Worst-ever start to life as a Colchester United manager

Kevin Keen, no wins in his first seven league games in charge of the U's

Kevin Keen, no wins in his first seven league games in charge of the U's - Credit: Archant

Performances may have improved, under Colchester United’s new manager Kevin Keen, but the results have largely stayed the same.

Geraint Williams, lost his four league matches as U's boss, during the Championship days in 2006

Geraint Williams, lost his four league matches as U's boss, during the Championship days in 2006

In fact, Keen has just endured the worst-ever start to life as a U’s manager, since the Essex club was formed back in 1937.

You have to feel sympathy for the 48-year-old rookie boss, especially as he inherited a rock-bottom, low-on-confidence squad when he was appointed, on December 21.

Since then, the U’s have lost five and drawn two of their last seven matches, under new boss Keen, to stay rooted to the League One basement, ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Swindon Town.

No other Colchester manager has endured such a poor start, over the last 79 years.

George Burley, who lost his first four league games as Colchester manager in 1994

George Burley, who lost his first four league games as Colchester manager in 1994


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Taken from when the U’s regained their Football League status, in 1992, George Burley did suffer four league defeats on the bounce, at the start of his brief reign as U’s boss in 1994.

Burley even picked himself at right-back, for two of these four defeats, at the hands of Doncaster and Exeter, before the losing trend was halted by a 1-0 win at lowly rivals Scarborough.

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By the time that Burley left, on Christmas Eve of that year, the U’s were vying for a play-off place.

Likewise, Geraint Williams, handed the U’s job for the start of the club’s two years in the Championship, suffered four defeats at the hands of Birmingham, Plymouth, Barnsley and West Brom, before stopping the rot with a riveting 4-3 home win over Derby on August 26, 2006.

In more current times, Keen’s predecessor, Tony Humes, followed up a goalless draw at Walsall in his first game, with a 2-0 win at Leyton Orient in his second outing (Sept, 2014).

Joe Dunne tasted victory in his first match in charge (3-1 over Hartlepool (Sept, 2012), while John Ward’s reign began, at the start of the 2010-11 season, with a couple of draws and a 2-1 win over Rochdale.

Ward’s predecessor, Aidy Boothroyd, also had a couple of draws in his first two fixtures, at Southampton and Swindon, before beating Hartlepool 2-0 in his third game. And so it goes on.

Dick Graham (1968) and Bobby Roberts (1975) actually had the joint worst starts to life as a U’s manager, before Keen’s recent woes.

Both Graham and Roberts had four defeats and one draw in their first five fixtures, before each won at their sixth league attempt.

But a crumb of comfort for Keen – both men went on to enjoy long and successful spells in charge.

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