U's ready for historic season
COME on you U's!That is the message from the thousands of Colchester Utd supporters on the day the club kicks off for the biggest season in its history.
COME on you U's!
That is the message from the thousands of Colchester Utd supporters on the day the club kicks off for the biggest season in its history.
And as new boss Geraint Williams and the boys prepare for a trip to Birmingham and the first Championship game, Colchester is set to cash in on the club's newfound status.
With five times as many away fans set to visit on match days, pubs, restaurants, hotels and shops will all be reaping the rewards.
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And while the bookies make the U's odds-on to be relegated, fans will be hoping for a repeat of some of last season's heroics.
Matt Hudson, media manager at Colchester Utd, said everyone at the club was buzzing as the new chapter begins.
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He said: “We have never played at this level before - everything we do is a new adventure.
“If you spoke to fans when we were relegated to the conference in 1999 and said this is where we would be playing football now, you would have been locked up.
“The atmosphere is starting to crank up - today's game would have been one of the biggest fixtures last season, but now it will be happening week-in, week-out.”
It is the first time the U's have ever played in the second league of English football and season ticket sales have shot up 100% to 3,300.
Kim Salmon, general manager at the Colchester chamber of commerce, said: “I just think Colchester Utd is just a shining example for the town.
“People will hopefully come to games and also see it is a great place to visit for holidays and then go out to see the lovely countryside at places such as Dedham and the wonderful coastline.”
She said it was hard to project a figure for how much would be spent, but said businesses could not fail to benefit in the coming months.
Robert Davidson, leader of Colchester Borough Council, said he hoped to see last season's success continue.
“The feelgood factor we experienced during the promotion chase was terrific and it obviously put Colchester on the map.
“I wish them all the very best for the season, it will be a tremendous challenge but, as they showed when they played Chelsea, if they are not scared to have a go they will do well and I think it's a great attribute not to have any fear.
“We will welcome visitors to Colchester from the other 20 towns and cities around the country.
Richard Gower, town mayor, said: “I do wish them well and as much success as they had last year.
“It has been really good for the town, the team and the fans and more strength to them.”