STEVEN Gillespie says he has always had a great rapport with the Colchester United fans – because of his commitment to the cause during his time at the club.

The popular striker, who made more than 100 appearances for Colchester between 2008 and 2012, was part of the club’s travelling contingent at Prenton Park for their 2-0 defeat at Tranmere Rovers, last Friday.

Gillespie, 36, is still Colchester’s record signing, having joined them from Cheltenham Town for a fee in excess of £400,000 in the summer of 2008.

The Liverpool-born former forward, who netted 25 goals in 46 league starts for Colchester, was hampered by injuries during his spell at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Nevertheless, he became a fans’ favourite and he believes much of that was because of his hard-working approach to games.

He said: “I really did have a good feeling with the Colchester fans because I’d like to think that I always tried my best even when I was out of form, which I was quite often!

“I always worked as hard as I could and for me as a fan myself of Liverpool, if I see the players doing that for Liverpool then it’s all you can hope for.

“The buzz with fans being back in general is fantastic.

“Football wasn’t the same without them.

“I watched a lot of Liverpool games on TV and I’m sure the Colchester fans did the same with their team too and it just isn’t the same.

“But we got through it and it’s fantastic that everyone is back in the grounds supporting their teams, because the players really do feel it.

“I can only compare it to playing in reserve games or games where there were smaller crowds.

“It didn’t give you that tingle, so when the away fans do get behind you, it makes such a difference.

“It does spur you on as a player and you do run that extra yard, to close the goalkeeper or opponent down.”


Gillespie saw two of his former Colchester team-mates in action when he watched them play at Tranmere.

The former forward played with both Freddie Sears and Tom Eastman, during his four-year spell with the U’s.

“I’m made up to see Freddie; he’s a really, really talented player,” said Gillespie.

“He plays in a similar position to the one I did, in terms of that second striker.

“They tend to play three up front now and they didn’t always do that in my day!

“He’s someone who works well off someone and is very intelligent.

“He’s a goal threat, he’s an intelligent passer and I look forward to watching him play.

“Tom was a young player coming through when I was at Colchester and he’s played a million games since.

“He’s the elder statesman of the team but it’s fantastic to see those two boys who I played with still going.”


Gillespie still follows Colchester’s fortunes and watching their opening home game of the season against Northampton Town, in August.

His son Lennon was born in Colchester during his father’s time at the JobServe Community Stadium and is a U’s supporter.

Gillespie said: “We managed to get to Colchester earlier on in the season for the Northampton game for Lennon’s birthday.

“They played some really good stuff in that game – they played a nice style of football where they were playing it out from the back.

“It was entertaining to watch and on a different day, they could have easily won the game comfortably.

“We came down for the weekend for that one and this was the second Colchester game we’ve taken on, this season.

“It was really exciting to be there and it’s always nice to play under the lights.

“Tranmere is always a tough game and I never enjoyed playing there!

“I never seemed to play well there or get a good result, so it was a tough game for the lads to get a result from.”

Gillespie, who also played for the likes of Bristol Rovers and Fleetwood Town during his playing career, is currently working as programme manager for Liverpool Football Club.

He added: “I absolutely love it – it’s a club that I’m passionate about it’s fantastic to still be in football, to be honest and it’s a dream really.”