Sean Clohessy says he jumped at the chance to join Colchester United.
The former Southend United right-back has signed a two-year deal with the U’s, after leaving Scottish Premier League side Kilmarnock.
Clohessy, 27, made more than 150 league and cup appearances for the Shrimpers, during a successful three-year spell at Roots Hall.
He said: “As soon as the chance came up, it was always going to happen.
“It was the plan to come back south and recently I’d had one or two family problems that concereted it and made me want to come back even more.
“My agent spoke to the manager last season but it wasn’t able to happen for different factors.
“But once I knew Colchester were interested again, it was always going to happen.
“It was a long distance to go to Kilmarnock and it was the first time that I’d been away from home.
“It’s challenging and you realise what you want.
“I wanted to go up there and play with - and against - some really good players and it was an eye-opener.
“The Scottish Premier League is a very good standard and it needs a lot more credit than it gets.
“But with the chance to come back, it was always going to happen.”
Clohessy is one of three new signings the U’s have made today, with Ben Gordon and Chris Lewington also signing.
Dunne said: “We’re delighted to secure Sean, because we had to work hard to secure him.
“I tracked him for a long time.
“I remember him being in the youth team at Gillingham and I’ve always admired him from there.”
For more on all three new U’s signings, see Wednesday’s Daily Gazette.