Colchester United appoint their EIGHTH manager in the last eight years as the club hope to avoid dropping out of the EFL this season.
It was their fifth loss in their opening nine games of the season and left them fourth from bottom, which is where they remained a few games since Brown’s exit, a point off the relegation zone however.
Brown, 45, took interim charge of the club in January after the departure of Hayden Mullins and guided them away from relegation trouble to finish 15th.
He was made permanent boss in May but left after a run of only one win at the start of this term.
After taking temporary charge for a third spell following a run of five league defeats in a row, Brown won his first game in charge at Salford and oversaw a run of seven wins from the final 12 games of the season as Colchester went from just three points above the relegation zone to finish 17 points clear of trouble.
“I accept that many of you will feel I have made a harsh decision, given Wayne’s success last season and given that he has been such an exceptional servant to Colchester United over the years as a player, coach and manager,” U’s chairman Robbie Cowling told the club website.
“However, we have decided to act swiftly and decisively following the team’s poor start to this season.
“As the club’s chairman I have a duty to make what I believe are the right decisions for the long-term future of Colchester United.”
BBC Essex’s sports editor Glenn Speller said: “To the list of Joe Dunne, Tony Humes, John McGreal, Steve Ball and Hayden Mullins, you can add the name of Wayne Brown.
“Colchester’s insistence on appointing from within has yielded little in return other than one play-off appearance under McGreal.
“It is now seven head coaches in eight years for the U’s and the pattern of dismissals is stark. The only difference is how early it has happened this time.
“Brown steered the club to safety last season, so well in fact they finished the season in the top eight of the form table.
“Late recruitment and having so many players under contract from last season did not help Brown but the performances have, for the most part, been flat and uninspiring.
“The hierarchy at the club need to look at why this pattern has become so familiar and realise there has to be accountability.
“For the majority of supporters, doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results has proved to be Colchester’s undoing for too long.”
Matt Bloomfield arrives are the club having previously been a former Ipswich Town academy player who made one first-team appearance, and has been recently coaching at Wycombe Wanderers, having played 559 games for the Chairboys.
The 38-year-old was based in the area of Felixstowe during spells of his Wycombe career and, during his final few seasons, had done some coaching within for Ipswich youth.
It is with immense pride and excitement that the club announces that Matt Bloomfield will take up his first managerial role, ending his incredible 19-year tenure at Adams Park, to become the new Head Coach of League 2 side Colchester United.
Bloomfield, 38, has spent half his life with the Chairboys, arriving as a teenager in 2003 and going on to amass 558 first-team appearances in all three divisions of the EFL, achieving four promotions and playing a major role in the club’s run to the semi-final of the League Cup in 2007.
He was forced to call time on his playing career in February after suffering a serious concussion in his final playing appearance – a League Cup tie at Exeter City in August 2021 – but remained an integral part of the Blues’ coaching setup, working closely alongside manager Gareth Ainsworth on first-team matters as well as helping to nurture young talent in the club’s development programme.
Colchester parted company with previous boss Wayne Brown earlier this month and have selected Bloomfield as the man to lead them forward, with the blessing and best wishes of everyone at Wycombe Wanderers.
Matt said: “I always knew it would have to be something big to take me away from Wycombe Wanderers and I am so excited to begin a new chapter in my career by taking on the role as Head Coach at Colchester. It wasn’t a decision I could take lightly, but I’m honoured to have been given an opportunity to further my career in a managerial position and I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.
“Wycombe has been – and will continue to be – such a big part of my life and I am so grateful for all the opportunities that have come my way, and all the love and support that I’ve received from the fans, staff, players, board and everyone associated to the club. Words cannot describe how privilege I feel to have represented Wycombe for half my life and I will never forget or take for granted how much I enjoyed pulling on the shirt or turning up each day for training with such an incredible group of people.”
Chairman Rob Couhig said: “Matt was born to lead; he was our inspirational captain for many years and made a seamless transition into our coaching staff, where he has displayed his tactical expertise and his tremendous ability to mentor and develop younger players.
“Everyone at Wycombe Wanderers should be proud to have seen him develop from a teenage boy from the youth team at Ipswich Town, to a man who carries the utmost respect of everyone he meets. I have known Matt for just three and a half years but he is one of the most humble, hard-working and honest people I have had the pleasure of meeting, and I have no doubt that he will make a tremendous success of his opportunity to be a manager.”
