Colchester United yesterday announced that Steve Ball would be the man to lead them forward into the uncertain post-Covid-19 football world.
Read our story here
While this may be Steve Ball's first Head Coaching role at EFL level, Steve Ball is a name familiar to Colchester United fans having played for the club in the '90s and coached at nearly every youth level the club has.
Steve Ball's only previous management experience has been with clubs such as Stanway, Leiston, Maldon & Tiptree.
An interesting appointment at an interesting time for Colchester United.
So The HDR Network spoke to two Colchester United season ticket holders Joe and Elliot about their thoughts.
Our first question takes us back to before Ball's appointment.
Where do fans sit on the sacking of John McGreal. From the outside looking in it may looks a tad harsh having just made the League 2 play offs
I personally think we should have kept McGreal for next season as last season we did manage to make it to the playoffs and we were progressing each season. However, maybe a change was for the best as he has had 4 years at Col U and we still haven’t achieved our goal. But for me, we should have given him to November and if we weren’t doing well we should of changed it then.
On McGreal - things had run its course - he brought a lot to the club in his time here. An identity and a style of play, he nurtured so many youngsters and gave them their chance. Had some amazing highs of course this year's League Cup campaign is an obvious one. However, 3 seasons in League Two with the squad we had just doesn't sit right. On two of those occasions, he missed out by a point, goal difference or a goal in another game. Although you could call that close it was our own fault - we didn't really turn up to the games against the strugglers in the league - always dropped points and would then roll over the league leaders 3 nil, on their patch (i.e Swindon this year) consistency was hard to achieve but he didn't exactly have the easiest job either - a small budget - loads of temporary loans so it works both ways. However, you just feel we should have been in the playoffs on more than one occasion and not through virtue of points per game. Ultimately I'll have fond memories of John and wish him well. Do I think he would have got us promoted in the end?
Yes, I do, but do you sit in League Two for how seasons waiting for it to happen?
Steve Ball has been confirmed as the new Head Coach of Colchester United. While this will be his first management job within the EFL he does arrive with a good coaching background most notably his work within the youth ranks at Florence Park.
What are your thoughts on the appointment of Steve Ball.
I’m happy with the appointment of Steve Ball considering the club doesn’t have to much money right now to get a big-name manager to come in such as the Cowley brothers.
He knows the club and players and hopefully, a new person in charge can get us going next season. I think we should be able to achieve the playoffs if we bring in another striker and defender as we still have a strong squad.
We are entering a new world following the Covid-19 pandemic. Many fans are unsure about what to expect ahead of next season for their football clubs. What do fans expect from Colchester United next season.
To be expected. We've been known to always look internally (for the last 10 years mainly) and I can understand that frustrates some fans. Would Robbie Cowling have gone for him if there hadn't been a global pandemic? Who knows. I think fans are struggling to understand that a lot of clubs in the EFL are broke or are certainly heading towards uneasy times. Personally I think our owner has been a breath of fresh air in the lock-down relaying vital information to fans.
In one of those statements, he revealed his other companies prop up our club as it simply doesn't even break even sometimes.
So although I understand frustrations I think Steve Ball is a good appointment. A Colchester lad (the first to manage the club) had two playing spells and has been on the coaching staff for 8 or 9 years. You'll get passion and someone that cares about the badge. With everything going on in the world and especially in football with various clubs - who might I add are much bigger than us - going bust, I think it's a sound appointment. Unimaginative? Probably. But I'm sorry from my understanding we simply cannot afford to go for a Paul Tisdale or even dare I say it Parky - we just simply don't have the money. In uncertain times where you've got to protect the future of the club - hiring a guy (although it may be significantly cheaper
Following the appointment, following Covid-19 what are Colchester United fans expecting from next season? What is the realistic aim?
I think we should be able to achieve the playoffs if we bring in another striker and defender as we still have a strong squad.
On this season - after watching Football since the 1998 season for the first time ever I don't have a single clue - will we be the worst effected club in the league and get relegated? Will we have the best infrastructure in place ahead of the rest of the clubs in the league and run away with the league? (I wish) - it will be such an interesting summer for all the clubs in League Two. We released so many players, Frank Nouble, Luke Prosser, Ryan Jackson - if they don't find clubs will they come back on the cheap?
Genuinely so many more questions than answers however having heard the noise coming out of the club over the past few months I feel much more confident about our long term survival/success in the hands of the current people in charge. But honestly, I have no idea what to expect, how our squad will look, which players will be playing for the other teams in the division. It's certainly going to be a unique time for Football clubs everywhere particularly in the EFL.
Do you think any additions will need to be made to the first team squad?
I think we definitely need a striker to bring in as we haven’t had a striker who scores consistently for years now and luke Norris is our only first-team striker but we do have Jake Hutchinson in the U23s who looks a decent player and could do a job if needed.
Hutchinson, of course, will be someone new Head Coach Steve Ball is very aware of from his time as John McGreal's assistant manager
Again not a normal window, I could highlight a few areas that need improving but again in these unprecedented times it feels crazy to say right let's go out and get 5 or 6 players that will improve last years squad - when ultimately we've lost the core of last years squad because we can't afford to pay their wages this season or offer them the same or improved terms.
Urgently need a solid centre back and a striker - with Luke Prosser(c) gone Tom Eastman needs a partner and one who can be depended on all season.
A striker again is a priority, Luke Norris will get you 10-15 league goals year but is that enough? With no Frank Nouble or Theo Robinson going into the next season that top lined does not scream goals - he isn't the most mobile but again with someone around him it could be a different story. Again with the current climate and especially where my club is at I just feel a bit wrong saying I want that player and this one, however - If I was on the board I would've been looking at someone like Adam Marriott from King's Lynn, promoted to National League with King's Lynn as top scorer with a staggering goal scoring record (check it out) - he's 28 and I'm sure would love a shot in the Football League (maybe he'll get their with Lynn good luck to him) would've been perhaps more affordable I believe he was out of contract at the end of the season. Away from that my other concern is keeping players and then if they go who do you replace them with?
Coheen Brammall looks set for a championship move after a great season at left back, the emergence of Kwame Poku would've turned some heads in the league's above.
Ultimately I think us and several clubs are going to be going down to the last seconds of the window. I get a sense clubs will be 'plugging holes' with free transfers and emergency loans because ultimately how can you set a healthy spending budget aside (unless you're Salford) if you have hardly any idea what you financial projections are for the next 12-18 months and beyond I think it'll be really hard to bring players in.
We want to hear from you Colchester United fans!
Maybe you agree with our season ticket holders?
Maybe you disagree on a point?
Get in touch:
Submit a contact form using this website
However you do it, get involved and HAVE YOUR SAY!
We at the HDR Network firmly believe in 100% unfiltered fan opinion.
After all who better knows a club than it's fans?