Similar, but with big differences

THEY are similar, but there are also big differences, as Colchester United boss Geraint Williams confirmed when comparing himself with Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton yesterday.

By Carl Marston

THEY are similar, but there are also big differences, as Colchester United boss Geraint Williams confirmed when comparing himself with Ipswich Town manager Jim Magilton yesterday.

In fact, Williams believes that Magilton has more in common with former Colchester boss Phil Parkinson than himself.

Magilton was appointed to the Portman Road hot-seat this summer, just a month or so before Williams was elevated to the top position at Layer Road.

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Both used to patrol Town's central midfield, and in both cases it is their first taste of managerial experience. The two clubs have also recovered from shaky starts to make progress up the Championship table over the last month.

But Welshman Williams was quick to highlight the contrasts as well, between himself and his counterpart Magilton.

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“It's our first jobs as a manager, but whereas I have been a coach and an assistant manager for several years, Jim (Magilton) has gone straight from playing into management,” explained Williams.

“Jim was still playing last year, but I wasn't surprised that he got the job. He's his own man, and he has a good backroom staff. Bryan Klug was a coach when I was there, and Steve Foley also has a big reputation.

“I would say that he's more like Phil (Parkinson) than me, in that he's come straight from playing into a manager's role.

“Both are similar, fiery characters, who relish being in the firing line. They love it,” added Williams.

Parkinson capped three excellent years as Colchester boss, following his move from Reading, by masterminding automatic promotion to the Championship in May.

Williams was his assistant, just as he was to previous manager Steve Whitton. But when Parkinson moved on to Hull City, Williams was finally given his chance to take on the No. 1 job at Layer Road.

He is relishing the challenge, although it's proving to be very demanding.

Williams admitted: “It's consuming my life at the moment. Until you actually get to sit on the seat, you don't know how it's going to rule your life.

“Both Jim and I had a very bad first week. We lost our first three matches, and when we passed each other in the car at the end of that first week, Jim rang me to say that we should go for a round of golf.

“We live near each other, in the same area of Ipswich, and we commiserated each other over nine holes of golf, with Charlie Woods (former Ipswich coach) as the intermediary.

“The golf wasn't of great quality, but we chatted about our determination to turn the results around, and that's what has happened over the last month.

“We have very different temperaments, but we are both winners. We both hate losing,” added Williams.

It is more than eight years since Williams left Ipswich to sign for Colchester on a free transfer. Having played 217 league games for Town, he went on to make 39 league appearances in a U's shirt, before turning his mind to coaching.

He has already got the better of one of his former clubs this season, leading the U's to a 4-3 victory over Derby County. But Town will be a different proposition, fresh from four wins in their last five games.

“It's good to have a chance of playing against clubs that I've had a history with, but I'm totally committed to Colchester United now. That's the centre of my attention,” continued Williams.

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