Colchester's joy is Luton's fury

COLCHESTER United spent more money in the transfer market than ever before on a frenzied few hours of transfer activity at Layer Road yesterday.U's boss Geraint Williams, after at least one failed bid, finally got his man when tempting defender Chris Coyne away from financially troubled Luton Town for a club record £350,000 fee.

COLCHESTER United spent more money in the transfer market than ever before on a frenzied few hours of transfer activity at Layer Road yesterday.

U's boss Geraint Williams, after at least one failed bid, finally got his man when tempting defender Chris Coyne away from financially troubled Luton Town for a club record £350,000 fee.

The Essex club lodged a bid of £300,000 for Australian-born defender Coyne last week. That offer was dismissed, but the new improved package was sufficient to persuade Luton's Town's administrators to accept the deal, with Coyne putting pen to paper yesterday afternoon.

Ipswich Town had been among several other clubs expressing an interest in signing the ex-West Ham defender. Town had made an enquiry, but did not make a firm offer.


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And there was a further boost for the U's, who are currently sitting second-from-bottom in the Championship, when Tottenham full-back Phil Ifil also completed a move to Layer Road.

Highly-rated 21-year-old Ifil, who made five senior appearances for Spurs and has also had a couple of loan spells with Millwall, has signed a deal that could even eclipse Coyne's £350,000 package.

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Ifil had spent the previous three months on loan at Championship rivals Southampton, and the Saints were believed to be interested in signing him on a permanent basis.

Williams said last night: “It is the whole team, rather than just the defence, that has been conceding so many goals this season. Chris (Coyne) offers us more options at the back, and I'm delighted to have signed him.

“Other clubs were interested in signing him, so we had to be quiet in going about our business. We wanted to do things properly with regards Luton Town.

“It's great news that Chris has chosen to sign for Colchester. The chairman (Robbie Cowling) has worked hard to complete this deal, and that of Phil (Ifil),” added Williams.

Luton were not happy with Coyne's departure, and their assistant manager, Sam Ellis, was quick to stress the club's anguish at losing their club skipper, and also team-mate David Edwards to Wolves, during what was a frustrating day.

They had hoped to cling onto their star players, at least until after the FA Cup third round replay at Liverpool next Tuesday evening.

Ellis criticised both the administrators and the football agency, WMG, who had been recruited by the administrators to supervise the transfer dealings at the League One strugglers.

Assistant boss Ellis told his local Luton newspaper: “On Tuesday afternoon we came out of a meeting feeling we had a week's grace, and things would go on after the 15th.

“We didn't know that he (administrator Brendan Guilfoyle) was going to sell then. I do know the administrator was put under pressure by the agency he has brought in. We feel they pushed him into a corner by saying deals in football from one week to the next can fall down.”

“We feel they've (Coyne and Edwards) gone far way under their market value. We feel there's been no auction. We just feel they've accepted whatever bids have come in.”

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