Former Ipswich Town midfielder Cole Skuse has been named the new manager of Bury Town after being released by Colchester United. STUART WATSON spoke to the 37-year-old about his playing days and next challenge.

East Anglian Daily Times: Cole Skuse has spent the last two seasons playing in League Two for Colchester United.Cole Skuse has spent the last two seasons playing in League Two for Colchester United. (Image: Colchester United)


“The last few days have been a real mixed bag of emotions. I’ve not had time to actually sit down and process everything.

“I had a long playing career with loads of great days that were shared with the best people. So that coming to end comes with a tinge of sadness. 

“I’ve been in a pressurised environment from the age of eight all the way up to the age of 37 then all of a sudden it just stops on a Monday. 

“You've just told me about how many games I've played (660 senior appearances) - I haven’t sat down and had that reflective moment where I look back and go ‘yeah, that was an incredible achievement’ yet.

“We’re going away on holiday shortly. I think it will be then I put my phone to one side, sit down with my wife and be like ‘it’s been a journey’. I will have that moment."


“When did I start thinking about management? About five days ago! That’s genuine. 

“I never, ever had any intention of doing this. 

“Bury’s a brilliant club though. The infrastructure is great from the grassroots upwards. They do things properly, they never stretch beyond their means, they are always getting good crowds, the stadium’s nice and they’ve got good people involved. 

“So I felt I had to give this a go.” 

Asked what his management style will be, Skuse replied: “Ask me that in a couple of months’ time! 

“Big Mick (McCarthy) always used to say ‘never get too high with the highs and never get too low with the lows’. I think that will be me. 

“One of the first things I’ve done is appoint myself an assistant who knows the league and players very well in Paul Musgrove.” 

Asked if he might be able to entice any of his former team-mates to come and play for him at Ram Meadow, Skuse joked: “I don’t think so. Unless big Murph (Daryl Murphy) wants to come across from Ireland and have a go?  

“If Didzy (David McGoldrick) wants to drop his deal at Derby and come play he’d be more than welcome! 

“In all seriousness though, there are going to be links with Ipswich and Colchester, and potentially other clubs, in terms of bringing in younger players if it's seen as a good fit for them.” 



“I started there just before the age of 10. I grew up a Bristol City fan. A lot of my family are still there and I still have huge connections with the club.

“I look back on that time with some of my fondest memories. To come through a system, make your debut for and have a promotion with your boyhood club is incredible.  

“They will always be my team, along with my adopted second team of Ipswich. 

“There are so many people I owe a thank you to at Bristol City. I’ll forever be grateful to all of them."

East Anglian Daily Times: Cole Skuse (right) pictured in action during his early days at Ipswich Town.Cole Skuse (right) pictured in action during his early days at Ipswich Town.


"It was a big decision for me and my family. 

"There was a contract on the table there at Bristol City. They said ‘although we’re dropping down a league we’d like you stay and be part of the rebuild’. 

"I just felt that it was time for a change.

"I had phone calls with a few clubs. I was talking to Derby, Middlesbrough and Ipswich. As soon as we spoke to Mick McCarthy though we knew where we were going.

"I think it was just the depth in his voice. I don’t know if it half scared me!

"Mick spoke to my wife on the phone. That puts her at ease which then allows me to go to work and concentrate on football.

"I’m family friends with Russell Osman – his wife and my wife’s mum are very close friends – and he’d always spoken so glowingly of Ipswich. So he really helped with the move too."

East Anglian Daily Times: Cole Skuse (right) spent five seasons playing under the management of Mick McCarthy. Cole Skuse (right) spent five seasons playing under the management of Mick McCarthy. (Image: Archant)


"I bump into people around the town all the time and it’s mixed conversations we have. There are fans who appreciate what he did for the football club and there are others who are not so glowing towards him. 

"I’ve got nothing but the utmost respect for the guy. Even if you park management to one side, as a human being he’s an incredible guy. 

"I’m still in contact with him now. He’s always there for advice."



"I loved every minute of that season. 

"It’s been well-documented that we didn’t have the finances that some of the other clubs in the league had to go and recruit massively. 

"Ours was a squad built on free transfers and a few small fees. That played in our favour. It was like ‘we’re going to have to stay tight-knit and dig in deep’. It had the desired effect. 

"There will be some people who say ‘you were top midway through the season, why didn’t you buy someone then?’ That’s not for us as players to decide.  

"Potentially that could have got us over the line. It’s all ifs, buts and maybes. The squad may have been very small, but the quality was very high. You could argue we had the best strike partnership in the league in Didzy (David McGoldrick) and Murph (Daryl Murphy) – they were incredible. 

"I’d say David McGoldrick is one of the best, if not the best, players I’ve played with. Some of the stuff he’d do almost made you angry because he did it with such ease. He was so laid back he needed a mattress. He’d come out for training and you’d think ‘Didzy looks like he just wants to go back inside’ and then he’d run the session. 

"So who would we have brought in and where would they have played? It might have helped, it might not. Who knows? 

"We had a real good hit at it. 

"In the semi-finals of the play-offs (against Norwich) we have a player sent-off when I felt as if the game was going in our favour. We’d nullified them and the game plan was working. 

“Everyone would have done the same as big Bez (Christophe Berra) did (stopping the ball on the line with his arm). There’s no slight on him because he was incredible for us that season and arguably our best player.

"It was just a gutting way to finish what was, on a whole, a great season because we reached levels the club hadn’t seen for a while."



"It was real tough. We see day-to-day what the manager and TC (Terry Connor) were going through.

"I know not all Ipswich fans are going to want to hear it, because not all look back on his time glowingly, but he was fighting the tide and trying to squeeze the best out of us. 

"We were never in a position under Mick where we were scrapping relegation. 

"But in every walk of life there comes time where you might need that change and at that time the club felt it needed change. 

"I don’t really like talking about it, to be honest, because we as players are in the changing room and appreciate what the manager’s going through and what he does.

"It’s the powers that be above that need to make those decisions. Whether we think that’s right or wrong is an irrelevance. They’re in those positions for a reason and they make those decisions."

Asked if the players knew McCarthy has planning to quit ahead of his desk-thumping exit following a 1-0 home win against Barnsley, Skuse said: "That was a surprise to us too. I think he did that press conference and then came in to see us and said ‘lads, I think that’s me done’. 

"You hear rumours going around, you get sent links and newspaper articles from friends, but you’re not actually privy to stuff until it actually happens."

East Anglian Daily Times: Former Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans.Former Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans.


"My first home game was against Millwall. I was going up the stairs to the players’ bar afterwards and a guy coming down the stairs says ‘well played today Cole, very good’. As you do, I looked at him and said ‘thank you very much, I really appreciate that’ and then went to carry on walking. I might have even said ‘thank you mate’. 

"Then he shook my hand and said ‘I’m Marcus by the way’. I’m all polite, ‘lovely to meet you’, and then I go and meet my wife and say ‘I think I’ve just called the owner ‘mate’’! 

"No-one really knew who he was and I'm guessing that’s the way he wanted to go about his business at the start. 

"It was only during the tail end of my time at Ipswich that he had more involvement. I don’t know if that was down to him wanting more involvement or the managers wanting him more involved. I’m not sure. 

"But every dealing I had with him he was a lovely guy. He’d ask about how my family were and things like that." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Cole Skuse and Luke Chambers hug on their final appearance for Ipswich Town.Cole Skuse and Luke Chambers hug on their final appearance for Ipswich Town. (Image: Steve Waller)


"I’d played against him for years. We had a rivalry between Nottingham Forest and Bristol City with both clubs vying for promotion into the Championship. 

"You’d always hear him in the tunnel and constantly during the game. I was always thinking ‘will someone wind him in?’

"Towards the tail end of my time at Bristol City we played Ipswich and there were rumours linking me to Ipswich. He was saying ‘hopefully we’ll see you next season’. 

"On the day I signed he made a jokey comment along the lines of ‘it’s about time we signed some rubbish players’ and from there it grew. 

"His wife was a teacher, my wife was a teacher. His eldest boy and my eldest girl were exactly the same age and went through nursery together. It just so happened our second and third kids ending up being similar ages too. 

"It’s just a friendship that’s grown naturally. I was best man at his wedding, he’s Godparent to my boy. I’m on the phone to him all the time. 

"I’m not sure I can quite sway him to come and sign for Bury though - the friendship isn't that strong! 

"I think he wants to keep playing. I can’t speak on behalf of him, it would be unfair to do so. But we spoke about the number of games I've played, well his numbers are on a different scale. He’s right up there. 

"I knew if my time was to come to an end at Colchester that could be me. Not from a physical stand point - I know I’ve had just had a slight knee problem, but physically I feel good. Lads are forever saying ‘you’ve got plenty of life in you yet’. But I think I was ready. Everyone's always said ‘you know when you know'. 

