Players to blame - Watson

COLCHESTER United's midfield maestro, Kevin Watson, has blamed the Hull City players for manager Phil Parkinson's sacking yesterday.Watson used to play alongside Parkinson in Reading's midfield, and was then signed by his old team-mate while Parkinson was in charge at Layer Road.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United's midfield maestro, Kevin Watson, has blamed the Hull City players for manager Phil Parkinson's sacking yesterday.

Watson used to play alongside Parkinson in Reading's midfield, and was then signed by his old team-mate while Parkinson was in charge at Layer Road.

The 32-year-old called it a “sad day,” on hearing the news that his old friend and manager had been axed after just five months in charge at the KC Stadium.


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“I'm very disappointed for him. Both Jamie (Cureton) and I are very upset,” revealed Watson last night. Cureton was another former Reading player to be recruited by Parkinson at Layer Road.

Watson continued: “I firmly believe that the players have not helped. The manager has suffered for the team not picking up the results, but the players certainly seemed to throw the towel in too easily against us (5-1 defeat).

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“I started that match on the bench. Hull got their noses in front, but they then folded badly. I came on the pitch later on, and to be honest Hull were lucky to only concede five.

“It is a criticism that could never have been aimed at Phil's Colchester team. Even when we were getting beaten, we still battled away and made sure that we didn't suffer a heavy defeat.

“A manager is always judged by his results, but in my opinion the players have to take a good look at themselves. They have not helped him,” added Watson.

Former Tottenham trainee Watson played in all except two of the U's league matches last season, as the Essex club stormed to automatic promotion from League One, with Parkinson at the helm.

There was disbelief all around when Parkinson announced his shock resignation as U's boss, just a month after he had joined the whole squad on a parade of the town in an open-top bus.

Hull agreed to pay the U's £400,000 in compensation, before appointing Parkinson as their new manager at the end of June. The 38-year-old went on to spend approximately £2.5m in the transfer market, but his new-look Tigers team did not gel.

Just four wins from 21 league games tells its own story. City chairman Adam Pearson described the 5-1 defeat at Layer Road as a “humiliating experience”, and his patience ran out when George Burley's Southampton powered to a 4-2 win at the KC Stadium on Saturday.

However, Watson predicts that Parkinson will not be out of work for long. “Phil is a fighter. He was determined not to walk away from the challenge at Hull, and he'll find another job soon,” confirmed Watson.

“His Hull squad were far better than their league position (23rd) suggested. They should have been in mid-table, at worst. But it wasn't like they were just having a bad run. They had been struggling all season.

“I'm surprised at what's happened over the last few months. There's not a lot you can do, as a manager, if the players don't work hard enough,” added Watson.

John Burns, who is the chairman of Colchester United's Supporters Association, insisted that very few U's fans would be pleased to hear of Parkinson's departure from Hull.

Speaking to the EADT six months ago, following Parkinson's surprise resignation as U's boss, Burns had admitted: “I'm shocked and dismayed. This is a smack in the face for supporters, and it's the same for the players. I'm very upset.”

But there was no satisfaction to be gained from Parkinson's story of failure on Humberside.

“No one likes someone to lose his job, not least a young man with a young family,” said Burns last night.

“Few Colchester fans will be pleased to hear that he has left Hull. He got a mixed reaction when he returned to Layer Road with Hull last week, but that was to be expected. But there were only pockets of criticism, and that all added to the atmosphere.

“Phil was excellent for us. He's obviously a very talented individual, but I think that he bit off more than he could chew at Hull. Personally, I would have loved him to have stayed at Colchester longer.

“When he left, it felt like we had fallen out of a ninth story window. But we have really landed on our feet with George (Williams) in charge.”

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