Cowling hopes crowds will improve

COLCHESTER United chairman and owner Robbie Cowling hopes that John Ward’s entertaining brand of football will help increase attendances at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this season.

COLCHESTER United chairman and owner Robbie Cowling hopes that John Ward’s entertaining brand of football will help increase attendances at the Weston Homes Community Stadium this season.

Despite recording an impressive 15 home wins last season, the U’s were 17th in the League One attendances table with an average crowd of 5,529.

The result was that the 10,000 capacity stadium often looked sparsely populated, while well-supported teams such as Leeds and Millwall were given the advantage of significantly extended allocation.

Cowling – who has recently appointed himself executive chairman in order to have more of a day-to-day involvement this season – has therefore made it his one of his priorities this summer to improve attendances.


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A voucher book scheme including hundreds of pounds of discounts has been introduced as an incentive for those buying season tickets, a new junction is being built on the A12 to improve access to and from the stadium, while the pitch has also been relaid.

The biggest factor, however, may well be the style of football on offer, with new boss Ward hired on the basis that he would bring a more entertaining brand of the game to the Essex club than his predecessor Aidy Boothroyd.

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“One of the things we talked about was John’s philosophy about the game,” admitted Cowling, who has slightly increased ticket prices for those buying on the day.

“I know from speaking to fans last season that they wanted us to play a more attractive game of football and I was keen to appoint a manager who shared the same ethos as them.

“Everyone thought John was a safe, easy or cheap option, but I said it at the time and I’ll say it again now – he was the best man available for the job.

“Season ticket sales are 10% up on last season so we hope we can slowly improve on the attendances of last season.”

– For live updates from Colchester United v Sheffield Wednesday, follow Stuart_Watson at www.twitter.com.

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