Colchester United Owner and Chairman Robbie Cowling has issued the following statement.
I hope you are all keeping well and being sensible as restrictions are being eased.
I would like to start this update with the great news that Colchester United are officially in the Play-Offs and our promotion hopes are still very much alive.
Shortly after League Two clubs gave the indicative vote to complete the league on a points per game basis, we joined forces with Exeter, Cheltenham and Northampton to push the EFL for our clubs to play our Play-Off matches in June.
We knew of course that nothing had been finalised, but the chance to get everything wrapped up in June while all the players were still under contract was too good an opportunity to let slip.
It was a bit of a financial gamble because it has meant taking players off furlough and paying for them all to be tested twice a week for covid-19.
Thankfully, the gamble has paid off because the clubs in League Two ratified the decision on Tuesday and we are going to achieve our aim with the final being scheduled for the 29th of June.
As you are aware, I took the early decision to inform those players that are out of contract this summer that the club was not going to be in a position to renew their contracts.
They were also given the choice whether they wanted to take part in the Play-Offs. In normal times, they would be expected to play despite the uncertainty of their futures as they are under contract.
However, these are far from normal times and I would not have had the slightest issue if any of them had decided not to take part.
But these are top pros with a tremendous passion for the game and for our club, and to a man they have all expressed the desire to play and get the job finished.
Sadly, finances have also limited the number we could actually recall so it's only Luke Prosser, Frank Nouble and Ryan Jackson who have actually returned.
Another player recalled is Theo Robinson, who has also returned to finish the job even though he knows his future will lie elsewhere.
I know Southend United are local rivals as far as fans are concerned but we have a very good relationship with them at board level and they have been very supportive regarding Theo's return.
My last word on the Play-offs is that I'm not one of those being tested, so I have to keep away from the training ground. However, I hear that training is going very well.
To their credit, the players came back in great shape and with a brilliant attitude. I know we haven't actually won anything yet but I would like to say well done to everyone at the club for getting us into this position.
It has certainly been a memorable season so far and with a bit more effort, it could become an unforgettable one.
I would also like to thank our season ticket holders for being so patient with the club.
Now that we know for certain that League Two is not being played to its conclusion and we are not going to fulfil the remaining five home games, we also know that we need to arrange refunds for our season tickets holders, annual subscribers and match ticket holders. I would like to ask those of you that are season ticket holders to be a little bit more patient with us.
We still have our ticket office completely closed whilst staff are on furlough leave and the EFL have still not given us a clear indication as to when next season is going to be starting.
Our plan is to offer those of you that are due a refund a number of options, such as using the money towards next year's season ticket, having five match credits, placing the funds onto a Privilege card or simply refunding you the money.
A system to achieve this will take a bit of developing, so if we could be given a bit more time it would be extremely helpful.
I also understand that these are difficult times so if anyone simply wants a full refund and need it ASAP, then please email us at email@example.com and we will deal with the request as soon as we can.
Another group that deserve a special mention are the club's sponsors. Every single one of them has been supportive of the club during this really difficult time.
Robert Hayward, the owner of Texo Scaffolding, was kind enough to call me personally and assure me that the club had his support.
Hopefully we can go some way towards repaying our sponsors with a great showing on Sky next Thursday. There's no other football on that night so we should get a big audience.
Having said that, I also understand that business is tough and if we haven't fulfilled a sponsorship deal, we will need to put it right.
I do hate kicking the can down the road but if those conversations could also wait a bit longer the club would appreciate it.
Finally, for our game against Exeter, I would like to appeal to our fans to get behind the team from the safety of their own homes and please do not turn up at our stadium on Thursday.
Doing so puts lives at risk and is likely to add additional costs that the club just can't afford at the moment.
Up the U’s