U’s chief Cowling reveals the harsh reality of COVID crisis

Brian Jeeves
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COLCHESTER UNITED CHAIRMAN, Robbie Cowling, has revealed the harsh financial reality brought upon the club by the COVID-19 pandemic, confirming that four of the club’s senior player’s are amongst a number who will not be retained as the North Essex outfit look to balance the books.

Skipper Luke Prosser, along with Frank Nouble, Ryan Jackson and Brandon Comley – all out of contract at the end of the current campaign – will not be offered new deals, although Cowling insisted he would be happy reverse the decision should there be a dramatic change of circumstances.

In a statement posted on www.cu-fc.com, the U’s Chairman explained: “I’m not going to sugar coat how difficult things are for Colchester United. Things were not easy beforehand when the club relied on financial support from my other businesses.

“Obviously, things recently got much more difficult and not just for the club but also for my other businesses that normally support it.

I’m confident that Colchester United will get through this crisis, but we will do so because we are part of a football family that is pulling together.

“The club has a proud record of always paying its players in full and on time. We achieve this because I will never sign a contract if I can’t commit to fulfilling it.”

Cowling continued: “I just won’t gamble with other people’s livelihoods or with the club.

“It is for that reason that I have had to take the very difficult decision of not re-signing a number of players that under normal circumstances I would have been determined to re-sign.

“I appreciate the decision will make the team less capable when the season does resume but it is very unlikely that we will be the only club to take such a step.

“We will certainly remain competitive as unlike so many other clubs we have a very capable group of Academy players that are ready to step up.

“I could have delayed the decision and hoped for a dramatic change of events but that would have been unfair.

“I wanted to make the decision as early as I could to give those players that are being released a head start in what will be a very difficult environment for out of contract players.

“They find themselves in this difficult situation through no fault of their own and I wish every one of them well.”

Colchester United currently occupy a Sky Bet League Two play-off place and under normal circumstances would have been facing Forest Green Rovers in their final game of the season this weekend. Earlier in the campaign, the U’s reached the quarter-final stage of the Carabao Cup, overcoming Premier League sides, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur before going down by three goals to nil against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk