It came ‘out of the blue’ – Colchester United new chief scout Steve McCall

Steve McCall

Steve McCall

Steve McCall admits that the phone call from new boss Tony Humes, asking him to become the new chief scout at Colchester United, came “out of the blue.”

But ex-Ipswich Town stalwart McCall did not hesitate to accept the position, and is now ready to unearth a few new gems for the League One club.

The 53-year-old replaced Brian Owen as the head of senior scouting earlier this week, after 13 years at Ipswich in a variety of scouting and coaching roles.

“I wasn’t expecting a call from Tony (Humes), though I was obviously delighted when one came through,” said McCall yesterday.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be at Colchester United, and to be a part of this new regime. I hadn’t been here (training headquarters at Florence Park, Tiptree) before Monday, and it’s a fantastic set-up.

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“It’s astounding really, what they have built here and what the facilities are like for a club of Colchester’s status.”

Ex-midfielder McCall played more than 300 games for Ipswich, after signing professional forms in 1979, just a few years before current U’s boss Humes (1985-92) arrived on the scene at Portman Road.

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McCall recalled: “Tony (Humes) and I certainly go back a few years!

“I remember Tony coming on trial to Ipswich, many years ago when we were both youngsters.

“We both came down from the long journey from the north.

“I obviously knew that Tony had got the Colchester job (last Monday week), together with Richard (Hall), but I didn’t know whether there would be any changes to the back-room staff. That call came right out of the blue!”

Carlisle-born McCall saw a lot of changes at Portman Road, during his later 13 years as a scout and coach.

There was the money around to splash out on big-money signings during the reigns of Roy Keane and Paul Jewell, bank-rolled by owner Marcus Evans, although those money-belts have been tightened in more recent times under Mick McCarthy.

In fact, McCall doesn’t envisage too much of a change to his role at Colchester.

“With regards looking for new players, I wouldn’t say we are looking at different areas to Ipswich,” explained McCall.

“I think we are still in the same market, though we are probably looking at slightly younger players at Colchester, whereas at Ipswich maybe they’re looking at slightly more experienced players.

“When I was at Ipswich, we still had to have that underbelly of youngsters coming through, and obviously that’s good experience for what I am going to do now.

“We can’t afford the wages that Ipswich can pay, but we’re still looking at the same type of player.”

The U’s are in action at Leyton Orient this afternoon.

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