A look at the U's ahead of the new season
Last Season’s Finish: 23rd (League One)
Nickname: The U’s
Ground: Colchester Community Stadium
A disappointing campaign saw the side suffer relegation from England’s third tier. The season saw many managerial changes. Tony Humes began in charge, but after a string of defeats he left by mutual consent in November. Richard Hall and John McGreal took temporary charge for one match before they were replaced by Wayne Brown.
Kevin Keen took up the reins in December but was unable to transform the U's fortunes, and they were relegated under his stewardship. He left with two games of the season left after relegation was confirmed, and his assistant David Wright was placed in caretaker charge.
McGreal was then named Keen's permanent successor ahead of the final game of the season, but would not take charge until the season had ended. This meant McGreal's new assistant manager, Steve Ball, managed the side for the last game of 2015–16 as they finished in 23rd position in the league.
Manager: John McGreal
McGreal began his career at Tranmere Rovers, where he progressed through the youth groups to become a regular first team player.
He made 195 league appearances for the club before moving to Ipswich Town in 1999 where he helped them to the play-offs and the Premier League. He then moved on to Burnley in 2004 before retiring in 2007 with 95 league games for the Lancashire side to his name.
Press View: Jonathan Waldron - Daily Gazette
Last season – summary…
Last season was a big disappointment for Colchester United, after they were relegated to League Two.
The U’s had flirted with the drop in League One in each of the three previous seasons but they finally succumbed to their fate, conceding 99 goals in the process.
Colchester’s poor defensive record was the main reason for their relegation and aside from a fine run of results in September and an upturn in form in March, there was little for the club’s supporters to cheer about overall.
The U’s started the season with Tony Humes in charge but after he departed in late November, former West Ham United midfielder Kevin Keen was appointed as his successor.
But league wins were few and far between for Keen and he was unable to turn Colchester’s results sufficiently around to save them from relegation, despite the form of the likes of Alex Gilbey, George Moncur and Elliot Lee in the final weeks of the campaign.
Owen Garvan finished last season as Colchester’s captain and is expected to be a key player for them in League Two.
The cultured playmaker is vastly experienced and his calming influence on the pitch promises to be a big factor, in what is likely to be a youthful U’s side this season.
Garvan suffered his injury problems last season but the former Crystal Palace and Ipswich Town midfielder has the potential to be one of League Two’s shining stars in the forthcoming campaign.
Prediction for this season…
I think Colchester can launch a challenge for at least the play-offs, this season. They have made some promising signings and the likes of Doug Loft, Luke Prosser, Brennan Dickenson and Denny Johnstone have all experienced what it is like to win promotion from League Two over the years, which could be prove vital.
The U’s have an experienced spine to their team and with a plethora of talented academy players also waiting in the wings to shine under new first-team coach John McGreal, the ingredients are all in place for Colchester to do well in a new division.