What a signing for U's

THE dream has become reality. Teddy Sheringham will be wearing the blue-and-white of Colchester United next season!Former England star Sheringham has signed a one-year deal, as a player, and will report for pre-season training with his new team-mates on Monday.

THE dream has become reality. Teddy Sheringham will be wearing the blue-and-white of Colchester United next season!

Former England star Sheringham has signed a one-year deal, as a player, and will report for pre-season training with his new team-mates on Monday.

It is a fantastic coup for a club like Colchester, who have the smallest crowds in the Championship, to secure the services of such a high-profile player. There should certainly be an extra buzz around Layer Road over the next few months.

Sheringham was introduced to a media scrum yesterday afternoon - undoubtedly the best-attended press conference in the club's history, at least in July!


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The 41-year-old insisted that “age is no barrier,” and that he is looking forward to making a big impact at his new club.

“I still feel like I have something to offer. I want to play football and still have a burning ambition,” said Sheringham, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

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“I spoke to Geraint Williams a couple of weeks ago, and I was very impressed with his plans for the club, and what he knew about me as a player. I also liked the way that he plans to use me during the season.

“I also won't have to move, which was a big factor in my decision. I can stay living where I am, and now I'm looking forward to having a good season with Colchester.

“I did have one or two offers elsewhere, but officially only in this country. I'm here just as a player, that's all that was talked about. I just want to play for as long as I can.”

Sheringham began his career at Millwall 25 years ago, since when he has commanded big-money moves to Nottingham Forest (£2m in 1991), Tottenham (£2.1m in 1992) and Manchester United (£3.5m in 1997).

Having graced many of the world's biggest stadiums, Sheringham is not fazed about his new home ground of Layer Road, which has a capacity of just over 6,000 - the U's are set to move to their 10,000 all-seater Community Stadium for the start of the 2008-09 campaign.

“I was very impressed with Colchester last season, when there were a lot of people tipping them to go down. It was a great accomplishment for them to finish so high in the division (10th),” continued Sheringham.

“I saw them play once or twice, and the success they achieved, and the sort of football that they played, was a big factor in my decision to come here. You could say that my career has gone full circle, but it's definitely not a come-down for me to be at Layer Road. Throughout my career I've played at some of the biggest stadiums, and also many of the smaller ones.

“I played here a couple of years ago, for Karl Duguid's testimonial, and ironically Karl was the first person I bumped into today.

“My first aim is to get into the first team and stay there. I might not be playing 90 minutes for every Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, but I don't see age as a barrier. If you're good enough, then you will be put in the team, regardless of how young or old you are.

“I obviously have many friends who have retired. Some have said that it's the best thing they have done, while others have regretted it.”

Sheringham has had experience of playing in the Championship, helping to guide West Ham into the top flight in 2004-05, although he only started four games for the Hammers last term. It was an unhappy time. I hoped to play more for West Ham last season, but it wasn't to be. I felt a bit left out during the last couple of months, but they did what they had to do to stay up,” admitted Sheringham.

“I feel that I still have a lot to offer, although I'm not going to set any goal-targets. I haven't done that since my days at Millwall, when I set a target and then ended up getting injured for most of the season.”

Sheringham is set to make his U's debut at Sheffield United on the opening day of the season. It promises to be a grand occasion.

carl.marston@archant.co.uk

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