Manager Gareth Ainsworth said: “It’s a bittersweet day for me, saying goodbye to not just a fantastic coach and person, but also a very close friend who’s been there alongside me for every step of the journey we’ve been on since I joined the club in 2009. But my over-riding emotion is pride for Blooms, earning this opportunity to prove what he can do as a manager and take all of his experiences from his time at Wycombe to turn Colchester around and get them up the league.
“Like with any player who attracts attention from elsewhere, we are not going to stand in the way of someone who has the chance to further their career. I have no doubt that he will cross paths again with Wycombe in the future and I know everyone here – the players, staff, fans and directors – will be keeping a close eye on how he gets on and sending him nothing but the very best wishes and support.”
“Words cannot describe how privileged I feel to have represented Wycombe for half my life.”
Matt Bloomfield leaves Wycombe Wanderers today to become Head Coach of Colchester United.
Good luck, Blooms – and thank you for everything. You’ll be a huge success.#Chairboys
— Wycombe Wanderers (@wwfcofficial) September 30, 2022
Colchester United are delighted to announce that Matt Bloomfield has been appointed the new First Team Head Coach.
Bloomfield joins from Wycombe Wanderers, where he was First Team Coach assisting Gareth Ainsworth for the League One Chairboys.
A long and distinguished playing career saw the midfielder make over 550 appearances for Wycombe over eighteen years, having started his career at Ipswich Town.
He captained the side to League One promotion, and then made sixteen appearances in Wycombe’s first ever season in the second tier before taking up a coaching role with the club.
Off the pitch during his playing days, Matt gained an Honours Degree in Professional Sports Writing and Broadcasting, and in the last year has also gained a Diploma in Football Management, as well as being a UEFA A Licence Coach.
He successfully came through the interview process in the past few days, and Dmitri Halajko, the U’s Sporting Director and the man leading the hunt for the new man, told the official website that Bloomfield was the stand-out candidate to lead the club forward.
“We had a long and detailed recruitment process and we had an outstanding candidate in Matt.”
“His values, football knowledge and expertise of ‘how to win’ really impressed us during the process and aligned with our vision.
“I welcome Matt to the club and can’t wait to start working with him. Matt will be involved in helping the team on Saturday to go and get three points away at AFC Wimbledon.”
🤝 𝐖𝐄𝐋𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐄 𝐌𝐀𝐓𝐓 𝐁𝐋𝐎𝐎𝐌𝐅𝐈𝐄𝐋𝐃
— Colchester United FC (@ColU_Official) September 30, 2022
Matt Bloomfield staggered off the pitch at Exeter last August not knowing that it would be his final game as a professional footballer.
He suffered a freak blow to the head and concussion which abruptly end a proud playing career after 558 appearances.
“I was trying to walk to the tunnel and I kept veering right, towards the away fans, when I was trying to head straight,” Bloomfield recalls. “It is quite a narrow tunnel at Exeter and I was bouncing off the walls to get to the changing room. I was sat in the dressing room and the [club] doctor said I was very agitated and irritable. I couldn’t deal with everything. It all unravelled that evening.”
He returned home to Felixstowe just as his daughters, Rosie, four, and Mollie, six, were waking up. By then Bloomfield had been warned by the club doctor, Bob Sangar, that he might never play football again. “It affected my mood, it affected my energy levels and I struggled to see the light in the everyday activities that I usually love doing with my girls,” he says.
“Things that I usually jumped at doing with them felt like a bit of an effort. They read their stories to me at night and I couldn’t focus on what they were telling me. Sitting with them and them giving me a cuddle with their stories is usually a special time, so I knew I wasn’t right. I thought that it would go within a day or two and a week later I was still feeling the same. I knew it was more serious than some of the other concussions
“I’m not sure I had ever been as focused or determined to prove my point. As you get older, everybody keeps telling you that your days are numbered and I’ve spent the last seven years, since turning 30, proving them wrong and that I can keep going. I was thinking: ‘If I play well and we win tonight, I’m going to show the manager that I deserve to be playing at Cheltenham [in League One] on the Saturday.’ I had set myself up that it was going to be the night I would [show I could] play this season.”
It wasn’t to be however as after visiting doctors and specialists a number of times, Bloomfield retired on medical advice.
“I re-read [the written confirmation] it a few times and then it was just that realisation. I told everyone I was fine and that if this was it, then I’m fine with it but actually dealing with it in my head, knowing I was never going to pull on a Wycombe Wanderers shirt again, never wear my No 10 again and never going to play football again … that was quite a big thing to deal with.”
