ROBBIE Cowling has reiterated his desire to make Colchester United a sustainable club – and insists he has no intention of selling up.

The U’s chairman, who has ploughed millions into the club since taking over as owner in 2006, says that the League Two side are getting closer to becoming a self-funding outfit every year.

But he has stressed that the long-term survival of any football club is far more vital than short-term unsustainable success.

Cowling, writing in the U’s matchday programme for their game against Leyton Orient, said: “I…have no intentions of selling and I have every intention of making Colchester United a sustainable club.

“At Colchester United, I have made numerous investments aimed at making the club self-funding and the biggest but longest term investment has been in our Academy.

“This season it has clearly started to pay dividends but it needs to achieve the same year on year, so providing clear opportunities for our youngsters is key to the club’s long term survival strategy.”

Cowling admits it would not take much for most football clubs to find themselves in a similar situation to Bury, who were expelled from the EFL last month after a takeover collapsed.

The U’s supremo believes changes are needed to prevent other clubs from suffering the same fate as the Shakers – but insists Colchester are getting ever closer to being sustainable.

Cowling said: “No doubt most football fans will be aware of Bury’s situation and may be wondering what it would take for their club to find itself in a similar situation.

“Worryingly, the answer is ‘not much’.

“Too many clubs outside of the Premier League (and Colchester United is one of them) are unsustainable and rely on their owners to subsidise them.

“I consider there to be three types of losses for an owner of a club outside the Premier League; one who loses an amount he is comfortable losing; one who loses an amount he is uncomfortable losing; and one who loses more than he can afford to lose.

“Too many owners have fallen into the second and third categories. The third category is where it can really go pear shaped.

“To protect clubs outside the Premier League from suffering Bury’s fate, changes will be needed.

“In the short term, there needs to be stricter rules regarding club ownership but in the longer term these clubs need more income and they can’t be allowed to spend it all chasing promotion.

“The long term healthy survival of a football club is far more important than short term unsustainable success.

“A club owner spending beyond the club’s means damages numerous clubs not just their own.

“For example, last season Bury attracted players they could not afford and in doing so, inflated the cost of being competitive in League Two.

“They also withheld money they owed to clubs, including Colchester United, using that money to improve their competitiveness whilst denying us and others the chance to use that money to improve themselves.

“I’m sympathetic to the poor Bury fans who are completely blameless but I’m even sorrier for the Notts County fans whose club owner did play by the financial rules, lost four points to Bury and were relegated.

“For the record, I’m in the ‘losing an amount I’m comfortable losing’ category because I enjoy the way the club operates in terms of developing its own talent and because every year, we get a bit closer to being a self-sustainable football club.”

Cowling also stated that the U’s are making other investments in both matchday and non-matchday activities at the JobServe Community Stadium, in a bid to further boost club revenue.

He added: “Any support given to those activities will help the club whereas not a single penny spent at, say, the burger van (who operates down United Way) or in a nearby pub or fast food outlet will find its way into the first team budget.

“Please bear this in mind when making a match-day buy decision.

“Of course it’s your prerogative to spend your money wherever you want but Colchester United is not going to spend money it doesn’t have beyond what I am prepared to put in.”