Coggeshall Town have the X Factor says popstar player Olly Murs

Olly Murs and Coggeshall Town FC. Photo: Paul Hammond

Olly Murs and Coggeshall Town FC. Photo: Paul Hammond - Credit: Archant

X Factor star Olly Murs will line up against Ipswich Town tonight for his team Coggeshall. Wayne Savage spoke to him.

Olly Murs, Coggeshall Town FC manager Graeme Smith and assistant John Pollard. Photo: Paul Hammond

Olly Murs, Coggeshall Town FC manager Graeme Smith and assistant John Pollard. Photo: Paul Hammond - Credit: Archant

They may have small crowds turn out to see them each week, but Coggeshall Town Football Club’s dreams are big says X Factor star Olly Murs.

“I feel we’re the most exciting team in terms of non-league. Obviously in the professional league (you’ve got) Colchester United and Ipswich Town... But in East Anglia, for an up-and-coming team in Essex with myself and my profile, with (chairman and first team manager) Graeme’s (Smith) money and my uncle (John Pollard) the assistant I think we’ve got a fantastic back room,” adds the singer.

Murs, who played for Witham Town Football Club until an injury ended his sporting career early, signed on with Coggeshall to get match fit for this year’s Soccer Aid. He turns out as often as he can for the team, who this year won not only the Essex and Suffolk Border League Cup but also promotion to Division One of the Eastern Counties League.

“It’s exciting. The players are excited, we’ve got a great little ground; we’re building on that all the time. We’ve got floodlights going in this week… We’ve got the big game against Ipswich coming up on July 22 which I really want people to come down and support.”

Olly Murs playing for Coggeshall Town FC. Photo: Paul Hammond

Olly Murs playing for Coggeshall Town FC. Photo: Paul Hammond - Credit: Archant

Tickets are still on sale for the match which will feature Murs in the Coggeshall line-up.

The highlight of the club’s pre-season schedule, it’ll see a strong team of current and ex-Blues stars heading to West Street. The home side will no doubt be confident after their recent win against a similar Colchester United contingent.

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“It’s local football; you know? It doesn’t get better than that, you’re going to see it raw,” smiles the sometime TV presenter, who visited Ipswich last week to promote new single You Don’t Know Love.

“You’re going to see a few Ipswich greats, you’re going to get a few local boys and, you know, the money’s going to really help the club with all its goals. We’ve already sold just over 500 tickets.

Olly Murs and Coggeshall Town Football Club. Photo: Paul Hammond

Olly Murs and Coggeshall Town Football Club. Photo: Paul Hammond - Credit: Archant

“It sounds really small but for a club like Coggeshall... We probably get 20 people turn up to a game so 500 tickets for us is insane. We’ve projected it looks like we might get to 1,000 which would just be ridiculous.

“So 1,000 people coming down to watch would just be amazing and as a club we’ve put a lot of effort into making sure it’s a fantastic night.”

Usually playing across the midfield - anywhere really “they can fit” him in he grins – Murs hopes to net a few goals on the night.

“Me trying to score, that’s the problem,” he laughs.

“Obviously I’ll try my best but for me the most important thing is Coggeshall Town progressing. We’re in the Thurlow Nunn League at the moment... We’re four divisions away from South Conference which is an amazing achievement.

“In the next couple of years we really want to make a stamp and try to win these two divisions back to back and try to get into the Ryman League - that’ll be the goal.”

Back focusing on his music career after a stint hosting ITV1’s X Factor, Murs finds it difficult to play as often as he’d like.

“I won’t be able to get down as much because obviously I’ve got loads of promotion to do and the single’s out but I love it because, for me, it gets me out of the industry, it gets me out of this bubble that’s kind of created for you.

“I can just sit back and enjoy the banter with the lads; which is why I started doing this when I was a kid. The banter in the dressing room, the laughs, the jokes; the team are great, everyone has a laugh. It’s a real special team and I hope in the next seven or eights years we can get into the South Conference.”

A big Manchester United fan, he hopes new manager Jose Mourinho - who controversially replaced Louis van Gaal in May - will do well.

“I was watching some videos of him taking a few sessions and I don’t know; you can just feel like the players have got big smiles on their faces. You can see them giggling and it already seems to be a bit more of an up feeling.

“When I looked at van Gaal’s training sessions - it sounds stupid because I’m not studying them - everyone was a bit ‘oh boring’. Everyone looked like ‘you can’t say anything in case we get told off’.

“Whereas the one thing I found out when I met Mourinho is that he has a great personality, he wants the players to work and train hard but at the same time wants them to have that freedom of being able to play and express themselves; it’s amazing.

“I really hope he does well. Hopefully he’ll bring in a couple more players but, yeah, I think it’ll be a good season.”

Click here for my full interview with Murs, including the sad story behind his new single why he won’t miss The X Factor; fan photos and video of his visit.