Brian Wilson looks forward to a quicker than expected return to Colchester United
- Credit: Archant
Some things are written in the stars – just ask former Colchester United skipper Brian Wilson.
Experienced defender Wilson turned down the offer of a new deal to stay with the U’s at the start of this summer, choosing instead to join League One rivals Oldham Athletic.
And as fate would have it, Wednesday’s publication of the Football League fixture list for the 2014-15 season revealed the U’s opening day opponents to be ... Oldham!
The Latics will visit the Weston Homes Communnity Stadium on Saturday, August 9, the first time the Essex club have been granted a home match on the opening day of a campaign since 2002.
So Wilson, less than three months after his departure from the U’s, will be back on familiar turf to make his Latics debut, against his old club.
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“I knew that I was going to have to play at Colchester at some time during the season, but it’s strange that it will be the opening day,” admitted Wilson.
“I had some good times at Colchester and it was just a shame that I couldn’t get anything sorted out with my contract to stay. These things happen in football.
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“But Colchester only offered me a one-year deal, and on a personal note I’m happy to be settling back in the north-west again with my family.
“That’s why I jumped at the chance to join Oldham.”
Manchester-born Wilson should fill his familiar right-back role against Joe Dunne’s men for the new season’s curtain-raiser.
The 31-year-old rattled up 163 senior appearances, 151 of them in the league, during his four-year stay with the U’s, including the occasional emergency shift as a centre-half.
He believes that Oldham have the capacity to be competing in the top half of the table, having finished just one place and three points above the U’s in 15th slot last term.
The Latics have recruited several new players already in the transfer market (including midfielder Mike Jones from Crawley and left-back Joseph Mills from Burnley), while the U’s will again be looking to rely chiefly on nurturing their own young talent, though Dunne is hoping to bring in a few new players later this close-season, including a replacement for Wilson.
Certainly, Wilson was pleased to learn that the U’s will be given Category Two Academy status for the new season, as revealed by the East Anglian Daily Times on Monday.
“That’s the way the club is going, with all the younger lads,” continued Wilson.
“Several have already been thrown in at the deep end, and I hope they continue to progress.
“It will be interesting to see how they get on, and I will obviously keep looking out for Colchester’s results.
“They have some youngsters with big potential, and getting Category Two status is important to the club.
“But for me I now have a fresh challenge at Oldham. It’s a new chapter in my career.
“I had to think about myself, in terms of the length of my contract, and I already knew the Oldham manager (Lee Johnson) very well.
“I played with Lee while we were at Bristol City together, and I also know his Dad (Yeovil boss Gary Johnson) very well.
“Once I had turned down the offer of a new contract at Colchester, and I knew that Lee (Johnson) was interested, there was no doubt where I wanted to be.
“I kept an eye on a couple of Oldham games last season. They went 10 games unbeaten so I’m hoping to get a good pre-season under my belt and kick on at the start of the season.”
“There is no reason why we can’t finish in the top six.”
Wilson was originally signed by then-Colchester boss John Ward in June, 2010, having been released by Bristol City – ironically, the U’s first away league game of next season will be at City’s Ashton Gate.
Always a dependable defender, Wilson achieved the feat of playing in every U’s game in 2011-12.
He became the club’s vice-captain the following year, and took over the captaincy when Kem Izzet left the club in September, 2013.