U's best and worst of the Noughties
With the exception of the last four months, CARL MARSTON covered Colchester United for the whole of the last decade for the EADT. Here he selects his best U's XIs and worst XIs, spanning those 10 yearsTHE last decade has been the most successful, and exciting, of Colchester United's entire history.
With the exception of the last four months, CARL MARSTON covered Colchester United for the whole of the last decade for the EADT. Here he selects his best U's XIs and worst XIs, spanning those 10 years
THE last decade has been the most successful, and exciting, of Colchester United's entire history.
It began with Steve Whitton at the helm, consolidating the U's place in League One (then Nationwide Division Two) following promotion in 1998.
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The arrival of Phil Parkinson in 2003 kick-started three great seasons at Layer Road. There were FA Cup trips to the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Chelsea, and automatic promotion to the Championship in 2006.
Parkinson's departure, initially to Hull City, enabled his assistant Geraint Williams to mastermind the U's best ever season - they finished 10th in the Championship in 2006-07, which equated to 30th in the Football League ladder.
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Unfortunately, relegation was suffered the following campaign, but since then the U's have moved to a new ground - the Weston Homes Community Stadium - and are currently enjoying a terrific season under new boss Aidy Boothroyd.
It is always an entertaining exercise, choosing your most influential players of the last decade, and for some added interest I have also selected a team of U's "flops," basically made up of players who failed to make the grade, or expensive new signings who failed to live up to expectations.
Despite the U's current position, third in League One, I have only selected two from Boothroyd's squad of 2009-10. They are left-back Marc Tierney and loyal servant Pat Baldwin.
This is because my top team is packed with players from Parkinson's era, especially the promotion-winning season.
However, my second team does have current players Ben Williams, Magnus Okounghae, Kem Izzet and Clive Platt amongst its ranks. Notable absentees from either side include talented front runners Wayne Andrews and Kevin Lisbie.
The "Flops XI" deserves more of an explanation. The expensive flops amongst this team are Adrian Coote, Chris Coyne, Teddy Sheringham and current player Joel Thomas.
Coote arrived from Norwich for a then-club record fee of �50,000 in 2001, but struggled to hold down a place in the side and mustered just four goals before being released. The ex-Northern Ireland international is now playing in non-league in his native Norfolk.
Coyne was another to re-write the U's record books, following his �350,000 switch from Luton Town. But the Australian disappointed during his time in Essex, which was not helped by injuries and countless trips around the world to play for his country.
Former England star Sheringham never made the desired impact during his one costly season with the U's, which coincided with relegation from the Championship. He netted just three goals.
And Frenchman Thomas has not yet caught the eye for the current-day U's, despite his hefty �125,000 price tag from Hamilton.
The unluckiest player in the flops XI is Richard McKinney. The U's have been blessed with some good goalkeepers over the last decade, and many of them have been regulars for several seasons - like Andy Woodman, Simon Brown, Dean Gerken and Aidan Davison.
Experienced keeper Brown suffered several horror moments during his long spell with the U's, which spanned more than 150 games, while I could have chosen from a clutch of keepers who made just one or two appearances for United.
But in the end I decided to select Irishman McKinney, who played second fiddle to Brown for most of his time with the U's. He rarely let the team down, but never quite bossed the No. 1 spot.
Defenders like Frenchman Fabrice Richard (a Mick Wadsworth signing) and Hungarian international Bela Balogh were obvious choices. Neither settled well at Layer Road, struggling to communicate with their team-mates or gel into a unit.
As an aside, I have also named a starting XI of "fly-by-nights,"
comprising players who have stayed with the U's for only a short spell, and only made a few appearances.
The four teams below should certainly generate some talking points, and spark some heated arguments!
U's star XI
1 Aidan Davison
2 Greg Halford
3 Marc Tierney
4 Pat Baldwin
5 Wayne Brown
6 Karl Duguid
7 Kevin Watson
8 Neil Danns
9 Mark Yeates
10 Chris Iwelumo
11 Lomana Lua Lua
U's second XI
1 Ben Williams
2 Joe Dunne
3 George Elokobi
4 Magnus Okunoghae
5 Liam Chilvers
6 Richard Garcia
7 Kem Izzet
8 Richard Wilkins
9 Craig Fagan
10 Clive Platt
11 Jamie Cureton
U's flops XI
1 Richard McKinney
2 Fabrice Richard
3 Matt Lockwood
4 Bela Balogh
5 Chris Coyne
6 Phil Hadland
7 Jamie Cade
8 Chris Keeble
9 Teddy Sheringham
10 Adrian Coote
11 Joel Thomas
1 Richard Knight
2 Lawrie Wilson
3 Mike Edwards
4 Matthew Mills
5 Con Blatsis
6 Marc Goodfellow
7 Leke Odunsi
8 Marc Canham
9 Dean Howell
10 Simon Atangana
11 Jermaine Brown