U’s duo hail the appointment of Ward

Ashley Vincent and Kayode Odejayi have both hailed the appointment of John Ward as Colchester United’s new manager.

ASHLEY Vincent and Kayode Odejayi have both hailed the appointment of John Ward as Colchester United’s new manager.

The U’s duo both worked under Ward during his successful four year spell in charge of Cheltenham, helping the club achieve promotion via the 05/06 League Two play-offs and then keeping them in League One the following season.

During that time, Ward helped transform Odejayi from a player that had just stepped up from non-league Forest Green to a striker that was terrorising Newcastle in the FA Cup. Ward eventually cashed in on the powerful Nigerian, selling him to Championship club Barnsley for a then club record fee of �200,000.

Meanwhile, Vincent owes a particular debt of gratitude to Ward as it was he that handed the winger his first big break in the game. Vincent first emerged as a young trainee at Wolves when Ward was the reserve team manager and was later signed by his former mentor – despite never having played a professional game – when Ward took over the Cheltenham hot seat.

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“John getting the job is good for the boys,” said Vincent. “He gave me my first chance as a professional and I have to give him a massive thank you for that.

“He’ll say that he only gave me the chance and it was me that took it, but if I can help Colchester have success next season then I guess it will be another way of repaying him for putting all that faith in me.”

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Vincent added: “John is not the type of manager that is always shouting or bawling, but he is the type of man that players want to play for and do well for. He’s a hands on coach, but at the same time he’s a good man manager.”

Odejayi, who was no doubt recommended to Aidy Boothroyd by assistant Ward last September, said: “I think he (Ward) is the best appointment we could have asked for. He represents some much-needed continuity at the club.

“He’s great one-on-one with the players and always seems to brings out the best in individuals.

“He’s jovial, always cracking jokes and always tries to keep everyone positive and smiling.

“He was the man I hoped would get the job and I think a lot of the lads, especially the ones that have worked with him before, would say the same.”

Altogether, Ward has managed six of the current U’s squad at previous clubs.

As well as working with Vincent and Odejayi at Cheltenham, he also signed striker Steven Gillespie from Bristol City, turned him into a goal machine before eventually selling him to Colchester for a new club record fee of �400,000.

And during his season and a half spell as Carlisle boss, the 59-year-old signed keeper Ben Williams from Crewe, made winger Simon Hackney one of his key players and also brought defender Paul Reid in on loan from Barnsley.

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