woke up on the morning of his birthday to a cake made by Penny.
He didn't have time to tuck in to any though as he had been named in the squad for the away game at Derby so had to gather up his things and make his way to the club.
He endured a few celebrations at the club as well,
but soon he had been cut down and was on the coach to the game.
Harry was still a little apprehensive as to his playing time on the way to the game. He wanted to play. He wanted to mark his birthday. It wouldn't be long until he would find out as when he looked out the window, he saw a road sign directing them to Pride Park.
After arrival at the ground, the players filed out on to the pitch to look at the state of the pitch. It had been watered heavily even though the rain had held off for the last day of the year. It was pretty breezy though and this could play into the hands of Derby. They were a side who liked to cross balls into the box at every opportunity. Colchester would have to be aware of that. They would not be able to play their normal way due to the watering of the pitch. Derby had been canny. Very canny.
As it turned out, Harry would not get the present of a starting place. Jake Hyde was given the nod. He didn't really get to grips with the conditions and was replaced by Bow.
He didn't fair much better. By the time he came on, the pitch had cut up significantly and the midfield were just not able to get on the ball and feed the ball to the front line.
The game was won by two strikes. Both coming from the same man.
That man was Derby's Matty Fryatt. One in the 2nd minute and his second eight minutes from time.
It had not been a great day at the office for Colchester. Especially considering the fact they were bottom before the days play.
It was a low atmosphere on the coach back. Everybody associated with the club knew they had been out thought on the day. It hadn't happened too often since Harry had been at the club. Yes they had been beaten by better opposition in the past but when it came to equals, John Ward had picked a side and a strategy to deal with it. Maybe Ward expected Colchester to win easily regardless on the day due to Derby's position in the division.
Ward was very quiet on the way back. You could tell by the look on his face that he was disappointed with himself. He had that kind of look where you knew he wouldn't make that mistake again.
Back home and Harry explained the poor game to Carl and Penny. Then at around 9pm after he had showered up again, Harry was just coming downstairs when there was a ring on the doorbell.
"Who's that? asked Harry.
"Dunno." replied Carl "but you can get it as you're up!"
Harry gave him a wry grin and opened the door.
There he was met by the faces of around 25 people all screaming 'Happy Birthday' at him!
"Whoa!" shouted Harry, actually taken aback and stumbling back a bit after being hit by the wall of sound. "What's all this about?!"
"PARTY!!!" came the collective reply as the mass of friends started piling into the house.
"Surprise!" said Penny and Carl together.
They had organised this and sorted out drinks and food. It would be a joint birthdy party for Harry and a New Year's Eve party rolled into one.
The party was in full swing for some time, maybe a couple of hours when there was another ring on the doorbell. When it was answered, standing there were John Ward and Chic Charnley. They came in and enjoyed a few drinks before Ward left after around 45 minutes. Charnley however was there for the duration and consumed copious amounts of alcohol.
The party carried on until the early hours of the morning, around 2am when the last revellers were deciding that it might be a good time to make their way home.
Charnley however was not going to get that far and had passed out on the sofa.
The remaining squad players decided that Harry had been the butt of enough jokes on his birthday but that Charnley would see the funny side of taking advantage of his situation.
It was lucky that the players and staff had the next day, New Year's Day 2012, off.
When Harry got up at around 8:30, Charnley was gone but there were still many people asleep in the house. On the sofa, the floor and Tom Bender, the young central defender, was asleep on the kitchen counter.
It was lunchtime before everyone was awake and out of the house and Harry, Carl and Penny could set to the task of cleaning up the house and getting it straight.
Just after 1pm, Harry received a text from the Gaffer Ward.
'Just checking in with the players that were at the party. Reply to this within the hour.'
Harry could see what the text was for. If a player didn't reply, Ward would take that to mean that they were so drunk they could not reply. Harry guessed that would man they may not be involved in the next club game which was in three days against fallen giants Leeds.
Leeds were in good form and were in the playoff places. A win for Colchester though would take them level with Leeds on points.
After that was an FA Cup 3rd round tie against West Ham. Places were up for grabs and Harry was bent on grabbing one for both games especially the cup tie.
The day before the game at the training session, a rumour started to fly around the club. Of all the texts sent out by Ward, the only one that wasn't answered within the one hour time frame was from a certain Chic Charnley.
The rumour was backed up by the fact that he was absent from the training session and no one had seen him since the party.
Ward himself was missing from some of the session. He though could be accounted for. He was looking at a potential transfer target and doing some in depth analysis.
