Cowling wishes he could make ‘things happen quicker’

ROBBIE Cowling, who recently celebrated his fifth anniversary as owner of Colchester United, has admitted that he thought he could “make things happen quicker” at the Essex club.

ROBBIE Cowling, who recently celebrated his fifth anniversary as owner of Colchester United, has admitted that he thought he could “make things happen quicker” at the Essex club.

After two seasons in the Championship, between 2006 and ’08, the U’s have become an established League One club, but without a huge fan-base.

Falling attendances have hampered the U’s, in terms of generating income, but these poor gates have not deterred an ambitious Cowling.

Reassuringly, for U’s fans, Cowling has also reiterated his pledge to stay with the U’s for the long-term, rather than up sticks and leave the historic club in a financial mess.

You may also want to watch:

“When you look at clubs that punch above their weight – and we were probably punching two divisions about our weight in the Championship – what tends to happen is that when clubs go down, they go much further down,” explained Cowling.

“So if you look at the example of Plymouth now (two successive relegations), clubs tend to fall.

Most Read

“We haven’t fallen too far. We have just fallen into the top half of League One, which is better than our history suggests.

“I feel we are doing a lot of things right, but of course I am also impatient. I felt when I came in, I could make things happen quicker.

“But the lesson I’ve learnt is that change does take time,” added Cowling.

Cowling completed his take-over of Colchester in September, 2006, after buying out then-chairman Peter Heard’s controlling interest in the Essex outfit. He has since kept the U’s on an even-keel by ploughing in large sums of his own money, from a fortune built up from the success of his on-line recruitment firm JobServe.

The U’s were relegated from the Championship after their second season in 2008, frustratingly a matter of just a few months before they moved to their long-awaited new ground at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

United’s return to League One, playing against clubs with a generally smaller fan-base than Championship giants such as Leicester, Derby, Leeds and Ipswich, could not have come at a worse time. Attendances suffered during the early days in the new stadium, and the U’s have never really come close to averaging the 6-7,000 crowds that were initially targeted.

However, Cowling remains just as determined as he did five years ago, to make it work.

“One of the things I enjoy about being chairman of Colchester United is that it is a massive, massive challenge,” continued Cowling.

“And it’s for me to meet that challenge.

“What gets me at the moment is that there is some frustration around, and there are a lot of negatives, and I don’t understand it because for me at the moment the club is in the best state its ever been in, since I been here.

“We may not be in the Championship yet, and we are not riding high in the league at the moment, but there are so many things that are right about the club, that we have corrected.

“I think what most fans want is a club that is going to be around in 10, 20, 30, 100 years to carry on supporting, and that’s the work that is going on at the moment.

“There are times I think that it is not working, but that is my responsibility.

“I’ve said all along that I would never leave Colchester in a worse position than I found it in.

“If I was to walk away now, it would be in all sorts of a mess.

“There are a lot of good things on the horizon, and I am here to see them through and make them work.

“I don’t think I can rely on us getting 10,000 crowds, so I have got to find another way of doing it, but I am here for the long-term,” added Cowling.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter