COLCHESTER United are believed to be making football history in a most unusual way this season.

For the first time, their matchday programme has carried a regular feature not only about aspects of the home town team’s rich history but linking it with the history of the town or city of the visiting team.

This novel idea is that of University of Essex higher degree history student Steven Bishop, who, since he moved to the area, has become a keen follower of Colchester United.

He also retains an affection for his hometown club Brighton and Hove Albion, for whom former U’s player Robbie Reinelt is a cult hero on the Sussex coast for his late goal in the final game of the season in 1997 which kept the Seagulls avoiding relegation out of the Football League.

Instead, Hereford United made the drop.

Bishop thought he could combine his love of football and love of history by writing about this in the U’s matchday programme - an idea enthusiastically embraced by programme editors Matt Hudson and David Gregory.

Ahead of each game, he looks at historic aspects of the town or city of the visiting team and then identifies within Colchester’s rich history going back 2,000 years either something of a contrasting or similar nature to write about.

All the research and writing is done by Bishop, but he has involved Colchester High Steward Sir Bob Russell to run his eye over each article to ensure there is historic accuracy from a Colchester perspective.

Football, of course, is steeped in history.

There are several books, for example, about the history of Colchester United.

What is different with Bishop’s articles is that he has brought a largely non-football history dimension into the matchday programme with the imaginative concept of combining aspects of the history of Colchester with the history of the town or city of the visiting team.

Aged 28, married and living in Sudbury, he is originally from Sussex.

He did his undergraduate degree in American Studies and Masters in History at the University of Warwick.

He is currently doing a PhD in History at the University of Essex, part-time.

He is researching statues of now controversial historical figures across the world.

To financially support his studies, he works in the university’s children’s day nursery at the Wivenhoe Park campus.

His next writing projects include an article on Brexit for an American journal, an article for football magazine “When Saturday Comes” and further features for the U's programme.

Bishop's hopes are for a career in heritage – and to continue being a big U’s fan.