Sponsors celebrate booming U's

WHEN Colchester United kicked off the 2005-6 season in August, no-one could have predicted the rollercoaster ride that would follow - least of all the club's shirt sponsors.

WHEN Colchester United kicked off the 2005-6 season in August, no-one could have predicted the rollercoaster ride that would follow - least of all the club's shirt sponsors.

Now, as the U's stand on the cusp of a historic promotion to the Championship, Essex-based Easy-Skip and 118trades.com are set for another moment in limelight.

Their brands have already enjoyed extensive exposure on the strips of a team riding high in League One that enjoyed extended runs in the LDV Vans Trophy and the FA Cup.

For U's season ticket holder Carl Richardson, the current campaign has been a dream come true from both a personal and professional point of view.

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Mr Richardson, managing director of Easy-Skip, based in Wix, near Manningtree, the club's home shirt sponsors, said: “It has certainly raised the profile of the company, which is what we set out to do when we signed up for the sponsorship.

“All of the success has been an extra added bonus. No one expected to have such good runs in the FA Cup, the LDV Vans Trophy and the league.

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“I've been a season ticket holder for nearly 20 years and I've been a sponsor of the club for a long time. When the opportunity came to be the shirt sponsor we decided to take it up. It has certainly been value for money and has been a fantastic ride.”

Mr Richardson, who did not wish to disclose the amount his firm paid for the deal, is currently in talks with the club about extending the shirt sponsorship.

Although looking forward to the prospect of Championship football next season, Mr Richardson said it is important to secure promotion against Yeovil on Saturday before looking too far ahead.

Although Easy-Skip has benefited from the club's fine form, it was away-shirt sponsor, 118trades.com, which grabbed the biggest single chunk of attention. Their name appeared on the yellow shirts of Colchester United during their away fifth round tie against Premiership champions Chelsea, in February.

As well as being played out in front of more than 40,000 fans, the “David and Goliath” clash was screened to millions more on SkySports.

Bradley Chapman, commercial director for 118trades.com, whose head office is in Chelmsford, said: “This massive publicity for 118trades.com could be seen across Britain and as one of the largest televised games this season was great exposure for both the brand and our advertisers.”

Jason Berry, sales and marketing manager of Colchester United, said the club are currently looking for new shirt sponsors for the 2006-7 season.

“It has been a phenomenal year for us, arguably the best in the club's history,” he said.

“And it has been an excellent year for all the club's sponsors and advertisers. We're having a lot of positive inquiries regarding shirt sponsorship.

“If we do get in the Championship, we will be guaranteed at least one televised game and would be able to attract larger companies to sponsor us.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring the U's should call 01206 715306 or e-mail commercial@colchesterunited.net

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