TONY Ashby has left his role as a Colchester United director.

The former U's academy boss, who had worked as the club's director of football operations for the past three and a half years, has departed the JobServe Community Stadium bringing his 12-year association with the club to an end.

Ashby, who has worked for more than two decades in academy football at professional clubs including Ipswich Town, first linked up with Colchester as an academy coach in 2009 before landing a role as the club's Head of Foundation.

He worked closely with Tony Humes in putting the club's Elite Player Performance Plan programme together and a new coaching model for the U's.

Ashby, who holds both UEFA A Licence and B licence coaching qualifications, played a big part in helping to ensure that Colchester consistently secured vital Category Two academy status.

Ashby worked alongside Sean Thacker in charge of Colchester's youth set-up at Florence Park, after Humes and Richard Hall were elevated to first-team duties, in 2014.

He was added to the Colchester United board of directors in March, 2017.

It saw him deal with more business-related matters and focus on the operational side of the business as a whole, rather than purely the first team or the academy.

Ashby's departure leaves Tony Humes and Jon De Souza as the remaining directors on the club's board, working alongside chairman and owner Robbie Cowling.