Read a sneak preview of today's match day programme and Director of Business Shaun Grady's programme notes from the Boardroom.
Welcome to the players, officials and fans of Colchester United. It’s a local derby that is always keenly contested and I am sure today will be no different.
There were a lot of positives we could take from last week’s game at Carlisle - the fantastic backing of the fans as always and the fight we showed to get back into the game and then almost win it with the last kick of the match. It was certainly a great game to watch if a bit nail biting - and obviously bittersweet at the very end for Jevani as a goal would have capped a great personal performance on the day.
Three things to highlight off the pitch as it were. First it was fantastic to see the Club and the Trust getting national recognition from the EFL last week for its community work and in particular its pioneering role in football more widely as a mentally healthy club. This is an issue that is of ever increasing importance within the game and in society more widely - and we are really proud that the work of so many people at both the Club and the Trust has been singled out as an example for others to follow. We all have mental health and as a Club we are committed to playing our part in reduce stigma and providing support where we can. It is great to see that the ‘Mind Your Head’ programme encouraging resilience and better mental health in schools which the players take part in has just gone past the 1000 student milestone.
Second the elections for the first Cambridge United Supporters’ Panel will open at the start of April and run for two weeks. Thank you to everyone who has decided to put their name forward and the small team who have worked so hard leading the initiative to this point. All fans will have the chance to vote for their preferred candidates. This is a new initiative and one that the Board and everyone at the Club are committed to making work as we want to improve transparency with fans and this can only help on both sides. We expect the first meeting to take place in May.
Finally our audited accounts for last season will be filed at Companies House next week and we will publish the same summary online so all fans can have the chance to read them as it is important for us to be transparent. They will show a significant deficit for the season which should come as no surprise given we have already indicated this would be the case on a number of occasions. We are also publishing these accounts at a time when there has been a lot of commentary around the financial challenges of running professional football clubs outside the Premier League and it is clear they are by no means unique to us but widespread throughout the lower divisions. The average loss for League 2 clubs is £500,000 after any player sales and cup runs. It is a tough environment for everyone out there and we are all very grateful to our majority shareholder, Paul Barry. His support over many years has been unstinting. We will be holding our shareholders meeting shortly after the end of the season where these issues can obviously be debated in more detail. We have already acted to strengthen our financial controls at the Club in line with the recommendations from the audit and as a Board we remain committed to doing everything we can to improve the financial health of the Club as we recognise it is vital to what we want to achieve together on and off the pitch.
Thank you again for all your support. COYU