Before anyone knew it, fans were arriving at the Colchester Community Stadium ready for the first game of the New Year and the visit of Leeds United.
Brilliant stuff Ebz, an all night bender ends up with Bender asleep on the kitchen counter!
Harry needs to organise a few more parties, and steal the phones of his rival strikers. That should get him a run in the forst XI!!
Harry was disappointed when the team was announced.
Again he would be gracing the bench as Jake Hyde was again given the nod to lead the line.
Harry hoped that this meant he was being rested ahead of the cup encounter but with Ward he could never be sure.
The forward line was not the issue in the game however.
Leeds found themselves three up in 18 minutes and then added a fourth on the half hour to kill off the tie very early.
Hyde had barely had a touch, the defence had barely got near the players they were supposed to be marking.
Rickie Lambert had scored twice, with Daniel Majstorovic and Karl Ledsham scoring either side of his brace.
The game was a procession. Colchester had not even started playing and it didn't look like they were going to get a chance to.
Leeds were nothing short of majestic. Free flowing football, the best Colchester had come up against this season. Harry had to be honest with himself and say that he would love to play in a side that could play like that on a consistent basis.
The second half was a little better as Leeds took their foot off the gas. Ashley Vincent pulled one back but the 4-1 scoreline was a hard one to take.
They needed to be a lot better when they visited Upton Park in three days time.
No one was really sure what was going on with the back room staff as Charnley was not in the dugout for the Leeds game. On the day before the West Ham tie it was announced in a memo to players that he would be missing again.
There was no explanation as to why. Everyone knew the reason but no one knew how strong his punishment had been. Had he been fired, suspended, gardening leave. No one knew. But that was the furthest thing from both John Ward's and Harry Bow's minds. For very different reasons.
Ward wanted to outfox a seemingly stronger opponent. West Ham were an established Premier Division side who had made strong signings.
They had finished 9th the season before and were currently 12th in the division. They played a solid 4-4-2 but Ward believed they were beatable.
Bow just wanted more playing time. After watching Leeds pick apart his teammates from the sidelines, Harry wanted to play a part against a higher class of player. He wanted to test himself. To see how far he had come in his thirty professional appearances. He thought he was a better player than the day he made his debut. He felt he had been proving himself in recent weeks, especially in terms of goals but Ward didn't think so and he had to convince him otherwise.
He would get his chance as he was named in the starting line up for the visit to the Boleyn Ground.
It remained to be seen how much of a game he would have as when Ward named the side and showed the players the starting formation on the white board, Harry couldn't help thinking that he would be incredibly isolated.
But Harry was happy. All he wanted to do was to go out and give a good account of himself. Make himself known.
He did just that. He played well. James Tomkins and Scott Dann certainly knew they had been in a game. Tomkins so much so that he was replaced after 52 minutes by Manuel da Costa.
Harry gave his all but he was fighting a losing battle. No support. No chance of any team mates getting forward to support him with the selected formation and no hope of a win for Colchester.
Early goals again did for them.
Avram Grant, West Ham's manager was full of praise for him in post match interviews but this didn't mean much to Harry at the time. He wanted to win the tie and he hadn't.
The praise he would take on board at a later time.
Another long quiet coach journey back to Colchester beckoned and Harry was trying to think positively.
It wasn't easy.
As he returned home he resolved to forget the cup game and the clubs poor form and pour all he could into the clubs next fixture, at home to West Brom.
To do that though, he would need to keep his position in the starting line up.
The rest of the week was split between training in the mornings, making sure he did everything asked of him and getting himself noticed by the management, and in the afternoons, driving lessons.
After passing his 17th birthday, Harry's main aim, second only to securing a first team spot was learning how to drive. He had booked himself intensive lessons and was determined to pass as soon as was possible.
He had surprised himself at how good he was and after seven lessons, he felt confident enough to book his test. It would be booked for the end of January.
Attention then turned to West Brom. After the two defeats to Leeds and West Ham and the manner that they capitulated, Ward had a lot to say to the squad over the intervening week. He worked specifically with the defence for the first couple of days of the week, focusing on man marking, when to drop off the forward and when to go tight.
It seemed to work. The mood in the camp as the tactics sank in was noticibly better by Thursday when the players came in.
They were soon on their way back home again though as Ward had decided that they should have a day off from training. They were all handed a DVD which showed West Brom at their best and worst and were told to go home and watch it and not return to the club until matchday at midday.
