Colchester United: Robbie Cowling thought U's had 'weathered storm'

Colchester United relegated
Tom Lapslie and Tom Eastman following confirmation of Colchester's relegation following defeat by Burton

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling says he thought they had "weathered the storm" after three poor campaigns before League One relegation this term.

The U's finished 20th, 16th and 19th in the three seasons prior to being relegated by Burton on Saturday.

"If you take the three seasons before, I expected there was a good chance we might get relegated," said Cowling.

"But to be honest, I thought we'd weathered the storm and this season we could come into it and do better."

He added to BBC Essex: "I thought there was enough there to do that, which is why I perhaps feel quite disappointed with what's gone this year."

After Tony Humes left the club in November, Kevin Keen became manager on 21 December, but had to wait until 1 March for his first league win, a result which ended a 19-game winless run.

Kevin Keen
Kevin Keen (left) has won five of his 24 games in charge of Colchester

Cowling has come in for criticism for focusing too much on youth, with four of their starting XI against Burton having come through the club's academy.

"Overall, I'm really proud of a lot of things that have gone on at Colchester United and our youth policy is something we should all be very, very proud of," said Cowling.

"Looking out on the pitch (against Burton), some of the players that kept going until the end were the ones we've produced.

"But half the squad aren't home produced, and we've got to look at how we get better at recruitment. That's my responsibility."

Cowling added that he is determined to take a longer-term approach.

He said: "Sometimes as a chairman I've got different choices. Do we just want to well for the short term or do we want to do good the long term?

"If the things I'm trying to put in place don't bear fruit for many years to come but do in the long run, I'm going to do that.

"Sometimes I can think 'let's go on a joyride and do well with a few quid', but I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in investing the money to do good with the club."

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