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U’s fans upset at radio switch-off
Colchester United fans have criticised the football club’s decision to pull the plug on live match commentaries on BBC Essex.
The U’s said the Beeb was not prepared to pay enough to broadcast home matches.
Sources claim the club believe fans are more likely to attend games, if there is no free commentary available.
A club spokesman admitted: “We are looking at different ways we can work with the community to get people to the stadium.”
One supporter said his 91-year-old dad – a lifelong U’s fan – would now be unable to follow the team because he was unable to go to matches.
BBC Essex is still reporting goals and game updates, and will broadcast three full match commentaries.
A spokesman said: “We are sorry audiences will no longer be able to hear full commentary of home games on our services as a result of the club deciding not to sell the rights this year.
“Listeners can still hear full commentary on all away games – and we’ll have regular live updates during home matches.”
Match commentaries are broadcast by Colchester United on its online “U’s Player”, available on the internet for £4.49 a month.
Tim Waddington, U’s general manager, told the club’s website: “Due to reduced funding from the BBC at a central level, the monies offered by BBC Essex were much reduced this season.
“This level of drop in funding has forced us to reconsider how we broadcast home fixtures.
“We have always had an excellent working relationship with the BBC and we are looking forward to continuing that professional relationship in 2012/13, but we have decided to take home commentaries in house and will provide these on U’s Player during the season.
“The commentary lead will be taken by David Gregory, whose undoubted knowledge of the game gives us a very personal insight into the games.
“David will be supported by a number of guest commentators over the season, which I believe will enhance the fans’ experience.”