Kit out to prove a good fit for U's

COLCHESTER United's caretaker manager, Kit Symons, knows that he is not among the favourites to land the job full-time, but he is intent on changing all that over the next fortnight.

Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's caretaker manager, Kit Symons, knows that he is not among the favourites to land the job full-time, but he is intent on changing all that over the next fortnight.

Symons takes charge of his first match as U's temporary boss this evening, at Tranmere Rovers. He is looking for a big response from the players, following the shock departure of former manager Geraint Williams by mutual consent at the start of the week.

It was Williams who brought in the ex-Wales, Manchester City and Crystal Palace defender as his assistant nine months ago. Now the time has arrived for Symons himself to stamp his authority on the struggling League One club.

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“I want the job full-time, because I've always wanted to be the manager of a football club. It's not the timing I would have liked, but I don't think you can choose a time,” explained Symons.

“Geraint Williams is the most honest man I've ever met. I was hoping that I would be an assistant here for many, many years, learning off George (Geraint).

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“My initial reaction was one of bitter disappointment. He brought me in as his assistant, and as a friend. He's a better friend now than he was when I first came in, because I know him more now.

“It was a bolt out of the blue, George leaving. We had always felt that we would turn it around, but it didn't and that became a massive problem. But it was still a big shock.

“But we all know how football is. Managers come and go; I know how it works. The fact that I have been made the caretaker is no issue with George.

“You need to grasp the opportunity. The whole aspect of the manager's job appeals to me, especially the day-to-day running of the club. As a player, I was always the first one and the last one to leave, because I liked being at a football club,” added Symons.

Many big names and experienced managers have already been linked with the job - the likes of Steve Cotterrill, Ian Holloway, Billy Davies, Phil Parkinson and Alan Curbishley have already been mentioned, and Steve Lomas has also thrown his hat in the ring.

Symons is on the hot seat for the moment, at least, but he knows that he must turn around the U's fortunes on the pitch quickly, if he is to stand a chance of being named the official successor to Williams.

Chairman and owner Robbie Cowling revealed on Monday that he was looking at a three-week time span for naming the new boss.

Symons admitted: “I'm not surprised with the number of big names that have been linked with the job, because being the manager of Colchester United is now a plum job.

“But it's a good opportunity for me. I've been in this position before. I was actually a player-caretaker manager when I was at Crystal Palace, but I'm older now.

“It's always a hectic period. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night worrying about shapes and systems, which was just what happened when I was in charge at Palace.

“It's a massive job for me. Having Joe Dunne alongside helping me is a big help, because he knows this place inside out and is an excellent coach.

“This is a massive next three weeks for me. It's a big test and a big challenge, but one I relish and am looking forward to. I don't mind making big decisions.

“I'm towards the bottom of the list of those being linked with the job at the moment, because there are some big names out there, but I hope to push myself up the list and to the top of it.”

Symons does not see any advantage of taking charge of his first match on the road, away from the pressures of playing at the new Weston Homes Community Stadium. The U's have yet to win at their new home, and were booed off the pitch during last Saturday's dismal 3-0 defeat to MK Dons.

“I know what it's like to be unpopular with the fans. I had 35,000 of them booing me at Manchester City every week because we were playing badly.” continued Symons.

“We all want the same things. There's certainly been unrest amongst our fan-base, and rightly so because some of our performances have not been good enough. But Tranmere away on a Friday night is hard enough for me.” added Symons.


TRANMERE ROVERS: Coyne, Shotton, Chorley, Goodison, Taylor, Moore, Kay, Jennings, Sonko, Savage, Greenacre, Curran, O'Callaghan, Edds, Shuker, Waterfall, Achterberg.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Gerken, Ifil, Coyne, Heath, Borrowdale, Yeates, Jackson, Izzet, Perkins, Vernon, Platt, White, Wasiu, Heath, Elito, Hammond, Wordsworth, Cousins.

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