'Thanks for everything, Kit'

KIT Symons cut a reflective figure in the dugout of an emptied Whaddon Road as he watched the Colchester United players warm down for the very last time.

Stuart Watson

KIT Symons cut a reflective figure in the dugout of an emptied Whaddon Road as he watched the Colchester United players warm down for the very last time.

The former Manchester City player had been left to manage the side for a fifth and final time on Saturday following Paul Lambert's appointment as the new full-time boss on Thursday night.

The Scotsman watched his side from the stands due to his late arrival in the week and, after a rollercoaster of a match, the assembled press were understandably keen to hear his thoughts on his inherited squad's performance.

But while the television cameras were trained on the new man in town, Symons was left isolated on the bench after all but a handful of the 3,580 spectators had filed out of the ground.

At that very moment U's owner Robbie Cowling could be seen making a special effort to thank his departing caretaker boss with a warm handshake.

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“Thanks for everything Kit,” said Cowling. And you knew he meant it.

It was yet another example of just how popular Symons has been during his time at the club, both as assistant and caretaker boss.

Ultimately though his likeability and the deep respect he has commanded from his players wasn't quite enough to counteract the fact that his side kept on leaking goals.

It was the same story yet again at Cheltenham where an inability to defend the long ball and set pieces saw the Essex side surrender a comfortable two-goal cushion in all too easy fashion.

“At 3-1 we were playing some good stuff and were looking very, very comfortable,” said Symons.

“From that position it should have been game won, but we all know you don't always get what you should do in football.

“I thought there were some bizarre decisions throughout the game, but you have to get your own house in order before you start to blame other people.”

Did the nature of this defeat and his inability to get the Colchester job detract from his enthusiasm for coaching and management?

“Not at all,” said Symons. “In my playing career I had many ups and downs and I've already experienced that again in my caretaker roles.

“This latest experience certainly doesn't dampen my spirit. I will definitely carry on.”

Only time will tell if the steely influence of Lambert will do more to shore up the defence of this promising young Colchester squad than the affable Symons was able to do.

“Good luck to him,” said Symons, when asked if he had a message for his replacement. “I think he's a lucky man. He's inherited a very good set of players and a very good football club.”

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