Colchester United Owner and Chairman Robbie Cowling has made the following statement.
I hope everyone is well and doing their bit to beat the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s a battle in which every one of us have to play our part to win so please keep asking yourself if you can be doing any more. Even if doing more means doing less and staying indoors.
We were scheduled to play our last game of the season on Saturday against Forest Green Rovers and at this time of the year, the papers are normally full of football stories regarding the teams that already know their fate.
Sadly, we will have to wait a bit longer because we must be patient until it’s safe and clearly that is not where we are at right now.
It would appear that in the absence of much better testing and a vaccine that we will be fighting this virus for the foreseeable future.
However, I would like to reassure everyone that it is the overwhelming opinion of the majority of clubs in the EFL that we all want to complete this season before we start a new season.
With no actual football to report on, the media is full of opinions and rumours.
I appreciate that the newspapers, TV and radio have to keep filling their pages and their programmes with stories but you would think they would have even more time on their hands to verify their stories before they publish them.
For example, the story this week that League Two were voting on whether to finish the season was complete fake news.
What is happening during this time is that League Two owners and directors are having a weekly video conference during which we receive updates from the league and have an opportunity to discuss issues and what their potential solutions might be.
These meeting are extremely helpful because although we compete with all of the other clubs in League Two, we are all trying to help one and other and to work as a collective.
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.
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.
Luke Prosser, Frank Nouble, Ryan Jackson and Brandon Comley are the most notable players that this has affected and I have nothing but good things to say about all of them.
I would have no hesitation in reversing the decision if there were to be a dramatic change of circumstances.
And finally, I would like to thank all of the fantastic key workers. Our community section, which is led by Corin Haines, is doing what it can to be a part of the solution and is being supported by some amazing volunteers.
We’re certainly discovering some extraordinary people in the extraordinary times.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all.