U's star's tribute to boss Geraint

COLCHESTER United defender Wayne Brown has paid tribute to his manager Geraint Williams, who has enjoyed such tremendous success in his first season in charge at Layer Road.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United defender Wayne Brown has paid tribute to his manager Geraint Williams, who has enjoyed such tremendous success in his first season in charge at Layer Road.

Williams was only officially appointed the new U's boss, following Phil Parkinson's departure, a week before the new campaign.

But the Welshman has presided over an historic first season in the Championship, guiding the U's to within a whisker of the play-offs. Last Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Stoke City effectively killed off those far-fetched dreams of Premiership football.

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Brown has played every single minute of every single match this season, and he is hoping to maintain his unblemished record at home to Crystal Palace in the final game of the campaign this Sunday.

The 29-year-old was certainly not amongst those who doubted whether Williams could carry on the good work, following Parkinson's dramatic exit over the summer.

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“George (Geraint) has proved his doubters wrong. Some people were critical of how long it took the club to appoint a new manager (six weeks),” revealed Brown yesterday.

“Some people doubted whether he was the right man for the job, but he has proved to himself and everyone else that he is the right man. He gets the best out of the lads.

“The players have always known how good he is as a coach, and George has made the successful transition from a No. 2 to a No. 1. He has been no different whatsoever.

“George has always had the respect of the lads. We would walk through walls for him, and we all want to play for him. Just like when he was an assistant, he has remained calm and collected.

“He has always been tactically aware, and like the rest of us, he's learnt a lot throughout the season.

“Mick (Harford) has also been terrific as his No. 2. He has been a great go-between, and the partnership works very well,” added Brown.

U's centre-half Brown walked away with all the major player-of-the-year trophies at the end of the successful 2005-06 promotion campaign, and he will be a contender for some more silverware this weekend.

Of course he faces some stiff competition, not least from the free-scoring strike-force of Jamie Cureton (24 goals) and Chris Iwelumo (18 goals).

In fact, there has not been a wink link in a team that is currently ninth in the table, and guaranteed at least a top 10 finish.

“We want to finish the season on a high. Our home record has been amazing (just one defeat in the last 20 games at Layer Road). It's the best in the division,” confirmed Brown.

“It can be frustrating to get so close to the play-offs. We had a chance last weekend, and it looks beyond us now, but you can't look back and have regrets, wondering where we could have picked up another point or two.

“You can say that our great home record has kept us out of trouble this season. It's fantastic to be where we are. I've really enjoyed this season, and we would like to end it with a win to send our fans home happy over the summer.

“On a personal note, it would also be nice to say that I've played in every minute of every match. I've been fortunate to steer clear of injuries.

“I've managed to shrug off the odd knock, and also keep my form,” added Brown.

The unlikely scenario of the U's gate-crashing the play-offs would require a huge win over Crystal Palace this Sunday, as well as Southampton, Stoke and Preston all losing. Even by Colchester's standards, the odds are stacked against them!

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