Colchester still have high aims

COLCHESTER United are aiming to be a “sustainable Championship club” within five years, despite yesterday's announcement of cutbacks at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Carl Marston

Colchester soccer

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United are aiming to be a “sustainable Championship club” within five years, despite yesterday's announcement of cutbacks at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.


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Chief Executive Steve Bradshaw believes that the U's can be on a level-footing with Championship clubs, as well as hopefully playing at that level, by 2014.

They are the long-term goals, although some tough measures have had to be made in the short-term, including the two-pronged decision to shut down the scouting department, and to scale down the youth set-up.

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“I can see that people might be getting a mixed message, with our continued activities in the transfer market, while at the same time announcing these measures,” explained Bradshaw last night.

“But we are not pulling the wool over people's eyes. At the moment we have a one-off opportunity to get promoted to the Championship, via the play-offs, within the next four months.

“That's a short term thing, while at the same time we have to reinvest in the long-term development of the club, like the youth team.

“We are looking to make Colchester United a sustainable Championship club by 2014, by which I mean a Championship club in every respect, competing on a level footing with other Championship clubs.

“That is the balance between the short term and the long term. The most tangible opportunity to achieve this is the new training ground, which this club has never had.

“Hopefully, our aspiration is for the training pitches to be ready for pre-season (at the new site in Tiptree). We might have to do this in two stages, with the pitches first and then the buildings later,” added Bradshaw.

U's chairman and owner, Robbie Cowling, has not been slow in backing his manager (firstly Geraint Williams and now Paul Lambert) in the transfer market.

The club's record transfer fee has been repeatedly broken over the last couple of years, following the arrival of such players as Clive Platt (�300,000), Chris Coyne (�350,000) and Steve Gillespie (�400,000).

And during this month's transfer window, the U's have bought left-back Marc Tierney (from Shrewsbury) and winger Simon Hackney (for a six-figure fee from Carlisle), as well as lodging similar-sized bids for defenders, including Hibernian's Rob Jones (�200,0000 bid turned down on Tuesday).

But while there is money available to buy new players, especially with the U's current surge up the table towards the play-offs, cut-backs have had to be made behind the scenes.

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