ROY Massey has enjoyed a hugely impressive coaching career.

And this weekend, he returns to the place where it all started – Colchester United.

The former U’s youth coach, who helped oversee the progress of the likes of Ian Allinson, Perry Groves, Tony Adcock and Steve Leslie over a period of nearly 20 years, will be in the Legends Bar at the JobServe Community Stadium prior to the U’s home clash with Barrow, signing copies of his book ‘A Life in Football and Coach to the Stars’.

Roy’s time at Colchester ultimately paved the way for a brilliant career in coaching and academy development, including a fruitful 16-year stint at Arsenal, where he helped develop talents like Bukayo Saka, Jack Wilshere, Emile Smith-Rowe and Alex Iwobi.

READ MORE: Matt Jay 'will be involved' for Colchester despite EFL omission

“It really is something to look forward to,” said Roy, who also played as a centre-forward for the U’s prior to beginning his coaching career.

“Colchester United saved my life, at the end of the day.

“They gave me a testimonial when my career finished unfortunately through injury.

“Dick Graham offered me a lifeline – he said if I got a teaching job in Colchester, then I could run the youth policy which was only just starting and I ran it for about 20 years, more or less.

“I had some great times and some really good players came through at that time as well.


“it gave me a stepping stone to move to Norwich and then to Arsenal, so I’ve got a lot to thank Colchester United for and the people who were there at the time.”

Roy's playing career was cruelly cut short by injury at the age of 27, in March, 1971.

Roy began working with Colchester’s youth set-up in the early 1970s, combining his coaching while teaching at the Gilberd School, Stanway School and Thomas Lord Audley School.

“Layer Road brings many happy memories, both as a player and seeing young boys make their debut for the first team,” said Roy, who who retired from his role at Arsenal eight years ago.

“Cyril Lea was manager for a number of years when he ran the youth team and he gave the likes of Lindsey Smith and Rudi Hedman their debut.

READ MORE: Brad Ihionvien makes U's vow after scoring winner

“Noah Chilvers is captaining Colchester at the moment and it’s great reward for anyone who works within an academy to see a young lad come through from a young age and be a regular and to be captain is a great achievement.

“All credit to the people around him who developed him from such an early age.”

The last time Roy was at the JobServe Community Stadium he saw in action for Colchester two of the players he signed at Arsenal at the age of eight – Sanchez Watt and Craig Eastmond.

Colchester were in English football’s third tier then but have struggled to preserve their League Two status over recent seasons.

“I feel ever so sad when I look at the league tables over the last three or four years with the club more or less just avoiding relegation,” said former centre-forward Roy, who bagged 11 goals in his first 13 appearances for Colchester.


“It must be very difficult for all concerned, particularly supporters and coaching staff to get the best out of those players.

“It’s very difficult when you get into a bit of a rut and probably difficult to attract top players to come along, because players want to go to a winning team and be in a side that’s looking to gain promotion.”

Roy is looking forward to being back at Colchester this weekend and catching up with some of his old friends and acquaintances.

He will be signing copies of his book about his eventful 50 years in professional football.

He added: “I’d love to see old friends and supporters, youngsters that I used to teach, because Colchester as a town was absolutely brilliant for me.

“I raised three children in Colchester after coming from Orient in 1969, not knowing where Colchester was!

“I stayed there for over 20 years and I had some wonderful times and met some really nice people and great friends.”