Williams has no recriminations

Geraint Williams lost his job as Colchester United manager at the start of this week, but U's correspondent CARL MARSTON still finds the affable Welshman in a positive frame of mind

Carl Marston

Geraint Williams lost his job as Colchester United manager at the start of this week, but U's correspondent CARL MARSTON still finds the affable Welshman in a positive frame of mind

FORMER Colchester United boss, Geraint Williams, has described his 10-year stay with the U's as a “fantastic experience.”

Williams may have lost his job at the start of this week, when leaving the U's by mutual consent after a disappointing start to the season, but he has no bitterness towards anyone at the club, and no regrets.

The Welshman has worked in football for the last 30 years, from a 16-year-old apprentice at Bristol Rovers to a 46-year-old manager at Colchester.

And he will go down in history as one of the most successful managers in the U's history, on the back of a wonderful first season which culminated in a fabulous 10th place finish in the Championship.

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Just over a year on and Williams now finds himself out of work for the first time. It will surely not be long before he returns to the game that he loves, and in the mean time he has only positive things to say about the League One club.

“Most people thought that I would probably have left the job this time two years ago.” insisted Williams, who took over from Phil Parkinson after the U's had won promotion to the Championship.

“I'm grateful to Mr Heard (former chairman) for offering me the chance to be the manager of Colchester United.

“At the time no one really wanted the job, because not many people want to have relegation on their CV. We were predicted to struggle, but we ended up finishing 10th in the Championship in my first season, which is the highest in the club's history.

“The second season was a lot harder, but we still finished in the second highest position ever, and you can see what the players from that first season have gone on to achieve elsewhere,” added Williams.

Williams was always going to struggle to preserve the U's Championship status last season, following the departure of such key figures as Chris Iwelumo (to Charlton, now Wolves), Richard Garcia (Hull City), Jamie Cureton (Norwich City) and Wayne Brown (to Hull).

The U's continued to score goals, but a poor defensive record ultimately made relegation inevitable. And the desired bright start to the new campaign in League One has not materialised. They are currently second-from-bottom.

Many of the U's supporters turned against the players, and Williams himself, during last Saturday's 3-0 home defeat by MK Dons. This resulted in a meeting Williams and Cowling on Sunday, which led to Williams' departure by mutual consent.

“I have no incriminations, and no regrets,” continued Williams.

“You have to take these last two years as a whole. It's a pity it has ended on such a negative note, but overall it's been a fantastic experience.

“Having regrets is just wasted energy. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and be happy that you have tried your very best. You can ask no more.

“I've enjoyed these last 10 years of hard work. The first year (1998) I turned up, I was given my kit and then told to take it home to wash it. The club has certainly moved on since then.

“It's not for me to say my role in the successes of the club, just that I've given it 100%. I have no gripe with anyone. Colchester United is a fantastic little club, and a lot of people have worked hard since I've been there.

“Robbie Cowling is a fantastic chairman, and he has put things in place for the future. I got his full support and he is a very positive character.

“You just have to look at the possible candidates that have been put forward (for the manager's job) this time around. The club has a new stadium and land is to be bought for training ground.”

Williams arrived at Layer Road, from Ipswich Town, to bolster the U's midfield following promotion to Nationwide Division Two in 1998, when Steve Wignall was the manager.

He went on to make 39 league appearances for the U's, before going on to fill various roles as a coach, assistant manager, caretaker manager and then manager.

“I don't think that any other club with less resources has done as well as Colchester United over the last few years. That's down to everyone at the club,” said Williams.

“And no one can say that we haven't entertained over these last two years when I've been manager, with 132 goals scored in those two full seasons.”

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