Colchester United boss Kevin Keen’s response to Chris Porter’s boo boys
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Chris Porter has received some stick from a small section of Colchester United supporters, during the last few weeks, but manager Kevin Keen has been quick to spring to his striker’s defence.
No-nonsense centre forward Porter has often had to plough a lone furrow up front, during this most difficult of seasons at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.
The experienced 32-year-old has managed just five goals, in 26 appearances, as the U’s have struggled against relegation over the last seven months, and scored just once in his last 13 outings.
Porter has been booed, on occasions, by a few frustrated U’s fans, often when he has been substituted or, as was the case last weekend, when he appeared as a substitute during the thrilling 3-3 draw against Wigan.
“I’m always of the opinion that supporters can air whatever they want to air, and shout whatever they want to shout. They pay their money, so if that’s the way they want to do it, then that’s OK,” insisted U’s boss Keen.
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“But all I know is that Chris Porter goes out every week and gives more than 100%. He’s been a fantastic captain throughout the season.
“He runs, and he chases, everything. He has maybe not got the amount of goals that he deserves, so it’s up to supporters if they want to do that.
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“But I know that Chris is a fantastic professional and that it won’t affect him. He will just keep going, and keep going, and working his socks off for this club every week,” added Keen.
Wigan-born Porter, who arrived from Sheffield United at the start of 2015, was appointed club captain by former U’s boss Tony Humes – now the new Director of Football – last July.
Humes’ successor, Keen, decided to relieve Porter of his duties and appoint Owen Garvan as captain, to take some of the pressure off the big man.
While not always getting the full support of U’s fans, Porter has been attracting praise from opposing managers, not least former Colchester boss Phil Parkinson, the current manager of Bradford City.
The U’s ended a club record winless streak of 19 league games, with a 2-1 win at Valley Parade, and Bradford supremo Parkinson recognised the role played by Porter in that rare victory.
Keen revealed: “I go back to what Phil Parkinson told me, after the away game at Bradford.
“He told me – ‘Chris Porter, what a player!’ – and he actually said that these sort of big strikers are much maligned in this league, but that they are priceless.
“Chris has been absolutely fantastic. If I thought he wasn’t giving his best or wasn’t trying, then that would be different.
“I think the supporters are a little bit split. I’m sure the other ones can see that everyday he gives absolutely everything. So give the boy a break,” added Keen.
The U’s travel to Walsall today.