The case of the departing managers at Colchester United

Then-U's manager Tony Humes, left, presents 'East Anglian Daily Times' correspondent Carl Marston wi

Then-U's manager Tony Humes, left, presents 'East Anglian Daily Times' correspondent Carl Marston with his commerative Colchester United shirt after the reporter's 1000th game, at Rochdale last March. Humes stood down as U's boss on Thursday - Credit: Richard Blaxall

Tony Humes became the 12th Colchester United manager I have seen disappear through the exit door, since I started reporting on the U’s back in 1992.

Although he had one of the shortest reigns of the U’s dozen – a little less than 15 months at the helm – that doesn’t mean to say he wasn’t successful.

Like the manager with the shortest stay, during those 23 years, Mick Wadsworth (same period of time as George Burley in 1994), Humes achieved the no-mean-feat of keeping the U’s in the third tier, against the odds.

Wadsworth only presided over seven wins in 24 league games, during his seven-month stint as U’s boss in 1999, but he guided the Essex club away from relegation before his quickfire departure the following campaign.

Likewise, it was looking bleak for the U’s when Humes took charge, at the beginning of September, 2014, following Joe Dunne’s departure.


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The troubled U’s had only taken one point from their first five league games, but a season-long struggle against relegation culminated in a glorious final-day home win over promotion-chasing Preston, to avoid relegation with just minutes to spare.

When George Moncur slammed home an 82nd minute winner in a 1-0 victory, Humes had achieved the near-impossible of keeping the U’s in League One, on a shoestring budget and with a team packed with inexperienced youngsters.

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And that’s where the comparison between Wadsworth and Humes ends.

Wadsworth came-and-went in a flash, having brought in a glut of experienced signings to keep the U’s up, most notably midfielder Warren Aspinall, striker Jamie Moralee and defender Stephane Pounewatchy, whereas Humes had cut his teeth in the U’s academy with five years of helping to bring through a host of promising teenagers.

The likes of Frankie Kent, Tosin Olufemi, Macauley Bonne, Sammie Szmodics and Tom Lapslie all benefited from the coaching prowess of Humes, during his time at the academy. And that is perhaps the proudest part of Humes’ legacy – building a bright future for the club.

He was also a very honest and affable manager. I wish him well.

See today’s ‘East Anglian Daily Times’ newspaper for a full preview of the U’s trip to Burton Albion.

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