Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling provides update

COLCHESTER United chairman Robbie Cowling says the club will offer a special discount for NHS and care workers to their home matches next season.

The U's already offer discounted prices to the armed forces for their games at the JobServe Community Stadium.

And as a gesture of gratitude to the heroes currently working on the frontline in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Cowling says NHS and care workers will also benefit from reduced prices to their games, next season.

In his latest statement, Cowling said: 'Colchester United currently shows it’s appreciation for our armed forces with a special discount and for next season, (whenever that may be), the discount is going to be extended to NHS and care workers - who are effectively our armed forces in the fight against coronavirus.'

Cowling admits the Covid-19 outbreak is having an impact on 'all of his businesses'.

And the U's supremo says the current situation has given him a new perspective on things.

He said: 'I’m sorry that it taken me more than a week to provide an update but the coronavirus is having an impact on all of my businesses and with football potentially mothballed for the foreseeable, my attention is focused on keeping as much other business going as possible.

'It’s impossible to even imagine what business will be like when we return to a new normal, but recent events have put a new perspective on things for me and I guess they have for many of you too.

'I think we should be more careful in the future when we want to use words like catastrophic and crisis to describe simple setbacks compared to the crisis we are living through now and the catastrophic effects this virus is having on so many lives.

'On the football front, there remains so much uncertainty but as directed by the EFL, we are preparing to resume training on the 13th April with a view to resuming the season in May.

'If, and it’s a big if, we do resume in May, it is still my opinion that the games will most probably be played behind closed doors and access to games will be via iFollow.

'If that is to be the case, it would be a massive boost to us to get as many watching as possible.

'If possible, and I’m sure it will be, we will display the number that are streaming the game live in big numbers on the big screen so that the players can still see visually how important the games are to our fans.'

Cowling also highlighted the telephone calls being made by U's players and staff to supporters this week, in the wake of the coronavirus.

He added: 'This week, our players and playing staff have been making phone calls to our older and more vulnerable fans and from what I’ve heard, it’s been as much of a tonic for the Col U boys as it has been for the fans.

'It seems that Harry Pell has started a bromance with a particular fan and is already making arrangements to meet up in that fan’s shed for a few beers when things calm down. Hopefully just after securing another three points.

'Some fans are still more concerned about football than anything else and when Steve Ball called a particular fan and asked him if he was keeping OK, he told Steve: “Never mind about that, why are we only playing one up front?”

'If you know of an elderly fan who’s vulnerable and in isolation and could do with a pick me up phone call, please pass their details on to our community team, (for details, click HERE), and we’ll see what we can do.

'If they have a particular bias to a 4-4-2 formation, let us know and we’ll get Steve Ball to call them and if they have a shed and beer, then Harry Pell is their man.

'Tonight at 8pm, along with my family and hopefully all of you, I’ll be showing my appreciation to the wonderful carers who are bearing the brunt of Coronavirus.'