Bloomfield reckons he has suffered about five concussions in the past four years. He’s determined to raise education around brain injuries and concussions in the game and wants to assist the Professional Footballers’ Association, to increase funds for former players living with dementia and for research, and would change the way players with a suspected concussion are assessed.
“I’ve been fairly vocal in my dealings with the PFA,” he says via The Guardian. “I believe that the player should be taken away to a sterile environment – a physio or doctor’s room – and be assessed properly under bright lights rather than by the side of the pitch in the moment. Even if we’re saying the referee is not going to put any pressure on the physios or the doctors, you’ve still got a crowd, a clock ticking, a score on the scoreboard and players itching to get on with the game.
“As footballers, we don’t take it seriously. I know I didn’t. About 14 or 15 years ago I remember being knocked out on a Saturday and I played on the Tuesday. I’m lucky we’ve got the protocols that are in place now. Whenever I’ve had an injury in the past, it’s been, ‘I’m fine, I’m going to carry on’ because as sportspeople we’re geared towards blocking out pain. ‘I’ve got a performance to put on, we need to get three points.’ My whole life has been around performing on Saturday or Tuesday because that’s how I earn new contracts, pay the mortgage and earn my win bonuses.”
“I forget simple words. There are definitely things I have noticedover the last couple of months and the long-term implications scare me, of course they do. My brain health is fine in terms of the MRI scanning … but these things can develop over time. It scares me, 100% it scares me.” Read more of that interview HERE.
This is what fans had to say as Colchester United appoint their EIGHTH manager in the last eight years…
@_bradmorris_: robbie cowling has just lost all respect among the cufc community
@AdamAdammason16: Good luck to him ignore the haters give it your best and im sure you will do well
@Jamie_Hudson_: “Haters” calling the fans haters because we’ve just hired another manager with no managerial experience after 10 years of failure with it, Adam, stop being ridiculous
@SpencerH2003: Such a big gamble with our league position and EFL status on the line. Surely there were better candidates? Got to get behind him and the lads but doesn’t fill you with much hope. Hardly the exciting appointment that we was promised. 🥱
@butcherleboy: Can’t say I’m delighted but we’ve got to get behind him and give him a chance. Best thing for that is 3 points tomorrow. Bashing the man before he’s had any chance to prove himself isn’t fair #colu
@JoshThorndike8: Might not be exactly what everyone wanted but let’s at least get behind the man and give him our full backing!
@webbinuk: Got not choice but to get behind him as our football league status is at risk. But seriously the most experienced and best applicant? #ColU – I hope this tweet does not age well and he takes us up the Football league, but still…
@WillPress123: have to give him a chance but cowling can fuck of
@GCC_1991: There’s the so called exciting manager we are getting. Someone with literally ZERO experience of managing a football club. Dangerously close to exiting the EFL & Cowling does this. Clown of a man #colu
@HarrisonTuckwe1: Robbie Cowling and his directors have once again proven they are not fit to run the club. Disgraceful #ColU
@wjc2073: Good luck Agent Bloomfield. You know what to do.
@gravett_tony: Good luck Matt this an opportunity you have to grab with both hands. Starting at a decent level even if it is. Col U you’ll be closer to home and your family as well 🤗
@adn_hoops: End of an incredible era but best of luck Blooms 👊💙
@Deep_Blue_Me: Wishing Matt every success in his new role even if it is them 🤣 It’s a great opportunity for him and close to his home so I hope it works out to be everything he hopes. Looking forward to his return as our next manager when Gaz retires 😁💙 #ThankYouBlooms
@HarryNathan404: We finally go external but then go and get the most uninspiring appointment possible that will do absolutely nothing to get the fans back on board and back in the stadium… What a mess #ColU 🔵⚪️ + we have to find out from his old club bcoz our club won’t announce it…
@Richard_Buckby: So Colchester delayed their announcement until 4pm… Clearly didn’t update Wycombe… Now Wycombe have stole their thunder. PR Disaster.
@OliverMorley8: A new low for the club with another team announcing our manager before we do.. 😭😭🤡
@Luke3Bsea: Wycombe announced it before #ColU 🤦🤣 wow.
@TerraceTalk4: My goodness, I was at his first game against Rushden and at his last. So happy for him and doesn’t matter who he goes on to manage, we should have nothing but pride, gratitude, love and total respect for a person who has given everything to us. Thank you Blooms 💙💙