U's need another hunch from Heard

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of Phil Parkinson will not be easy, but there will be no shortage of candidates for the vacant manager's post at Colchester United.

By Carl Marston

FOLLOWING in the footsteps of Phil Parkinson will not be easy, but there will be no shortage of candidates for the vacant manager's post at Colchester United.

U's chairman Peter Heard has began sifting through the early applicants following the departure of Parkinson to Hull City last week.

It is still early days and there is little prospect of a new manager being in place before next week. But the job of managing a promoted club in the Championship is an attractive one.

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U's Chief Executive Marie Partner explained: “We have not put a time span on the appointment of a new manager but obviously we want it to be resolved fairly quickly.

“We are very conscious of this, because it is a crucial time of the year. We need a leader on board, whether that be someone new or George (caretaker manager Geraint Williams).

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“Mr Heard has begun collating the early applicants, but Monday was the first real chance for applications to come in following the legal settlement with Hull. He will give it another couple of days before then arranging initial interviews.

“He will then whittle them down, and I and the rest of the Board of Directors will then sit in on the second interviews,” added Mrs Partner.

Parkinson's last act as U's boss was to guide them into the Championship for the first time in the club's history - they finished second in League One, behind champions Southend.

The 38-year-old masterminded three years of unprecedented success at Layer Road and he leaves the club in a sound financial state - the U's received £400,000 in compensation from Hull for the loss of their manager (Parkinson still had a year to run on his contract), in addition to banking £500,000 from the sale of star midfielder Neil Danns to Birmingham City last month.

Mrs Partner continued: “Mr Heard had a hunch that Phil Parkinson was the right man for the job at the time when the applicants were slimmed down to the final four.

“We now need another hunch. Phil stood out as the right man for the job, and this next appointment is very important, because the club has momentum and we want to keep moving forwards, not going backwards.

“We have to get the balance right, and Mr Heard will be doing his homework. If someone we are looking at is in another job, then we would have to approach that club and do it the right way.

“They might refuse us permission to speak to him, so it could be complicated.

“But this is a very good job, and we believe that we have put forward a budget that is comparable to other clubs in the Championship.

“It is an excellent opportunity for someone.

“We already have more than 3,000 season ticket holders for next season, and I'm sure that we will experience another surge in sales as soon as the new manager is appointed,” concluded Mrs Partner.

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