Colchester United have announced on Tuesday morning that they part company with their manager John McGreal after four years in charge.
The U’s ended up finishing in sixth position in the League Two table, however, they lost out to Exeter City in the playoff semi-finals.
In the same season, he also managed to take them to the League Cup quarter-finals for only the second time in the club’s history, before getting eliminated by Manchester United.
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McGreal said after his side’s playoff defeat: “It’s the toughest feeling I’ve felt as a manager. We didn’t get going for the first part of the game; it took us until the drinks break to change it and I thought the changes worked quite well. We didn’t want half-time to come.
“When we did take the game to them, that’s what we’ve been like throughout the season. They couldn’t live with us at times and we needed to see more of that. We were more than fit, we were more than able but we just didn’t deliver at certain times in the game.”
The 48 year old – who worked at Colchester since 2009 in their academy set-up and has had success with the under 18s team – is still a popular figure at Tranmere, who are currently managerless – where he came through their youth system and earned over 200 appearances as a player between 1990 and 1999 before playing for the likes of Ipswich Town and Burnley.
He was also born just a few miles away from the stadium of Prenton Park and played with club legends John King and John Aldridge.
His record as manager of Colchester stood at 202 games, 76 wins, 55 draws and 71 defeats, giving him a win percentage of 37.6.
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Chairman Robbie Cowling said the following: “Colchester United are seeking a new First Team Head Coach.
I spoke with John McGreal on Friday 3rd July to explain that the club is going to be implementing a new plan that will see the first team being even more tightly aligned to the Academy and that I along with my three other directors, (Tony Humes, Tony Ashby and Jon De Souza), felt a change of First Team Head Coach was required if our new direction was to be successfully implemented.
“This was a very tough decision for a number of reasons, but not least because John has been First Team Head Coach for the last four years.
“This last season has been one of the club’s best seasons for a number of years and John should be very proud of his time in charge of the first team.
“However, the club is not only facing a number of unprecedented challenges but also some unprecedented opportunities and myself and the other directors believe significant changes are required that will be best served with a new Head Coach.
“John has done a great job for Colchester United and I wish him well for his future.”
MCGREAL’S MANAGERIAL STATS:
Colchester United (caretaker): 26 November 2015 until 2 December 2015 – 1 games, 0 wins, 0 draws, 1 defeat – 0.0
Colchester United: 9 May 2016 until 14 July 2020 – 202 games, 76 won, 55 drew, 71 defeats – 37.6 % won
Total: 203 games, 76 won, 55 drew, 72 defeats – 37.4 % won
Fans reacted on social media site Twitter after learning that Colchester part company with their manager, who could just be about to get appointed elsewhere…
Won’t be forgotten due to the cup run but a very below par 4 years with the squads we’ve had
— Harry King (@Harryjking01) July 14, 2020
So he’s gone- but out of our own choice and not to Tranmere? Strange decision but will be interesting to see who we bring in- must someone with academy experience
— Sam Matthews Boehmer (@BoehmerSam) July 14, 2020
Best thing for us we need to start looking outside of the club and bring in an experienced manager
— adamwalker cufc (@adamwalkercufc) July 14, 2020
Right decision. Had 4 years with a good squad to get us promoted and was unsuccessful. Thanks to Mcgreal for the memories. Onto the next season with a new manager. Up the U’s.
— Daniel D????????? (@danield9898) July 14, 2020
I swear if we are being trolled and Humes comes back I’ll be sharpening the pitch fork
— Andy Glenister (@glenister_andy) July 14, 2020
Someone within the club for sure
— shaun daw (@daw_shaun) July 14, 2020
— Mark Watson (@watson37uk) July 14, 2020
Wayne Brown it is then
— Jason van-Haaren (@Jasonvh9) July 14, 2020
Seems harsh from the outside looking in. They had their best season for a few years and he’s done a good job. Hang around the area will you John please, there may be a job up the A12 in November.
— Dave Gaught (@DaveGaught11) July 14, 2020
Cowling is taking the club backwards, never seen a man who always looks over his shoulder do much, the only way with football is to look forwards, but always focusing on the Academy will always keep you playing boy football!
— Mick T (@MickJT1) July 14, 2020
Had 4 years of talented squads and only just sneaked in the play offs once , off to tranmere but won’t be missed .
— HB (@dazzap1234) July 14, 2020
Wow ! Presume that’s a financial decision- surely can’t be a football one?
— Martin (@martw17) July 14, 2020
Seems strong given they finished in top 6? Could well be next ITFC manager
— CRABLITT (@crablitt81) July 14, 2020
— Renegade Statman Ⓜ️ (@chompx3) July 14, 2020
Wish John McGreal the best had a great season last year. Often substitutions left a lot to be desired. Wouldn’t go Wayne Brown atm due to his changing room bust up at Leicester. My choice right now is Kieron Dyer, heard he has been great with youngsters at town #colu
— Kyle Clark (@kyleclark79) July 14, 2020