"I think Luke might be slightly different. 

"Don’t get me wrong, it’s a conversation I’ll be having with him if that doesn’t materialise. I’d love for him to come and have a look.

"He’s a fantastic human being, great player and has had a great career. I hope it continues for him." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Paul Hurst lasted just 149 days in charge of Ipswich Town.Paul Hurst lasted just 149 days in charge of Ipswich Town. (Image: � Copyright Stephen Waller)


"You’ve got Bart (Bialowski) and Jonas (Knudsen) that have just come back from the World Cup. That isn’t the County Cup, it’s the World Cup, and they’ve made those squads for a reason. 

"Why not come in and give players like that the utmost credit and positivity? Surely you want them to carry on the path they've been on? Instead it was 'you haven't done anything for me yet'. It was all a bit strange. 

"The season before we finished 12th in the Championship. To finish 12th in the Championship is no mean feat. It’s an incredibly tough league. 

"For him to come in and say the club had lost its desire to compete and win, or whatever the phrasing was, was a real tough one to swallow and, I think, a little bit unfair.

"We had Adam Webster. I’m still good friends with him and we still speak about this now. He's an incredible player, surely you’d want to keep him at the football club? I think he would have stayed at the football club. But he was sold to Bristol City.

"Didzy, Waggy (Martyn Waghorn), Garns (Joe Garner)... Great players, great lads. They all went. 

"Who am I to comment? He came in with a different mindset, which he’s well entitled to. He had to do him. It just didn’t quite work out. That’s that." 

East Anglian Daily Times: Paul Lambert gives instructions to Cole Skuse.Paul Lambert gives instructions to Cole Skuse. (Image: � Copyright Stephen Waller)


"It was quite clear we were going down for a little while, but the atmosphere seemed to have got better. It was surreal.

"It didn't feel like a relegation day. You came away from it thinking ‘has it really happened?’ because Ipswich had been in the Championship for so long. 

"Paul Lambert's first little bit at the club, I thought, was incredible. His delivery, the way he set us up to play - we played some real good football. 

"He came in showed some slides of how he wanted us to do things. We went to Reading and every single thing we’d worked on came off. It was one of the best first halves of football I've been involved in. We absolutely popped them. Nothing was going right though and it ended up finishing 2-2."



"We got off to a flyer. We were playing 4-4-2, other teams were 3-5-2, 4-3-3, but it was almost an irrelevance. We went to teams and steamrolled them. 

"We were thinking ‘lads we need to stay on top of this and we’ll bounce straight back up into the Championship’. 

"If I could put my finger on why faded away I would. 

"It was a tough one to swallow because we genuinely felt we had enough to bounce straight back. But it wasn’t to be."

East Anglian Daily Times: Paul Cook let several Ipswich Town players go - including Cole Skuse - as part of his 'Demolition Man' summer.Paul Cook let several Ipswich Town players go - including Cole Skuse - as part of his 'Demolition Man' summer. (Image: ITFC)


"Paul Cook came in and was open and honest from the start. 

"I was injured and he was telling me ‘get fit, I need you in the side to help us’. 

"I got back fit, came into the team, but he had to make decisions. 

"I’m not one to hold grudges. He’s the person in charge for a reason and has to make decisions. 

"When it's news you don’t want to hear, no matter how it's delivered I think you’re always going to find ways it could have been delivered better. 

"He just told me ‘look, there’s not going to be a playing contract for you at the end of the year’. 

"At that time they were talking about me staying on in a coaching role within the academy but I said 'look, I really appreciate that but I’d like to carry on playing'. 

“I’d been there a long time, he’d just come in and he wanted to put his own stamp on things. That’s the way football works. I was accepting of that.

"The only downside to it, and this is no fault of anybody’s, is that we finished in empty stadiums. 

"The send off would have been slightly different had we been playing in front of fans.

"It wasn’t until we went back to Ipswich with Colchester early last season and got a sent off that there was some closure. That was lovely.

"I look back on my time at the club with the best of memories. I’ve had two of my kids born in Ipswich. We’ll always as a family be Ipswich fans.  

"I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I couldn’t be happier for everyone at the club now.  

"I spoke to Milts (Simon Milton) on the phone yesterday and you could hear in his voice how buzzing he is. I’m so happy for everyone in and around the club because they deserve this."