COLE Skuse has left Colchester United and has taken over at Pitching In Isthmian League division north side Bury Town, after announcing his retirement from playing.

In part two of our in-depth interview with the midfielder, he looks back on his time at the U's, in the twilight of an illustrious playing career that spanned nearly two decades.

COLE Skuse may have only been a Colchester United player for two years.

But in the short time he was with the U’s, he certainly made a favourable impression.

Skuse arrived at the JobServe Community Stadium having already enjoyed a stellar playing career, with nearly 600 professional games behind him.

However, the 37-year-old played like he was starting out at the beginning of his career, ensuring he was one of the first names on the U’s teamsheet every week.

“I look back on my time at Colchester with fondness – I’ve loved it,” said Skuse.


“Robbie (Cowling) deserves all of the credit, not just from me but in terms of the football club itself.

“He does a fantastic job and he’s built a fantastic infrastructure at the club.

“I know that he’s trying his utmost to bring success to the football club.

“He deserves a lot of credit.

“In terms of the staff at the club, all of them are very good and are lovely people.

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“On a daily basis, you walk in and are surrounded with good people at the football club who are trying their utmost to bring success.

“I played a lot of games.

“I had a bit of an injury towards the tail-end of last season but that aside, I’ve played quite a few games.

“I’d have loved to have played every single game but in the wonderful world of football, that’s not always possible.”


When Skuse first joined Colchester, he made clear his intention to play as many games as possible.

But the former Bristol City favourite also stressed that he wanted to utilise his vast experience as much as possible to assist the U’s academy players, as they started out in their own professional careers.

Skuse says he has been bowled out by the messages he has received from Colchester’s youngsters, since his departure was announced last week.

He said: “Probably the biggest takeaway from the football club when I left was the reaction and the phone calls and the messages from the young players.

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“The amount of them that reached out and thanked me and how much they appreciate what I’ve done for them around the training ground and on a day-to-day basis, whether under-23, under-18, young pros, it was quite flattering and emotional.

“When I said I was ready to make the decision I made, it was obviously sad.

“But when you see the well wishes and thanks from all of the young lads, it really was quite emotional - it took me back a little bit.


“I wish them all nothing but success.

“Some young footballers can get a reputation and painted in a light that’s not overly flattering but it couldn’t be any further than the truth with the young lads at Colchester.

“They’re such well grounded, humble individuals and they come in every day trying to better themselves.

“They’re often the first ones in the building and the last ones to leave and are doing the right things away from the football club.

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“Both individually and collectively, they’re giving themselves the best chance to succeed.”

Skuse made a total of 75 league and cup appearances for Colchester – scoring once.

That goal proved to be a crucial one, a late winner in the U’s 2-1 victory in a basement battle at Rochdale, in January.


Skuse’s long-range strike skidded off the greasy pitch and squirmed underneath goalkeeper Jake Eastwood and over the line.

Skuse said: “It was an important goal for us, in the end.

“I struck the ball relatively well but it just died in a boggy patch and went under him.

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“I thanked the lucky stars the referee kept the game on, as we knew it had been in some doubt before kick-off.”

So what are Skuse’s standout moments from his time at Colchester?

“Winning the Players’ Player of the Year award was definitely one of them,” he said.

“It’s probably the award that everyone would like to win.


“Meeting some of the people that I’ve met is also up there and I genuinely mean that – they’re great people who I will stay in touch.

“From a selfish standpoint, being able to play the last two years; my three young children being able to come and watch, especially my youngest daughter who’s only four and was only two when I first joined Colchester.

“For her to come and see daddy play football and what daddy does for work is the biggest takeaway from it really and building memories.”

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Skuse is now turning his hand to management for the first time with Bury Town, having hung up his boots.

He is already planning for the 2023-24 Isthmian League division north season with his new club – and has revealed conversations have already taken place about the possibility of bringing Colchester youngsters in on loan.

He said: “It exposes young lads to scenarios and situations that they won’t be used to in 23s football.


“My phone is always on if there’s an opportunity there for that to happen.

“They’ve got some great kids at Colchester.”

Colchester are now planning for a future without Skuse, along with several other experienced players.

It promises to be a busy summer of player movement at the U’s and Skuse says recruitment will be vital.

He added: “Colchester do try and do everything the right way.

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“I hope they recruit well in the summer, which is important.

“Obviously the squad has been stripped a little bit, to the point of recruitment is key.

“They’re going to get interest from players because the training facilities are great, the stadium’s great, it’s a good club.

“I hope the recruitment goes well and they get the right people involved.

“I’ll definitely be back to take in a few games.”