Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling in supporter plea

John Ward
Ward has suffered 5-1 and 6-1 home losses to MK Dons and Stevenage this term

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling has backed boss John Ward and called on supporters to end their "negativity".

The U's manager, whose side are 15th in League One, has received criticism from supporters during recent home games.

Cowling, who heavily subsidises the club, told BBC Essex: "For some reason an element of fans never took to John.

"I think some of that and some of the negativity that's been around our home ground has perhaps been responsible for some of the home form."

Ward was appointed U's boss in May 2010, replacing Aidy Boothroyd who left to join Coventry, and set about trying to bring more attractive football to the Weston Homes Community Stadium under a reduced budget.

"I know under Aidy people were dissatisfied with the way the team were playing," added Cowling

"For many reasons, and John was a big part of this, we've changed the way the team play now. I think everyone agrees we play a much more entertaining game.

"I hear many things about how things used to be. But I can't find when that was, when Colchester used to win every week and had a full crowd at [former ground] Layer Road."

And Colchester could face an uncertain summer, with 15 players set to be out of contract and Cowling warning that players will have to be braced for pay cuts.

"We certainly won't be offering the players that are out of contract the same money that they're getting now," he explained.

"I'm not 100% sure a lot of them can go and match what they're getting now elsewhere. If they do they're going to have to go to a top League One club or the Championship."