IT represents the biggest transfer in Colchester United's history.

The £2.5m move that took home-grown star Greg Halford from the U's to Reading on this day in 2007 was a new club record - and remains the biggest fee they have received for a departing player.

The talented right-sided player quit Layer Road to move to the Royals but spent less than six months at the Madejski Stadium before joining Sunderland, in another multi-million move.

Halford caught the eye for Colchester with a string of dazzling performances under Phil Parkinson and Geraint Williams.

Having started as a trainee, Halford signed a professional contract on August 1 2002.

The versatile player was handed his U's debut by Parkinson in April, 2003, a 5-0 home defeat to Luton Town.

Halford went on to make more than 150 league and cup appearances for Colchester.

After leaving Sunderland in 2009, his career has taken him to a plethora of clubs.

He also represented Wolves, Portsmouth, Nottingham Forest and Rotherham United before joining Cardiff City in 2017 and had loan spells at Charlton Athletic, Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion and Birmingham City.

Now 34, Halford is currently a free agent having been without a club since leaving Premier League outfit Cardiff in the summer.

But 12 years after his departure, the fee paid for Halford's services remains the highest transfer fee Colchester have ever received for one of their players.