Colchester United have chosen to permanently appoint an ex-Crystal Palace, West Ham and Portsmouth player as their new boss.
The League Two side have named interim boss Hayden Mullins as their permanent head coach after the 42 year old stepped up from his role as assistant to take charge of the U’s last eight games, gaining 12 points to avoid relegation.
Colchester finished the season 20th, six points clear of the bottom two, and ex-Bristol Rovers, MK Dons and Exeter manager Paul Tisdale had worked alongside Mullins at the U’s in an advisory role but it is expected that he will depart the Essex club.
🚨 𝙃𝘼𝙔𝘿𝙀𝙉 𝙈𝙐𝙇𝙇𝙄𝙉𝙎 𝘼𝙋𝙋𝙊𝙄𝙉𝙏𝙀𝘿 𝙃𝙀𝘼𝘿 𝘾𝙊𝘼𝘾𝙃 🚨
Mullins appointed as U’s Head Coach following successful eight-game period in charge at the end of the 2020/21 campaign! 💙 #ColU
— Colchester United FC (@ColU_Official) May 13, 2021
Mullins was a caretaker boss on two occasions at Watford but this is his first full-time senior management role.
Steve Ball and Wayne Brown were both sacked by the U’s last season before Mullins came into the club and took up that position.
Chairman Robbie Cowling said: “I’m delighted for Hayden.
“When Hayden came into the club, he understood what we do and that – perhaps not expecting it to be as quick as this – there would potentially be an opportunity for him.
“We owe it to Hayden to be true to what we are as a club and what we do.
“He’s shown what he can do and now he’s going to get the chance to really show it.
“The other thing is, Paul Tisdale played a big part and a lot of people would have seen him in the frame too.
“But Paul has got plenty of opportunities out there and there are a lot of jobs out there at the moment.
“We want to get on with it; we’ve done a lot of work towards recruitment, we know what we want to do and we want to get on with it now.
“We’ve got somebody who ticks all of the boxes – he’s doing the job and doing it well so it really wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
“It was a very easy one.
“Hayden picked up the role when we had eight games to go.
“He picked it up in a really difficult situation and then managed to average 1.5 points a game under those difficult circumstances, which got the club out of trouble and continued to keep us in the Football League.
“As a club, we do like to promote within – Hayden completely gets the club and he knows what we’re trying to do.
“He understands the way we work as a club.
“We try to promote our youngsters and we also try to promote our young coaches as well so it picks perfectly for us.
“Hayden brings with him a lot of experience from the Premier League where he’s played and he was at a big club in Watford as well, where he’s done a lot of his coaching.
“He ticks a lot of boxes and we’re delighted to have him as our first-team coach.”
Mullins arrived at Colchester last September, after being appointed as Steve Ball’s assistant.
But having served as a number two alongside Ball and briefly Wayne Brown, the former Watford caretaker boss stepped up to take interim charge in the final weeks of the season, leading them to League Two safety.
“We’ve tried to create an environment at the club where people can come in and thrive and we’re going to give them opportunities when they’re there and if they do well, we’re going to reward them for that,” said Cowling.
“That’s exactly what Hayden has done.
“Of course, it’s tinged with a bit of disappointment because Hayden has got his opportunity because perhaps others haven’t been able to do it.
“But where Hayden touched on the recruitment that has gone on, I have to give some credit to Steve Ball on that one, because this is what you get from people like him and Wayne (Brown).
“Even though it hasn’t worked out for them they’re loyal to the club and they’ve been working tirelessly, Steve in particular because he did it before Wayne, in going out and identifying what we’re going to need to make sure Hayden is a success.
“That’s how much they care about the club, so we’ve got that in the club.
“That’s probably important for Hayden, to want to do this role, to see that the club backs people and tries to do the best.
“I’m really, really pleased because you want to see people do well.
“I get no bigger buzz than seeing young players and young managers come in and do well.”
Mullins said: “I’m very proud.
“I said 12 months ago when I joined the club that I knew it was a fantastic club – it’s got some really good staff and players and it’s a club that’s got real direction.
“Having left Watford, I thought it was the perfect club for me to come and learn and progress as a coach.
“Albeit this season has had its ups and downs but for me personally, it’s been a great learning experience as a young coach, after what we’ve been through this season.
“It’s been fantastic personally for me to learn and to see what it’s all about.”
Mullins said: “Hopefully there’s a bit of momentum behind us now – we’re going to try and build that and keep pushing that, definitely.
“It’ll be a different group; everyone is aware of the number of players that have left the club and we want to recruit the right type.
“It’s given us the scope to do that and we’ve been speaking to a number of players already.
