Next Colchester United Manager: Can interim boss Wayne Brown make the most of his opportunity following the exit of Steve Ball?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 24 February 2021, 12:14

Colchester United have become the latest Football League club to make a managerial switch after they opted to part ways with Steve Ball late on Tuesday night.

The decision came after a 13-game winless run which left Colchester 21st in League Two; nine points above the relegation zone and now 12 points adrift of the play-offs.

Colchester experienced play-off heartache last season under manager John McGreal who then left the club after four years in charge, with his assistant Ball stepping into the hot seat.

Colchester were nestled in the top-seven following a 1-0 win at Scunthorpe in early December but have since endured an alarming slide, having registered just six points from a possible 39 on offer.

In a bid to arrest the slump in form they have removed Ball from his post after eight months, and named former Youth Team Coach Wayne Brown as Interim First Team Coach.

Interestingly, chairman Robbie Cowling has revealed that they will not be taking any managerial applicants at this time, as he wants to give Brown the best chance to prove himself in the upcoming weeks.

“It was with massive regret that I made the decision to remove Steve Ball from his role as first team Head Coach,” Cowling said in a Club Statement.

“Steve has worked tirelessly for the club for the last ten years and he absolutely loves Colchester United.

“Steve is a very good and a very well respected coach and it is a shame that his opportunity to manage the first team has coincided with what has been the most difficult of years for the club.

“If I could have afforded Steve more time to turn things around, I would have done but football is a merciless business and I decided that the only way to steer us out of the current rut was to change the first team Head Coach.

“I have asked Wayne Brown to take over the role of First Team Coach for the next run of games that see us playing every Saturday and Tuesday for the next few weeks. It’s a difficult run of games and I want to give Wayne every opportunity to succeed in those games. Therefore I am not looking for any other applicants at this time.”

As a result, Brown can now be backed at just 1/3 in the next Colchester manager market, ahead of the likes of coach Hayden Mullins, former boss John McGreal, and the club’s Performance Director Jon De Souza.

It will be a baptism of fire for Brown whose first three games are against Mark Cooper’s Forest Green Rovers (2nd), Chris Beech’s Carlisle (10th) and Michael Flynn’s Newport (8th).

However, while the games appear daunting, a change in manager could give the players that added boost and in turn spark an increase in performances. Well, that will be the hope anyway. 

The trio of fixtures are then followed by three straight away games to Harrogate, Grimsby and Salford.

Former Colchester player Brown has previously coached at youth level at the club and had a brief stint as caretaker, while he’s been managing Isthmian League North Division side Maldon & Tiptree, however their season has been suspended due to Covid-19.

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