Date:Wednesday May 23 2007
Colchester United were presented with a Pride of East Anglia Trophy this week, having enjoyed the highest league finish of any club within the region, in the Championship, during 2006/7. Higher than Southend, Norwich City, or Ipswich Town; the highest position, in fact, ever in their history.
Here, vital Colchester examines the season when Essex excelled and football overtook the women on people`s priority list, with the help of some quotes from an article that appeared in the club`s Matchday Magazine just before the end of the season …
Re-wind a year, and you`ll have found Colchester United celebrating promotion from League One after a draw at Yeovil on the least day of the 2005/6 season; having been favourites to go down, the club surprised the footballing fraternity.
Today, having narrowly missed out on the Premiership play-off places, their achievements, although amazing simply typify a great season for the whole Essex county.
Southend, despite their relegation,defeated giants Manchester United in this season`s League Cup, while going to Cardiff`s Millennium Stadium after back-to-back promotions from 2004 - 2006.
Further down the footballing pyramid, Dagenham & Redbridge won the Conference title to make them the third Essex club to gain league status.
Speaking about the achievements of a county that is often discredited in the national media, the Essex County FA Chief Executive told Colchester United`s matchday magazine last month: "It has been a very pleasing period of success for the county.
"From Colchester`s point of view, it has been a remarkable season. They were favourites to go back down.
"Southend have found things a little more difficult and obviously we would have preferred both clubs challenging at the right end of the table, rather than one up the top and one down at the bottom.
"With Dagenham, we have been delighted to see them make the Football League - they have done fantastically well
As media manager Matt Huson wrote in the original article in April, one of the most pleasing aspects of the success for the U`s in particular has been that youngsters hooked on supporting Colchester, wearing their shirts with pride.
Phil agreed. "The success of the men`s team encourages kids to get involved, and it brings football to the attention of the local communities. That gives some of the decision-markers in local authority an incentive to drive the footballing agenda."
This has meant both Southend and Colchester playing their way toward recognition and respective new grounds. While The U`s will be ready for the start of the 2008 - 2009 season, it seems Southend`s will have to wait a full year longer.
"It will be great to see both our senior clubs progressing upwards and onwards with new facilities, Phil added.
"It will bring more community use to the stadiums for teams and organisers in the area. That can only be a good thing.
He went on to say that United`s Community Stadium will present a fantastic opportunity for progression, because Layer Road must be closed currently after matchdays due to a convent with the local council.
"The level of involvement a grassroots level can show that there is a demand for these sort of projects. It is an interesting time for everyone concerned; long may the current success continue."
Words: Vital Colchester
Quotations kindly supplied by permission of Colchester United`s media department
Date:Wednesday May 23 2007
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