Colchester United will bounce back stronger, says owner Robbie Cowling as the Essex club are relegated to League Two

Colchester fans share Joe Edwards' amazement at the red card shown by referee Mark Heywood

Colchester fans share Joe Edwards' amazement at the red card shown by referee Mark Heywood - Credit: James Ager

Colchester United have ‘failed’ this season according to their owner who spoke out as they were relegated this weekend, while near neighbours Braintree Town look set to reach the National League play-offs.

Colchester debutant Louis Dunne in action

Colchester debutant Louis Dunne in action - Credit: James Ager

The U’s owner and chairman, Robbie Cowling, has shouldered the responsibility for the Essex club’s relegation into League Two.

Colchester were officially relegated into the fourth tier with two games of the season remaining following Saturday’s 3-0 home defeat to Burton Albion.

But Cowling also insisted that he felt “proud” of what the U’s had achieved over the last 10 years, since he took over the running of the club from former chairman Peter Heard.

The club’s relegation came on a weekend of contrasting fortunes for near neighbours Braintree Town.

The semi-professional side won a key game away at Wrexham to leave them needing just one point to secure a spot in the National League play-offs. Winning the play-offs would see them promoted to League Two – and set-up a derby showdown with The U’s.

The U’s have suffered two relegations over those last 10 years, from the Championship in 2008 and now from League One this year, to finish up back in the fourth tier for the first time in 18 years.

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Yet Cowling insisted: “I think it’s a great achievement of the club that we haven’t been there (fourth tier) for so long.

“I’m really quite proud of that.

“I do think the club punches above its weight, even in League One, and I’m really proud that in my 10 years we have been able to punch above our weight.

“Next year we’ll have to punch in our own division, and see how we do then.”

Speaking on Saturday, he added: “Of course it’s not a nice feeling to be relegated. Nobody likes failure, and that is what it is today. We have failed as a club today, so we are getting relegated.

“For whatever reason, we have a good squad of individual players, but they haven’t gelled as a team at all times this season.

“I’m not going to blame anyone else. I must look at what I can do, as chairman, to be better and improve, and looks at the things I have got to learn from,” added Cowling.

In terms of the future, Cowling said: “If you get knocked down, then you get up.

“But you want to get up stronger, you just don’t want to get up, and that’s what we must do as a club.”

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