Groundshare rumour quashed by U's

COLCHESTER United last night quashed rumours that they will seek to ground share with Ipswich if they win promotion to the Championship next season.The League One leaders instead insisted they will stay put at Layer Road until their proposed new stadium, on the Cuckoo Farm site to the north of the town, has been completed.

By Mel Henderson

COLCHESTER United last night quashed rumours that they will seek to ground share with Ipswich if they win promotion to the Championship next season.

The League One leaders instead insisted they will stay put at Layer Road until their proposed new stadium, on the Cuckoo Farm site to the north of the town, has been completed.

A spokesman said: “There are no plans, nor have there ever been any, to approach Ipswich Town with a view to sharing their stadium.


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“In the event of us being promoted, which is obviously still a long way from being decided, we will continue to play at Layer Road.”

It may have appeared to make sense to some observers that, in the event of them reaching English football's second tier for the very first time, the U's should rent Portman Road. But even if it were an option, Colchester probably believe it would not be of sufficient financial benefit to proceed down that route.

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In the event of them being promoted, they will quite happily stage Championship football at their trim Layer Road HQ, where the capacity is just over 6,000.

Such is the rivalry between the two clubs at supporter level that it is doubtful whether switching games to Ipswich would provide as significant a cash boost as people might have imagined.

While Colchester fans might have resented the fact that a proportion of their admission money was being swallowed up by their hosts, their Ipswich counterparts would in turn be reluctant to back their rivals from across the border.

The more the proposal is considered the more it becomes obvious that it is a non-starter.

Colchester would still have to pay the lease on their existing ground, which is owned by the borough council, and any profit at the turnstiles would be offset by charges incurred in using Portman Road, where Ipswich are also tenants of the local authority.

It is also debatable as to whether The Football League would sanction such a short-term move.

If all goes according to plan, the U's will be on the move to their new home for the start of the 2007-2008 campaign.

Phil Parkinson's team are the country's most in-form team, winning 17 of their last 19 games, and they moved into pole position in League One last week.

Should they win promotion, and Ipswich maintain their current status, it will pave the way for the first league meetings between the clubs for 50 years.

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