The boys from Essex – Colchester United – are next to go under our preview microscope.
Nickname: The U’s
Club Colours: Blue & White
Who are they?
Formed in 1937, Colchester joined the Southern Football League before being elected to the Foot-ball League in 1950.
They spent a great deal of the 1960s, 70s and 80s bouncing between the Third and Fourth Divisions, while they also memorably reached the FA Cup quarter-finals in 1971. The U’s knocked out Leeds United before Everton eventually bested them in the last eight.
Disappointing performances in the late 1980s saw Colchester fall into the Conference, but promotion back to the Football League was achieved in 1992. The U’s climbed up as the Championship, which they reached in 2006, but were relegated back into League One after two seasons. After battling relegation from the third tier for several years, Colchester eventually fell back into League Two in 2016.
Did You Know?
+ The U’s originally formed because Colchester’s existing team, Colchester Town, were reluctant to turn professional. Colchester United then stepped in as a professional outfit.
+ Colchester were named as the ‘Pride of Anglia’ in 2006/07 when they finished above local rivals Norwich and Ipswich in the Championship.
+ Fans voted for a club ‘Cult Hero’ in 2004, with ex-Newcastle man Lomana Lua Lua coming out on top.
How did they get on last season?
It was a positive season for the U’s, who only narrowly missed out on the play-offs after a fine sea-son. Colchester ended the season in eighth place, only one position and one point off the play-off places.
Who’s in charge?
John McGreal took his first steps into management with the U’s after he took over the reigns at the Weston Homes Community Stadium in 2016. McGreal had previously coached in the Colchester academy, even managing the U21 side after he ended a playing career which spanned over 17 years.
After the departure of Kevin Keen, McGreal was handed the top job having previously been care-taker manager at the club.
How has their summer transfer business looked?
It’s been a quiet summer at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, with only two outgoings and three new players coming through the door.
Experienced striker Chris Porter departed for Crewe with Richard Brindley moving to divisional rivals Barnet, while McGreal was able to bring in defender Ryan Jackson from Gillingham alongside former Watford stopper Rene Gilmartin and Barnsley’s Cole Kpekawa.
They’ve Played For Both
Wide man Simon Hackney entered the world of professional football with the Cumbrians before moving on to Colchester United. Hackney was snapped up by Paul Simpson in 2005 and went on to make 117 appearances at Brunton Park, which also saw him earn a League Two winners’ medal. He chose to make the move to Colchester in 2009, and played 31 times for the U’s during a two-year spell.
Memorable Meeting - Carlisle 0-0 Colchester (20 April 1997)
It couldn’t have been anything else! United lifted the Auto Windscreens Shield courtesy of a penal-ty shootout victory over Colchester. After 120 minutes couldn’t find a winner, the Blues triumphed 4-3 on penalties with Tony Caig saving from Karl Duguid and Peter Cawley to secure the trophy.
When Did We Last Meet?
Our last meeting came in January 2017, with the U’s victorious. Chris Porter handed Colchester the lead with Shaun Brisley levelling things up for United. But a hat-trick from Kurtis Guthrie saw Colchester claim victory.
The Cumbrians ran out victorious earlier in the season, when goals from Jason Kennedy and Jabo Ibehre secured a 2-0 win at Brunton Park.
See below for highlights from that game:
When Do We Meet?
We make the trip to the Weston Homes Community Stadium on 14 October before Colchester visit Brunton Park on 10 February.