‘I was a worker’ – Colchester United stalwart Karl Duguid, who looks back over his playing career

Karl Duguid says goodbye to the U's fans after coming on for the last time as a player at Walsall

Karl Duguid says goodbye to the U's fans after coming on for the last time as a player at Walsall - Credit: Archant

Karl Duguid, by his own admission, was never the most gifted player to don a Colchester United shirt.

Karl Duguid salutes the U's away fans at Walsall last weekend

Karl Duguid salutes the U's away fans at Walsall last weekend - Credit: Archant

But he was probably the most hard-working to grace the turf at Layer Road, and in later years at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

The curtain came down on Duguid’s playing career last weekend, when he appeared as a 72nd minute substitute on the final day 1-0 win at Walsall.

It was Duguid’s 591st career appearance, his 476th senior game for the U’s, and his 418th league appearance for the Essex club.

The 36-year-old bows out at No. 6 in the U’s highest league appearance charts, only headed by Micky Cook (613), Mike Walker (451), Steve Leslie (432), Peter Wright (426) and Kem Izzet (422).

Duguid himself has no airs or graces – he knows that he wasn’t the best player to turn out for Colchester. But he was certainly one of the most loyal, one of the most reliable, and one of the most successful.

“I was a worker. I had to work hard to get anything I needed,” admitted Duguid.

Most Read

“I certainly never dreamt I would have such had a career, when I made my first appearance as a substitute at Hereford.

“Other people would love to have done the things I have done. I think I, as a player, have shown I have appreciated that in my career.

“I’ve always given my all, and that was my main asset, to always give my all, and then the rest would come.

“I was lucky enough to achieve some great things at Colchester, but my main thing was working hard.

“That’s why I managed to play for as long as I have done.

“I think I got on the team-sheet before others who were technically better than me, because the manager at the time maybe trusted me a bit more about what I give them,” added Duguid.

Now Duguid, a product of the U’s youth team back in 1995, is ready to help nurture a new generation of U’s stars, in his continued capacity as a coach in Joe Dunne’s regime.

“I’m hopefully part of the coaching staff next season,” confirmed Dugid. I’m taking my UEFA ‘A’ license in the summer, that’s the next chapter of my career.

“Hopefully, I will play a part in the next generation of Colchester United players, the next Karl Duguids, though I think technically they are better than what I was!”

Duguid played in just about every position for the U’s, during his 19-year career as a professional. He operated as a right back and right winger, could do the same roles down the left flank, operate in midfield or play up front.

The low points included suffering a long-term knee injury in 2004-05, missing a penalty at Wembley in the shoot-out defeat to Carlisle in the Auto Windscreens Shield Final of 1997, and being relegated out of the Championship in 2008.

The highlights are far more plentiful, such as winning promotion to the second tier in 2006, playing at Chelsea in the FA Cup that same year, skippering the team, and netting the winner against East Anglian rivals Ipswich in a 1-0 success on September 29, 2006.

But which is the biggest highlight of them all? Duguid cannot decide.

“Everyone says my highlight must be scoring the winner against Ipswich, but there’s so many to mention,” continued Duguid.

“Your first goal, your debut, the goal against Ipswich, getting promoted to the Championship, playing at Wembley, these are all highs.

“I just think my period at Colchester has been a very successful time. I know we got relegated from the Championship but we were punching above our weight at the time.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at Colchester, I can’t deny that.There is not really any single stand-out moment.

“I’ve enjoyed all the times, even the bad ones. How can’t you love being a professional footballer where the fans appreciate you?” concluded Duguid.