Heath would have been quackers not to sign

COLCHESTER United defender Matt Heath admits he jumped at the chance to sign a new contract at the club because it meant he didn’t have to uproot his pet ducks!

COLCHESTER United defender Matt Heath admits he jumped at the chance to sign a new contract at the club because it meant he didn’t have to uproot his pet ducks!

The 29-year-old centre-back, whose original three-year contract was due to expire this summer, wasted little time in accepting the offer of a one-year extension this week.

And it’s enabled him and his wife to remain in their rural Essex house which is full of pets including tortoises, cats, rabbits and ducks – the latter a subject of much amusement amongst his team-mates.

With his manager John Ward having given the game away, Heath was reluctant to make public the names of his feathered friends but he did make it quite clear he would have been quackers not to have stayed put.


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“We’re out in the sticks a little bit at the minute, but we quite like it!” admitted the always upbeat 6ft 4ins defender.

“I’m very happy and settled in the area so it’s nice for me to be able to stay.

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“There are so many people I know that are struggling to get clubs so for me it wasn’t a hard decision.

“If there’s something on the table it would be a little bit silly to turn your nose up at it.”

Loaned out to Brighton by Paul Lambert in his first full season at the club and to Southend by Aidy Boothroyd during his second, Heath has really thrived in his third campaign in Essex after being handed his chance due to departures and injuries amongst the squad.

“I’ve not always felt wanted by some managers here, but I’ve had a fair crack at it this year and I’ve been pretty happy with how I’ve played,” said the Leicester-born defender, who has been given the captain’s armband whenever Kemi Izzet has not been available.

“As a central defender the more you play and the older you get I think you do find it a little bit easier.

“I think 250-odd games have been a big help to me and I’ve used that to my advantage this season.”

Asked about his decision to keep Heath at the club, Ward said: “Matthew’s got an infectious appetite for the game. He’s still got that junior delight about being a footballer and he loves every day and every minute of it.

“That rubs off on other people.”

And when quizzed about said enthusiasm for the game, Heath – who is taking some financial advisory exams in preparation for life after football – said: “I know I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do what I do.

“It’s not going to last too many more years so you’ve just got to make the most of it and be a bright spark around the place.”

– Colchester v Bristol Rovers preview in tomorrow’s EADT.

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