Colchester United all-time top 10
Listing an all-time top 10 for Colchester United is a relatively easy task for most U’s fans, as the club’s most successful era (during which time the team had its first and only promotion into the second tier of English football) only spanned a few seasons. Between the years of 2005 – 2007/8, Colchester United had its greatest success in the history of the club. Consequently, the majority of Col U’s best players are from that time. However, the people of Colchester have seen some wonderful players over the last 80, or so, years. Therefore, there a few oldies (but goodies) in there too.
So, after a bit of poking and prodding around social media and online forums and without much further ado, here are the all-time top 10 players that have ever put on that beautiful blue and white shirt for Colchester United as chosen by the fans (well, the ones that bothered to reply anyway).
(In no particular order):
1.Tony Adcock – You cannot talk about Colchester United legends without this man’s name coming up. It’s pure Col U sacrilege. Adcock is Colchester’s all-time top scorer with 149 goals and he was officially inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame at The U’s last game at Layer Road in 2008. Adcock started his career at the little Essex club in 1981 and there he stayed until eventually signing for Manchester City in 1987. However, that was not the last the Layer Road faithful had seen of Adcock. After travelling between a number a clubs (perhaps most notably, Peterborough where he is also in the Hall of Fame), the prodigal son returned to Colchester in 1995. He enjoyed four more years with his original club until eventually signing for local non-league club Heybridge Swifts and then eventually, finishing his career in 2000.
2.Tony English – Another Tony that it would be a crime to omit from any conversations about Col U legends. Tony English is what you would call a ‘one club man’ (although he’s from Luton and The U’s got him from Coventry and he signed for a number of non-league clubs after leaving Colchester) but regardless, if you ask any Colchester fan, ‘Is there a player you could say is a one club man?’ they’d be guaranteed to say Tony English. Now, admittedly, much like Tony Adcock, English is a little out of my time zone but I am assured he was a terrific defender and played solidly and loyally for Colchester United between 1985-96 and chalked up 517 appearances. If there is such a thing, Tony English is firmly part of Colchester United Heritage and that’s why he’s in this top 10.
3.Karl Duguid – Once voted as Colchester United’s best ever player, Duguid should really top any list associated with ‘the best of’ anything to do with Colchester United. ‘Doogie’ made his first appearance for The U’s in 1995 and went on to make 470 more over a 16 year Col U career. He was a fantastically versatile footballer with the ability to play just about everywhere on the pitch. The passion, loyalty and love he showed while playing for The U’s brought him fully into the hearts of the fans. Not to mention his skill, quality and ability to play brilliant football. He was part of that unforgettable squad that famously got Colchester into The Championship and his services to the club were recognised in 2016 when he was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.
4.Jamie Cureton – The first player to score more than 20 goals in a season for Colchester United in 22 years (the last was Tony Adcock), although his time at the club was short, Cureton will be remembered for a long, long time. ‘Curo’ (U’s fans nicknames were also ever so inventive) was 30 when he signed for Colchester in 2006. His club Swindon had just been relegated to League Two while The U’s had just been promoted to The Championship. Curo had indeed played for the Essex club during their promotion season on loan from Swindon but signed permanently in the summer of 2006. The little striker went on to score 24 goals that season, earning him the golden boot and a place forever in the hearts of the good people of Colchester. He scored a massive 31 goals in 56 appearances for Colchester (the 3 most notable were away against Southend in 2007. I don’t think many U’s fans will forget that away day). After only one full season at Layer Road, Cureton subsequently signed for Norwich in the summer of 2007. A short but incredibly sweet time for player, club and fans.
5.Kevin Watson – I have to admit that I was surprised about how long Watson or ‘Watto’ as he was affectionately known (those U’s fans and their creative nicknames again) was at Colchester United. Judging by his reputation at the club, I had him down as a real long termer but he actually only spent four years at the club. However, during that time, he was right in the middle (literally) of Col U’s greatest success. The central midfielder played a pivotal role in getting Colchester into The Championship and helping them to their highest ever finish in the club’s history. For that, he’ll always be remembered by U’s fans and that’s what makes him one of the all-time top ten players for the club.
6.Wayne Brown – The big, bald central defender who was a rock in the middle of the defence of the team that (you guessed it) won promotion to The Championship in 2006. Brown actually played for Colchester on three separate occasions but eventually signed permanently in 2004. His no-nonsense style of defending, passion and hard-working attitude threw him into the loving arms of the U’s fans. He’ll be remembered for his outstanding performances which got him Player of the Season for 2005-6. Unfortunately, as with so many of that wonderful crop of players, Brown left in the summer of 2007. However, he has now found his way back to Col U as the U23s manager. Needless to say, The U’s fans are certainly glad they haven’t seen the last of good ole ‘Wayno’.
7.Kemal Izzet – 2011 Hall of Famer Izzet was at Colchester for 12 years. Once again, he’ll be immortalised as being part of that infamous squad that took lowly little Col U into The Championship in 2006. He signed for The U’s in 2001 after failing to make the first team squad at parent club Charlton. He stayed on at The U’s and became an ever-present force in the centre of midfield for the next 12 years. Truthfully, he was never the best player on the pitch and most Colchester fans rolled their eyes every time he tried for a shot but if he wasn’t in the team, he was sorely missed. In 2013, he left The U’s and, surprisingly, signed for non-league Needham Market. However, it seems that Izzet’s legacy lives on at Colchester with academy product Tom Lapslie playing the same position and a very similar style to his predecessor. No doubt many fans of old would be making that very complimentary comparison.
8.Chris Iwelumo – The great big Scot, who was signed in 2005 to bring some much needed firepower to United’s frontline, was even more unknown than the lower league German side Phil Parkinson signed him from. But it wasn’t long before the Col U football faithful were chanting the big man’s name. Iwelumo became the main man for the little Essex team thanks to his big presence, penalty taking abilities and goal scoring prowess. The Great Scot scored a huge 19 goals during Colchester’s 2005-6 promotion campaign and a massive 18 throughout the following season in The Championship. His partnership with Jamie Cureton during the 2006-7 campaign became the most formidable in the league (perhaps England? Why not!). Colchester are a club that he still holds dear to his heart and no doubt that the feeling from the U’s fans is reciprocated.
9.Neil Danns – The little Scouser was (once again) part of that wonderful squad that got that Little Layer Road side into the country’s second tier in 2006. The attacking midfielder scored a total of 28 goals in 87 appearances over a span of two seasons. Danns was a star player for Colchester since the day he arrived. Indeed, he made team of the season for League One in 2006. The midfielder was the first casualty of the mass Col U exodus that followed from the successes of the club over those wonderful years. He made a big money move to Birmingham and hasn’t stopped finding clubs since.
10.Mark Kinsella – Now there are a lot of players who could have made it onto this list from Colchester’s other infamous period in its history. Irishman Kinsella is on this list as part of The Almighty U’s early nineties Vauxhall Conference promotion and FA Trophy winning side. Now, sadly, I wasn’t actually born when all this happened but from what I’ve heard and seen, this team was a force to be reckoned with and one that created Colchester’s current loveless infatuation with Wycombe. Kinsella, the two-time player of the season winning midfielder, had 8 strong seasons at The U’s, making 283 appearances. He was part of that team with Roy McDonough and co that not only took Colchester to Wembley but won there too.
Written by D3D4 Colchester United correspondent Piers Palmer. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @Piers_Palmer