Matchday came around all too quickly for some but Harry was ready. A number of players had in recent weeks expressed their desire to move on to bigger clubs but Bow himself had decided it was not yet his time to move on. Or he wouldn't engineer a move himself anyway. If someone came in for him, he'd have a look.
Morale was ok. The players just wanted a decent performance.
Harry just literally gagging for the start. He was up for it. Well up for it. Now was the time for him to stand up and be counted.
The day started well for Bow as he was indeed named in the starting eleven as the lone striker.
It soon got a lot worse as Graham Dorrans scored for West Brom after 9 minutes.
It looked like it was going to be another long day.
Oooh, the mid-match commercial break, this story is getting a bit mainstream!
Come on Harry, smash some goals in, win the match and take home that match ball!
As he walked back to the centre circle for the kick off, his mood hadn't changed, he wanted this match and would do whatever it took to get something from it.
As he reached the centre spot to take the kick off, he saw Kemi Izzet looking at him.
Izzet nodded to him. Izzet could see how focused Bow was.
Izzet then turned to his team mates and started clapping to encourage them.
"Come on lads. We haven't started yet have we? Let's get that ball up to Harry as soon as we can. We know what he can do. Let's give him the chance to do it shall we. Come on!"
That was just the tonic Harry needed.
The team were working to him, working to the strengths that he had been honing. He would be the focal point.
He couldn't let himself or the team down.
For the next ten minutes, Harry was faultless. Every long ball was expertly controlled either on his chest or nodded down for a teammate.
His exuberance was rubbing off on his team mates. Izzet had a drive that crashed back off the bar. Jonathan Forte had two chances, one going narrowly wide and one saved by the keepers legs when one on one.
Then on the half hour, the breakthrough. O'Toole chipped a delicate ball into the area on to Harry's head for him to knock down to Izzet. Izzet couldn't find space for a shot so he completed a one-two with Bow who took one touch and smashed a shot past Scott Carson for the equaliser.
The Hawthorns fell silent apart from the Colchester travelling support. They were euphoric and their mood got better on the stroke of half time when Izzet released left back Mat Sadler to stride forward down the left wing. He knocked the ball past James Hurst, the West Brom right back and outpaced him to the ball.
Sadler looked up as he reached the ball and first time swung in a cross to the near post where Bow got ahead of his marker and glanced a header into the far corner of the goal.
Harry ran. Ran for all he was worth until he was standing in front of the visiting Colchester fans where he stopped and held his arms outstretched, receiving their adulation.
Almost instantly after the kick off, the half time whistle sounded.
Harry was happy for that. He hadn't got his breath back from his long run to celebrate in front of his own fans. He now had time to have a little bit of a rest and to take some fluids on board.
"We've got what we deserved." began John Ward when all the players had settled down in the changing room.
"We dominated most of that half and if we had come in not winning it would have been a travesty. We need to keep it up though. No sitting back on this. Not with just a one goal lead. I want us to carry on attacking and get some more goals. I know goals have been a problem for us but I can see us getting more in this game. Keep the pressure up. We need to watch Dorrans in the middle and Chris Brunt out on the right but that is all they've got. Keep them quiet and this game is in the bag.
Go out there and go get that result."
The second half was a much tighter affair. West Brom manager Brendan Rodgers had obviously put a rocket under his players during the interval and in the most part both teams cancelled each other out.
There were just two noteworthy chances. Jonas Olsson had a header from a corner tipped over spectacularly by Scott Shearer.
The other was a chance created by substitute Myles Weston who picked up the ball on the left wing before cutting inside and running across the back four before slipping the ball between both central defenders for Harry Bow who had sprung the offside trap. He took a touch to control then passed the ball through Carson's legs and into the goal to complete a memorable hat trick.
Moments later, he was engulfed by his teammates who knew as well as Harry did that the goal was the one that would win them the game.
When he emerged from the bottom of the huddle, Harry stood and punched the air. A hat trick. He hoped he would have a good game but he didn't imagine he would be bagging the match ball, especially against opposition the quality of West Brom.
The remaining half an hour of the game were a blur but Colchester ran out comfortable 3-1 winners and Harry left the field with the ball under his arm.
Ward congratulated him on his way off and his teammates likewise when he made it back into the dressing room.
He had become one of the youngest players ever to score a hat trick in league football and had taken his tally for the season to 9 goals in 9 starts and 11 sub appearances.
He was on top of the world and rightly so.
Yes! Go Harry! Gonna be a big celebration now too, I bet