‘Next one or two seasons are vital’ for the U’s - John Ward

COLCHESTER United boss John Ward insists that the next two seasons are vital to the Essex club’s long term future.

The U’s are set for another top-half-of-the-table finish in League One this season, with just two games remaining. They entertain Tranmere on Saturday in their last home game.

But Ward is looking more long-term, and is keen for the U’s to adapt to the changes about to be implemented by the Football League.

From next season, League One clubs will only be able to spend 65% of their income on players’ salaries, and that figure will drop to just 60% in 2013-14.

Furthermore, the loan system is also set to be completely overhauled in two seasons time, with the end of emergency loans, which are currently permitted outside the two main transfers windows of the summer and January.

Ward wants the U’s to embrace these changes and move forward, even though the budget for players is being tightened. The new training ground, at Tiptree, and the blossoming U’s Academy will hopefully aid the club’s long-term future.

Ward said: “Colchester United’s next five or 10 years, depends on the next one or two.

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“Robbie (Cowling) has got the vision to see it and do it, with the new training ground.

“Long-term, this place (Community Stadium) has to have football every other Saturday to put Colchester on the map.

“We’ve got to keep this thing afloat, and keep this club alive,

“Robbie wants to do it, I want to do it, and the players are aware of it and want to do it. They are in full knowledge of all this.

“In January I got themselves (the players) prepared by saying that I am going to be making offers to you that means you are going to be earning less than you are on now, so do you want to do it?

“Players have been positive to it, though initially they said “wow.”

“Offers were made in February, but I told them that I would be coming back to them before the end of the season.

“I said – ‘if you want to sit on it until the end of June, then you run the risk of me signing someone else’ – I won’t be sitting here with seven players, because I want my squad pretty close, and the loans will still be available to me.

“I have every right to withdraw that offer.

“The players have been great because they have been kept fully informed. It’s not negotiable. Footballers are learning to be more adaptable,” added Ward.

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