BILLERICAY boss Craig Edwards has slammed Colchester United for failing to show his side “respect” after the Blues cancelled their pre-season friendly.

The Ryman Premier side’s manager had arranged to take on the League One side on July 22 at New Lodge but the game has been shelved after the U’s raised concerns about the state of the pitch and asked for the kick off to be at the earlier time of 7pm, instead of 7.45pm.

Edwards said he was “disappointed” with Joe Dunne’s views and feels he had no choice but to call off the game.

“I was very disappointed with Colchester’s stance on the whole affair,” said Edwards. “Not being able to confirm until July and wanting to dictate the kick-off time isn’t good enough as if they had pulled out we would have been knackered.

“Anyone who has come here in the last two months knows the pitch is in excellent nick and at the start of pre-season it will be even better.

“This was handled poorly and the other Football League clubs haven’t acted this way.”

The Blues have already revealed a jam-packed pre-season schedule, where they will take on football league clubs Dagenham & Redbridge and a Charlton Athletic XI, and fly across the English Channel to take on Guernsey.

Edwards added: “You have got to think where you are and there will always be someone a bit bigger than you. If, down the line, they arrange a friendly with an Arsenal or a West Ham I am sure they wouldn’t want to be treated like this.”

“I don’t suppose they will be too pleased with my comments and unless they have thick skin I can’t see them inviting us up there for a game.”

Edwards says he is pleased with the opposition his side will face before the new campaign, saying “if Carlsberg did pre-season...”, and added they will provide stern tests for his young players ahead of a promotion push next season.

He adds they have two further fixtures to announce, one against a championship side and another that he is sure will excite many in Essex.


COLCHESTER United Joe Dunne has hit back at the Billericay boss’ comments, saying Craig Edwards never got in touch with him over the pre-season friendly.

The Colchester United boss said it “was never a game that was on the first-team’s agenda.

“As a club, we feel we have a good relationship with the non-league clubs in our area,” said Dunne.

“We’ve played the likes of Heybridge Swifts in the last pre-season and it will be the same again, this summer.

“Neither Craig Edwards or Billericay Town made any contact with me as first-team manager about a pre-season friendly there. If he had a gripe with us, then all he had to do was pick up the phone and speak to us.”

Dunne said when his side take on non-league clubs in pre-season they don’t ask for “any part of the gate receipts.”

“We have a reputation for loaning players to non-league clubs, so it’s unfortunate that he (Edwards) feels that way.”