A HOST of colourful characters have managed Colchester United since its formation, in 1937.

From the U's first-ever manager - Edwin 'Ted' Davis to current incumbent John McGreal, the club have had an array of different bosses over the years.

In part two of a Gazette article first published in January, 2008, former Gazette Sports Writer Francis Ponder outline the history of the club's full-time managers from 1989 until the present day.

JOCK WALLACE (January-December 1989)

FROM Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers to Fourth Division minnows Colchester United.

That was the path the legendary Wallace took in January 1989.

With England's 1966 World Cup winner Alan Ball as his coach, Wallace transformed the Layer Road fayre, doubling the gates from 2,000-4,000 as the team fought off the drop into Conference football.

Sadly, Ball left for pastures new two months into the 1989-90 season and then a very sick man himself, Wallace was forced to retire soon after.

MICK MILLS (January-May 1990)

EX-ENGLAND and Ipswich Town captain Mills was chairman Crisp's next surprise choice as Colchester boss.

Sadly for Mills the U's were already heading towards League oblivion, leading to his departure when the club finished rock-bottom and were relegated to the GM Vauxhall Conference.

IAN ATKINS (June 1990-July 1991)

CANNY 'Brummy' Atkins was lured away from Ipswich Town to become player-manager for the new Conference era and he laid the foundations of a title-winning team which came within one win of scooping the Conference crown and a return to League football at the first attempt.

Sadly for Atkins, his quest for glory fell agonisingly short, but he made his mark and left the U's for Birmingham City at the end of the season.

ROY MCDONOUGH (July 1991-May 1994)

SIGNED from Southend as a striker by Atkins in the first season of Conference football, McDonough raised a few eyebrows when he was named as the U's new player-manager.

Boosted by the legacy of Atkins' strong squad, McDonough turned safety first football into adventurous all-out attack and was rewarded with a glorious Conference and FA Trophy double - plus a historic trip to Wembley - at the end of his first season.

McDonough's luck ran out when he was sacked after guiding the club into a respectable tenth place in Division Three after their initial season back in the League.

GEORGE BURLEY (May-December 1994)

AYR United boss Burley was handed his first taste of Football League management by the U's following McDonough's departure.

He quickly made his mark after a slow start and had guided the club into Division Four fourth spot when he controversially quit Layer Road on Christmas Eve 1994 to manage Ipswich Town.

STEVE WIGNALL (January 1994-January 1999)

A HUGE favourite with the U's fans as a player for seven years between 1977-84, Wignall quickly set about repeating the feat as a manager when he was tempted away from non-league Aldershot.

Gradually improving the club's performances season-by-season, Wignall reached his pinnacle when masterminding the club to two Wembley appearances in successive years.

The U's were runners-up to Carlisle in the 1997 Auto Windscreen Shield Final before enjoying the sweet taste of glory as Division Three promotion play-off winners little more than 12 months later.

Wignall surprisingly resigned eight months later.

MICK WADSWORTH (February-August 1999)

FORMER Carlisle and Scarborough boss Wadsworth was never a big hit from the moment he was named as Wignall's successor.

His collection of nondescript signings failed to excite the fans and he quit the job after the U's were knocked out of the League Cup at Crystal Palace less than a month into the 1999-2000 season.

STEVE WHITTON (August 1999-January 2003)

SIGNED by McDonough as a U's player in the club's first season back in the Football League, former West Ham and Ipswich striker Whitton worked wonders on a limited shoestring budget to gradually improve the club's standing in Division Two until he was sacked in January, 2003.

PHIL PARKINSON (February 2003-June 2006)

ANOTHER of the most popular managers ever appointed at Layer Road, Parkinson could do no wrong until he left under a cloud to become the new boss of Hull City.

A former Reading captain and coach with no managerial experience, Parkinson continued to move the U's forward in the newly-named Coca Cola League One, capping his near three-and-a-half season reign with a fantastic runners-up spot and promotion to the Championship.

GERAINT WILLIAMS (August 2006-September 2008)

THE seventh former Ipswich Town player to manage the U's, Williams, who did an outstanding job as Parkinson's coach, surprised everyone with a brilliant first season when guiding the club into a final top-half of the table position in the Championship, having been on the brink of the promotion play-offs until the last few games.

Williams left his role in September, 2008 after a disappointing start to the League One season.

PAUL LAMBERT (October 2008-August 2009)

FORMER Wycombe boss Lambert took charge after Williams' departure and led the U's to a mid-table finish, in the 2008-09 League One season.

He brought in a number of players that summer and got the new campaign off to a barnstorming start, leading his side to a memorable 7-1 win at Norwich City.

But a few days later he had quit in controversial circumstances to take over at Carrow Road.

AIDY BOOTHROYD (September 2009-May 2010)

BOOTHROYD took the helm and immediately got Colchester results, leading them into the top seven of League One.

His style of football was not to everyone's taste but it looked as though his side would clinch at least a play-off place in the 2009-10 season, before they fell away at the end.

Boothroyd was gone a few weeks later, quitting the U's to take over at Coventry City.

JOHN WARD (May 2010-September 2012)

HAVING initially worked as Boothroyd's right-hand man, Ward was given the manager's job after Boothroyd's departure.

He ensured that Colchester were a stable force in League One for two seasons before departing his position in September 2012 after a disappointing start to the season.

JOE DUNNE (September 2012-September 2014)

FORMER U's favourite Dunne was a popular choice when he took over as U's manager in September, 2012.

He kept his side up on the final day of his first season in charge with a 2-0 win at Carlisle United and ensured another League One campaign, the following year.

But after a sluggish start to the 2014-15 season, Dunne let his position as U's boss.

TONY HUMES (September 2014-November 2015)

HAVING successfully worked as the U's head of youth for several years, Humes was promoted to the role of first-team boss in September, 2014.

He kept Colchester in League One in dramatic fashion in his first season in charge, leading them to an unlikely 1-0 win over promotion-chasing Preston North End on the final day of the campaign.

However, within a few months of the 2015-16 season, Humes had left his position in charge of first-team affairs.

KEVIN KEEN (December 2015-April 2016)

U'S CHAIRMAN Robbie Cowling diverted away from his previous trend of making in-house managerial appointments when he chose Keen as his new first team boss in the winter of 2015.

The former West Ham United favourite was unable to steer the U's away from the League One relegation zone though.

Keen left his position shortly after Colchester's drop into League Two, after less than six months in the Community Stadium hot seat.

JOHN MCGREAL (May 2016-present)

MCGREAL is now one of Colchester's longest-serving managers of modern times, having now been in the role for more than four years.

He has come close to leading the U's to a play-off position in each of his three season before the current League Two campaign.

McGreal led the U's on one of the most memorable cup runs in their recent history this season, guiding them to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals where they were beaten at Manchester United, having knocked out Premier League clubs Spurs and Crystal Palace along the way.