Dunne blasts the ‘barriers’ put up to hinder the U’s

Joe Dunne

Joe Dunne - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Blax Images

Joe Dunne has expressed his utter frustration that “barriers” are continually being put up to hinder the progress of his beloved Colchester United.

The Essex club have had to overcome a succession of hurdles, in recent years, before eventually moving to a new ground and also a new training headquarters at Florence Park, Tiptree.

But U’s boss Dunne is annoyed that the barriers keep being raised, the latest the huge blow about failing to get Category Two status for the club’s blossoming Academy.

The Dubliner is confident that the U’s will surmount this latest barrier, although the lack of Category Two status will surely have a detrimental effect on the Academy, not least the problem of no longer being in a structured under-21 league.

“From a personal point of view, it’s deeply disappointing,” confessed Dunne during yesterday’s press conference, ahead of the weekend trip to Sheffield United.


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“In terms of a nation, we continue to bang on about the lack of quality (young players) coming through.

“With a club like ours, the size of ours, the chairman and the staff have all worked extremely hard, and yet once again barriers have been put up.

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“These barriers constantly appear to have been put up against us, for some reason.

“I’ve been here 17 years, and every step forward we take we encounter barriers – whether it’s problems with the training ground, problems with the stadium, problems with crowds, or problems with car parking.

“There always seems to be barriers put up to stop us progressing, which makes us even more determined.

“I think some people have agendas with this club that I don’t understand, because if it was any other club in any other town, there would be a lot more constructive support for the group.

“I don’t believe there is enough being done to allow us to succeed, not just as a football club, but as a town.

“We represent the town, and the county of Essex, and there are not many clubs in our county.

“We are all trying to go in the right direction, for the club and for the whole town and county. We want to be a part of the town’s heritage, and we will do that whether we are a Category One, Two, Three or Z status!

“Whatever barrier people keep putting up, we will try and smash it down and move onto the next barrier, because someone will always find something!” added Dunne.

News of the U’s failure to be granted Category Two status, in the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), was confirmed last weekend, ironically at the same time as the club moved into fourth in League One with a 1-0 win over Port Vale.

Dunne remains positive for the future, in terms of continuing to bring through young players to the senior set-up, but chairman and owner Robbie Cowling’s resolve is really being put to the test.

The U’s have a fantastic academy in place, and have had considerable success in bringing through home-grown talent over the last couple of seasons, including the likes of Drey Wright and Alex Gilbey.

However, the U’s fell an agonising 3% short of reaching the 65% necessary for Academy Two status, at the first independent audit of the various academies.

“It’s a blow in terms of the games programme (arranging regular fixtures), but everything else remains the same,” insisted Dunne

“We continue to operate as if we were a Category Two. The chairman has already stated that nothing changes. The staff will stay in place and we will continue the good work with the young players that we’ve got.

“The slight difference is that we don’t enter into an under-21 league.”

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