Colchester ready for FA Cup clash

EXCITEMENT is mounting today as Colchester United and its supporters prepare for the team's biggest game in years tomorrow.And as manager Phil Parkinson and his high-flyers make the last minute preparations for what they hope will be one of the biggest FA Cup upsets in years away at Chelsea, it was revealed that win, lose or draw, the club is in for a pay day of about £750,000.

EXCITEMENT is mounting today as Colchester United and its supporters prepare for the team's biggest game in years tomorrow.

And as manager Phil Parkinson and his high-flyers make the last minute preparations for what they hope will be one of the biggest FA Cup upsets in years away at Chelsea, it was revealed that win, lose or draw, the club is in for a pay day of about £750,000.

Former player David Gregory, who now works at the club as a press officer, said there would be more than £250,000 coming from the television rights as the match is being shown live.

And although some believe the £120,000 for the winning club may be something of a dream, the income from ticket sales of around £350,000 means the Us won't be blue tomorrow.


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There will also be £265,000 for the television coverage as well as money from the radio.

“When the annual reports were released there was a deficit of £300,000 so the money will go a good way towards wiping that out and gives you a head start on the next year's figures,” he said.

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Tomorrow the Us will be hoping do dazzle the Premiership champions in their yellow strip and have urged fans travelling to Stamford Bridge to go in the colours of the away kit.

Meanwhile shops around the town have been doing their bit by decorating their windows in blue and white.

Even the town hall is flying Colchester Utd flags and yesterday the yesterday the sense of anticipation was building and the talk was of possible scores, with some even daring to dream of victory.

At Goodys solicitors in West Stockwell Street, staff had been out on the roof to hang blue and white drapes down to the floor.

Bryan Johnston, managing partner, said: “It has taken a lot of work but we are supporters here and we have sponsored the club programme before.

“We seldom have sporting success so when we do you have to make the most of it and hopefully this will help along the way to the new stadium.”

At Claybrooks Jewellers in Lion Walk the shop was covered in blue and white balloons and employee Katie Farren, 18, said she and 18 family and friends had been lucky enough to get hold of proverbial golddust and are heading to West London.

Shop manager, Jayne Stock said: “I think it will be 3-1 to Chelsea but at the end of the day they have nothing to lose.

“They are going there with a lot of support so it should be a great day out for everyone.”

James Hambleton, owner of The Original Art Shop in Eld Lane decked out his window with signed footballs and a framed Us shirt.

“I think tickets are the prize for the best window, so it would be great to win them. And it's not impossible for the club to win, but it is improbable I would think.”

Jenny Bennington and Jodie Lee spent a couple of days preparing the window of The Remnant Shop in blue and white, even using clothes dye, buttons and beads to predict a score of 10-0 to the Us.

Meanwhile the Lemon Tree restaurant suffered from a failure of its gas supply, leading to an impromptu barbeque in its courtyard with the chefs dressed in the club's strip.

And at Colchester Utd's club shop was doing a roaring trade with all things yellow flying off the shelves.

Chairman of the Colchester Utd Supporters Association, Jon Burns, said: “I think everyone is going to rest nicely today for one hell of a day.

“Everybody is so excited - it is all our Christmas's rolled into one, playing Chelsea on TV, watched by millions.

“It is no more than the club and the fans deserve and everyone is so very proud of them - there is no bigger fixture, for some teams maybe there is, not for us.”

Mr Burns revealed, that like so many fans, he would swap a win in the FA Cup tomorrow for promotion to the Championship, but then would not mind having both.

“The league is our cake and this is the icing on the top - Phil Parkinson has such a professional approach about things and will get the players totally focused, I have no doubt about that.”

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