TOM Eastman will be leaving Colchester United when his contract expires this summer, ending his long association with the club.

The reliable defender has been a fans’ favourite at the JobServe Community Stadium, clocking up more than 450 appearances for the U’s over a 12-year period.

In part two of our interview with Eastman, he talks about his loan spell at Harrogate Town, the possibility of a testimonial and why he will always look out for Colchester's results.

TOM Eastman says he relished the opportunity to play regular football again during his loan spell at Harrogate Town.

The experienced defender is now plotting his next move, following his release from Colchester United after 12 years at the club.


Eastman left the U’s on loan in January to join their League Two rivals Harrogate and played a big part in helping them remain in the EFL.

The 31-year-old made 21 appearances for Simon Weaver’s side and played almost every minute of every game, after debuting for them against Sutton United.

Eastman said: “The manager (Simon Weaver) up there trusted me and I basically played every minute of every game, aside from five minutes at the end of the last game.

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“I really enjoyed my spell and hopefully, that’s something I can carry on with, wherever I end up.

“I had a really great time at Harrogate and I’ve been back in the team, playing every week.

“I missed that at Colchester, especially over Christmas time when I wasn’t in the picture.


“I really enjoyed going up there, playing football and being back amongst it.

“I kind of sensed that my time at Colchester was coming to an end.

“They changed manager and it wasn’t a great sign that I hadn’t spoken to anyone at Colchester since January.

“I’ve had a great time at Harrogate over the last three months and hopefully, something can happen, next year.

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“The aim was to stay up when I was brought in at Harrogate and we did that, with a few games to spare.

“We had quite a good run and we didn’t lose too many games.

“I really enjoyed my time there and the staff and players really took me in.

“The loan to Harrogate was different and something that I’ve never really done before.


“I’ve got my family down here and I went up there on my own for three months, which was obviously a bit different to anything I’ve done.

“But I really enjoyed the football side especially, being back in the team.

“Being on that pitch every Saturday-Tuesday is what any professional footballer wants to do and hopefully, winning games.”

Eastman is leaving Colchester having made 464 appearances for the club after joining them from neighbours Ipswich Town in the summer of 2011.

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He is the U’s seventh-highest appearance maker of all time, prompting many fans to call for the defender to be granted a testimonial by the club.

Eastman says he would love to say a proper goodbye to the Colchester fans but admits there are currently no plans for such a match.

“There’s nothing in the pipeline that I’ve heard of,” said Eastman, who made his final appearance for Colchester in their defeat at Sutton United, last December.

“I’d have loved to have had a testimonial but it hasn’t been the case.


“It was almost one of those things where because I thought I’d still be there for a few more years to come, I didn’t really think that it would come and all of a sudden, I’m out of the door on loan at Harrogate and the opportunity has gone.

“Maybe now it’s a bit more difficult to have it because I’m not at the club anymore, so I’m not sure what’s going to happen.

“But I’d have loved to have had the opportunity to say thank you to the fans for supporting me for so many years.”

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So what does the future hold for Eastman, now that he has been released by Colchester?

Eastman said: “I still think I’m good enough to be playing at this level.

“As I showed at the end of this season, I went to Harrogate and had a good spell.

“When I was at Harrogate, I made my 500th appearance so it’s another good landmark.


“I still feel good, I still feel fit and I still feel like I can carry on for many years to come hopefully.

“It’s still early days but I’ve hopefully got a few things in the pipeline that are hopefully good for me and my family.

“They’ve been with me for the last 12 years at Colchester and they’ve supported me the whole way through.”

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Eastman’s long association with the U’s is coming to an end, this summer.

But the Colchester-born defender says the club will always hold a place in his heart.

He added: “Even when I was on loan, the first thing I would check after a game would be their result.

“I’ll definitely always be looking out for Colchester, in the future.”