Stadium to open with Spanish stars

COLCHESTER United will host Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao in the main curtain-raiser for their new Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United will host Spanish giants Athletic Bilbao in the main curtain-raiser for their new Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Bilbao will be the first visitors to the U's new ground on Monday, August 4, as Geraint Williams' men put the finishing touches to their pre-season programme before the new season begins the following Saturday.

It is a real coup for the League One club to secure a friendly against such illustrious opposition - Bilbao have won La Liga eight times and have been ever-present in the Primera Division since its inception in 1928.


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U's owner and chairman Robbie Cowling said: “We are delighted to have such a prestigious game to get things underway at the new Weston Homes Community Stadium. The match should be hugely popular.”

Tickets are not yet on sale for this landmark first home game - all the other U's pre-season friendlies are away from home, beginning with a visit to Tiptree next Wednesday.

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Meanwhile, U's striker Jamie Guy has been granted his wish for a “fresh start,” by signing on a season-long loan to Blue Square Premier side Oxford United.

Guy has endured a troubled last few months, culminating in a court case which led to a 12-month driving ban and a fine for driving offences, in addition to another fine for a separate threatening behaviour charge.

Guy said at the time: “I do not see myself at the club after this and I am looking to get away for a fresh start.”

The 20-year-old, who did not start a game for the U's last season, although he scored three goals in the Championship the previous campaign, had loan spells at Cambridge and Gravesend in 2005-06.

Guy is the third striker to be snapped up by Oxford over the last three days, following in the footsteps of Lewis Haldane and James Constable on similar deals.

O's manager Darren Patterson revealed: “Jamie (Guy) is a player I have admired for a long time. He has always excelled against our reserves and he's looked the part at first-team level as well.”

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