BACK in January, Wayne Brown was given the tough task of leading Colchester United to Football League safety.

Brown took interim charge of the U's alongside Joe Dunne and Dave Huzzey following the departure of Hayden Mullins, with the club lying in a precarious position, three points above the League Two relegation zone and on the back of five straight defeats.

Brown achieved his objective with plenty of games to spare, with Colchester finishing 17 points above the drop zone, in 15th place in the table and with three wins in their final four games.

The U's promotion winner was a success in his third interim spell in charge of the club - but does he feel it was achievement, to keep the club up?

“I think it’s always a funny one when you talk about achieving stuff in the game, when you’re talking about staying up and surviving in the division." said Brown.

“That doesn’t really sit well with me but that said, with the circumstances when we came in and where the team was and where the club was, our aim was obviously to stay in the division and ultimately, that’s what we’ve achieved.

“We knew the quality that we had to work with and we knew that there was plenty of points to play for.


“But the group wasn’t in a great place mentally, with regard to not winning in the eight games before we came in.

“We started off well with the performances and results that we had and then we had a period where it wasn’t as if we performed badly but we just weren’t getting many points on the board for the performances we were putting in, which was quite frustrating.

“But it’s just been about taking one game at a time which I feel that we’ve done since we’ve been here.

"It’s been about building on positivity and building on really good performances and points will come along.

“I’m a full believer in that and that was the case thankfully, with some really good performances against the likes of Orient, Oldham and Carlisle in the second half, where we deserved a lot more than we got, which was the three points out of those three games and we probably deserved nine.

“It’s about the mentality throughout the squad, throughout the staff and trying to keep it upbeat and positive – thankfully, it’s done the trick."


Brown's spell leading Colchester this season was his third in interim charge of the club.

After a three-game spell in charge in 2015 he was previously at the helm for nine games on a temporary basis in the 2020-21 campaign, winning one of them before Hayden Mullins and Paul Tisdale took charge for the final eight matches of the season.

“I think you’ve always got to learn, you’ve always got to try and improve as an individual," said Brown.

“It was totally different circumstance with a totally different set of players, last year.

“No disrespect to the group that we had here last year but I think this is a different group with a different mentality that’s got more quality and it’s been a pleasure to work with this group of players.

“You’re always looking for improvement, as an individual, as a coach and as a manager and you can only do that with experience.

“The experiences that I’ve had last year can only benefit me with the opportunity that I’ve had this year and I’ll be looking to carry that on in some capacity, next year."


In total, Colchester won nine, drew six and lost seven of the 22 games they played under Brown, this season.

They were competitive in the vast majority of games they played under him, pushing the likes of Forest Green Rovers and Bristol Rovers - who went on to win promotion - all the way.

Brown said: “If you look at the performances against the better teams, the wins against top-six teams like Port Vale and Tranmere Rovers and even in the games that we’ve lost against Forest Green and Bristol Rovers, there’s been some really good, powerful performances.

“We created more opportunities to score goals at Bristol Rovers than we probably did at home to Port Vale – but we ended up losing the game at Bristol Rovers and winning against Port Vale.

“There’s always fine margins in games of football and it’s about getting that little bit of quality in the final third, to punish teams.

“We have done that on occasions and Harrogate was a fine example of that.

“We had a couple of breakaways and some really good passages of play, showed four or five real bits of quality within the game, put two chances away and ended up coming away with the three points with the two goals.

“We know against the top teams that the opportunities are going to be limited but it’s about feeding positivity into the group, concentrating on nullifying the opposition which we’ve done exceptionally well and executing them when we do get the opportunities."


Having struggled to find the net in the first half of the season, Colchester were more productive in front of goal under Brown.

The U's hit the net 29 times in Brown's 22 games at the helm, failing to score on only five occasions.

Brown added: “For the majority of the time, we’ve always created even against the better teams like Forest Green Rovers where we’ve done really well and been really positive in the way that we’ve gone about our business.

“We try and create as many opportunities as we can to score goals.

“Should we have scored more? Yes, most definitely, in games such as Carlisle, Orient, Oldham in the second half.

“We know that but the pleasing thing is that we’ve been really positive in the way that we’ve gone about it and we’ve tried to win games of football by scoring goals."