“There’s some fantastic characters and players and we want to build a really, really good group, not only for the football club but also for the young ones to learn from.
“It’s going to be a good breeding ground for young players, if we get the group right with the players coming in, hopefully we can create a really good environment for the young lads coming in and the senior ones.
“We tried to create that momentum in the final weeks and it comes from the dressing room and the training pitch and it rolls on to a match day.
“We’ll keep trying to push towards that and we’ll definitely try and create an environment for the younger players to grow.
“I’m excited about starting with a group of players and recruit the right ones we want to get in the dressing room and make it the right place, with good players with good quality with the younger ones in and around it.”
Fans reacted as Colchester appoint ex-Crystal Palace, West Ham and Portsmouth player as their new boss…
@TheLatestColU: Well deserved @HaydenMullins14 👏👏👏 #ColU
@Clachan1GK: Well errm happy with this but as long as Tisdale is staying as well
@JoshuaCrysell: Well deserved. Now get Tisdale on a permanent
@Jamie_Hudson_: I highly doubt Tisdale is going to stay on as Assistant to Mullins or advisor mate, it’s another cheaper decision by the club
@ChristianElwis: Tisdale staying would only ever be a bonus. The blueprint for better success on the pitch is in place now. Tisdale doesn’t really need to be here for that. Mullins is capable. It’s more important the playing squad is up to scratch.
@MattCUFC_: I smell an announcement that Ball, De Souza or Hall will be assistant. Or actually knowing Cowling, no announcement. One of them will just be heavily present in the dug out for us to work out for ourselves. What a state this club is in.
@Boley81: Very well deserved let’s all get behind him rather then moan all the time
@glenister_andy: I’m happy with this appointment given the circumstances. Should we have gone with Tisdale & Mullins as assistant, yes. But we have Robbie in charge and that was never an option. I think Mullins has earnt himself a crack at it and let’s hope the boardroom morons don’t interfere!
@josspurs99: Hopefully he’ll get some new faces in
@malachi21328432: Deserved congratulations Hayden 🔵⚪️
@CallumLV: Happy with that!!
@MarshyBoy26: Best of luck to him, always loved Hayden
@Seanslatt3ry: Quality this, smash it Hayden 👏
@_JoeLvr: Please can we just get behind him guys. I know Tisdale brings a lot to the table but we don’t know the full situation with money. Mullins is young, looking to be the main man for first time. Worked with top players at Watford and played a big part in keeping us up #colu
@viewsontheu: Fair play and good luck to Mullins but let’s not kid ourselves the improvement was down to Tisdale and if we gave him the job we’d have arguably the best manager in the division. Let’s make sure the assistant has plenty of experience to help HM. #ColU
@onlyonesteved: Yes Hayden good luck you will smash it!!!!!
@tansley_nathan: Good luck to him ! Lots players leaving with his contacts in the game hopefully we will see some good player come in ! It’s a shame PT didn’t stay but could be many reasons ! Instead being negative let’s get behind HM and what’s probably gonna be a very new U’s squad #colu
@iamappers: on the cheap again…. hasn’t this last season taught you anything Clowning.
@IanFairhead: Congratulations Hayden on your appointment. Can’t wait to see you make your impression on the team
@CymruOllie: Good appointment IF they keep Tisdale around
@Jamie_Hudson_: I’ve had enough, no lessons have been learned at all, Mullins was there during some of the worst performances we’ve ever had and it only worked when Tisdale was there, No lessons are ever learned at this club #ColU
@jodypryke: Right now get Tisdale in somewhere I beg #ColU
@Ollman221: Questions about where tisdale will end up but Mullins deserved this. Yes I think tisdale should have got the job but it would have been a piss take after the effort mullins has done keeping us up.
@JamesLaver11: Just tell me if Tisdale is staying tbh
@benhallidayCUFC: I didn’t believe we would ever be able to afford Tisdale but I also feel Mullins deserves this. He was the Head coach to turned our form around and those 7 or 8 games with Tisdales help at the club may change our fortunes going forward #ColU
@HOLLY3RD: Good luck Hayden! Regarding the Dunning-Kruger lecture you gave us fans earlier in the week Robbie, have you heard about a trait called insanity. Some people say you are insane if you keep doing the same things over and over again and expect a different result 👍 Up the U’s 👊
@_bradmorris_: decent appointment, HAVE to keep tis though
@kimpearce44: Well done @HaydenMullins14
— Liam (@LC_1937) May 13, 2021
Wishing you all the best with this Hayden 👍🏻
Great potential. pic.twitter.com/KoNKdmgpX0
— Notts County History (@magpies_history) May 13, 2021