THE U’s are backing a campaign to highlight the contribution refugees have made to football.

They are taking part in an Amnesty International initiative tomorrow (Sat) known as Football Welcomes.

It marks the 80th anniversary since the first refugees came to the UK and played football, among them Jose Gallego who fled the Spanish Civil War and played for Colchester United.

A more recent refugee player for the club is Lomana Tresor Lualua, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo with his father when he was nine, in the late 1980s. He was spotted playing for a school team in East London. After playing for Colchester, he later moved on to Newcastle United and Portsmouth.

In the campaign, Colchester United plans to tell supporters about Spanish Civil War refugees in the match programme for the game against Plymouth Argyle.

The club will also begin to look at other ways to work closely with groups in the town supporting refugees.

Colchester United’s Media Manager Matt Hudson said: “We are pleased to support the Football Welcomes weekend as part of our Football In The Community Day this Saturday.

“Lomana Tresor Lua Lua was one of our best ever players and is still very fondly remembered in this part of the footballing world, so we hope that the Football Welcomes event is a huge success for all concerned.”

Other football playing refugees include Coventry’s Gael Bigirimana, Stoke City’s Saido Berahino, Bolton Wanderers’ former midfielder Fabrice Muamba, Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka Watford’s Valon Behrami and Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren.