TODAY is the 25th anniversary of Colchester United’s memorable Division Three play-off final victory over Torquay United, at Wembley.

David Gregory’s 22nd-minute penalty gave Steve Wignall’s side a 1-0 triumph over the Gulls in front of a Friday-night crowd of 19,486 on May 22, 1998, to secure the U’s promotion to the third tier.


The spot-kick was awarded for handball against Torquay defender Jon Gittens, after Steve Forbes had tried to lift the ball over the former Portsmouth defender in the area.

And it was enough for Colchester to celebrate their first promotion from division three in 22 years.

The U’s had finished fourth in the division three table that season just a point off the automatic promotion places, having risen from mid-table with ten wins from their final 15 games.


A semi-final victory over Barnet over two legs booked the U’s a trip to Wembley.

The Colchester promotion-winning squad that year featured the likes of skipper Richard Wilkins, Aaron Skelton, Paul Abrahams and joint leading-scorers Mark Sale and Neil Gregory, while goalkeeper Carl Emberson was an ever present.