‘The C Word’: What new U’s man once called the club

MICHAEL Rose may now be a proud Colchester United player but just over a year ago he jokingly referred to the club as ‘the C word’.

MICHAEL Rose may now be a proud Colchester United player but just over a year ago he jokingly referred to the club as ‘the C word’.

The 28-year-old left-back joined Norwich City on loan from Stockport in January 2010 at a time when the bad blood between the U’s and the Canaries was reaching boiling point.

Two weeks previous the Norfolk side had just won 5-0 at The Weston Homes Community Stadium, with manager Paul Lambert playing the lead role of pantomime villain. The Scotsman had, of course, started the season in charge of Colchester, masterminded a 7-1 victory at Carrow Road before controversially switching clubs.

Rose made 12 appearances under Lambert, helping Norwich seal the League One title against the constant backdrop of a compensation squabble which finally ended with the Norfolk club hit with a �500,000 fine following a Football League tribunal. “I enjoyed that time,” said Rose, a former Manchester United trainee whose former clubs also include Chester, Hereford, Yeovil, Cheltenham and Scunthorpe. “I’m not sure how much I should speak about it now that I’m here at Colchester though!

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“We were all fully aware of the fierce rivalry that developed between the clubs at that time, in fact I don’t think we dared say the ‘C word’ in front of the manager then.

“It was a great experience for me helping Norwich gain promotion, but it was only a short spell and I’m now fully committed to establishing myself as a proper Colchester player.”

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With Norwich choosing not to make the free-kick specialist part of their permanent squad ahead of their move to the Championship, Swindon Town moved in for his signature last summer. The Robins had just narrowly missed out on promotion themselves having lost 1-0 to Millwall in the play-off final.

It was a classic case of second-season syndrome for the Wiltshire club though who, following the high-profile departures of the likes of Gordon Greer, Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin, ended up finishing rock-bottom of the table.

“I had a meeting with the chairman and chief executive after the season finished and they asked me my feelings,” said Rose. “I was completely honest and said I wanted to stay in League One.

“I’m not getting any younger and I want to play at the highest possible level for as long as possible.”

As a result, despite still having a year left to run on his contract, Swindon agreed to cancel Rose’s deal as they look to cut back their finances for League Two football. U’s boss John Ward quickly swooped with the offer of a two-year contract.

The 60-year-old knows all about Rose having signed him on loan at Cheltenham in 2005 and worked with him at Stockport during his spell as assistant manager in 2009. He also came very close to bringing him to the U’s on loan in January after Marc Tierney was sold to Norwich, however the move fell through at the last minute following a change of mind by then Robins boss Paul Hart.

“I wanted the move then, so when I found out that Colchester were still interested I knew straight away that I wanted to sign,” said Rose.

The Manchester-born defender, who was a trainee at Manchester United at the same time as U’s keeper Ben Williams and played alongside David Perkins at Stockport, has already kitted out his two young sons in mini Colchester kits.

He added: “My wife is from Hereford and I have been commuting from there to Swindon for the last year.

“We’re fully prepared to move to Essex with our two young sons now though and start afresh. I can’t wait for this new challenge.”

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