Colchester United fans up in arms over Swindon fixture change

Sanchez Watt shooting over the bar whilst slipping at Port Vale last night

Sanchez Watt shooting over the bar whilst slipping at Port Vale last night - Credit: Archant

Some of Colchester United’s most ardent supporters have expressed their anger at the change of fixture date, at such short notice, of the club’s trip to Swindon Town.

After a frustrating wait of 24 days without a match, due to four postponements, the U’s returned to League One action with a 2-0 defeat at Port Vale last night, undone by a brace from Valiants skipper Doug Loft.

Joe Dunne’s men were then due to travel to Swindon this weekend, for another away test on Saturday, only for the Wiltshire trip to be brought forward to Friday evening.

Swindon’s second leg of their Johnstone’s Paint Trophy southern area final, against Peterborough United, is being televised live on Sky TV next Monday evening, so the Robins have been given extra time to prepare by switching their home game against the U’s to a day earlier.

It is a decision that has angered many Colchester supporters, including, Ray Orman of Hadleigh, who e-mailed the East Anglian Daily Times to air his own frustrations, and those of many other fellow U’s fans.

Mr Orman wrote: ‘There are a few of us quite upset at the moment. How can Swindon be allowed to move this fixture to Friday at such short notice?

‘There is a fair group of Col U fans who travel to away games on Advance rail tickets. These are now completely worthless and not refundable. The only way we can go on Friday now is at full fare.”

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Another U’s fan, Robert Searle of Hockley, said: “I have purchased £25 worth of advanced train tickets, which I will now need to bin as they have no refund value.

“Re-scheduling it for Valentine’s night seems like commercial suicide.”

Other U’s fans took to Twitter to vent their anger. Here is a selection:

‘This is just disgraceful. Plenty of people have bought rail tickets. Live on Sky is no valid enough reason’ – @nathanTansley

‘It’s mighty inconsiderate by Swindon but is also a travesty Colchester accepted the request to move it’ – @AlexBallsy1

‘Can’t believe Colchester have agreed 4 Swindon 2 bring 4ward game to Friday, at short notice. No consideration 4 our fans, and now my 12-year-old can’t go’ – @wrightie28

‘Joke changing a fixture with only a week’s notice. Who’s going to pay fans’ expenses to change tickets etc?’ – @RickGoldsbrough

In the U’s defence, the Essex club released a statement explaining they had only “reluctantly” agreed to the fixture move.

Here is the statement, issued by U’s media manager Matt Hudson, who is also the Supporters’ Liaison Officer.

“We were contacted on the Friday morning regarding the change, following the news that the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy games were to be played on the Monday.

“We responded that we were reluctant to move the game, particularly in light of playing Port Vale on Tuesday night, three days before.

“However, further discussions followed and it was decided that the fixture switch would take place.

“As always, we are very appreciative of our fans’ support in following the team around the country and they are an important part of our match-days on the road.”

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