DAVID Pullen might be on the other side of the world but his love for Colchester United remains undiminished.

The U's have got supporters all around the globe but there can't be too many other followers who follow the club's fortunes from as far away as Australia.

When Pullen says he was cheering Colchester on from afar when he followed their progress in the recent League Two play-offs, it was not joking.

But after 50 years of supporting the club through thick and thin, distance was never going to stop him from keeping tabs on his beloved U's.

He said: "My family emigrated to Australia at the end of 1974 and I must admit pre-internet it was almost impossible to get any news on how the club was doing.

"But the love never died and with the advent of the information superhighway, my interest has been rekindled and burns just as brightly now as it ever did.

"I have no time for the excesses of the Premier League; a true community club such as Colchester is where the real football is played.

"The supporters really care about the club because they genuinely believe it belongs to them.

"That's the way I felt as a callow youth way back in the 70s and I still feel that way, even though I'm now 12,000 miles away."

Pullen has fond memories of watching Colchester in the early 1970s at Layer Road, when the likes of Ray Crawford and Bobby Cram were gracing the North Essex turf.

"I grew up in a small village called Gosfield and went to high school in Braintree,” said the long-standing U's fan, who lives on the outskirts of Melbourne in an idyllic location known as the Mornington Peninsula.

"My first game at Layer Road was the opening fixture of the 1970/71 season, against Hartlepool.

"I can recall that Brian Gibbs scores the only goal of the game with a cracking shot from outside the penalty box.

"I have the programme from every home game that season and still have my signed photographs of Graham Smith, Bobby Cram, Brian Garvey (who also came down under and had success coaching in Melbourne) and Ray Crawford.

"What a season that turned out to be. It included the Leeds match and then the Watney Cup triumph.

"The best thing about that time was having the home games played on a Friday night.

"This left Saturday mornings free to play school football and then on the afternoons I could jump on a train and head up to London to attend the pick of the first division games in the capital."

Pullen has fond memories of one particular birthday visit to Layer Road - and a broken window.

"I was so smitten with Colchester that for one of my birthdays, I persuaded my dear late mother to somehow cram six gangly teenage boys into her VW Variant station wagon and drive us out to Colchester on a Tuesday evening to watch a game," he said.

"But here's the thing - it wasn't even a first team match.

"It was only the reserves playing Charlton Athletic and there were more people on the pitch that night than in the terraces.

"The highlight of the game was when one of the Colchester lads - I think it was Steve Foley - tried a speculative shot from way outside the box.

"But in his attempt to find the balance between power and accuracy he was overdid the power and the shot flew harmlessly over the crossbar and then over the roof of the stand behind the goal. "There was a slight pause as the ball disappeared into the darkness of the night, followed a short while later by the unmistakable sound of breaking glass.

"The ball crashed through the front window of a house on the other side of Layer Road.

“Best birthday ever."