JOHN McGreal says he still has a 'brilliant relationship' with Colchester United chairman Robbie Cowling.

And the former U's head coach has revealed he returned to his old club for some of their home matches at the JobServe Community Stadium, this season.

McGreal, who led Colchester to the play-offs and Carabao Cup quarter-finals last season, was yesterday unveiled as the new manager of the U's League Two rivals Swindon Town, on a two-year-deal.

It is the 48-year-old's first managerial role since he parted company with the U's last summer, after nearly four years in charge.

Speaking at a press conference where he was unveiled as Swindon's new boss, McGreal said: "It's just circumstances, in football.

"The club wanted to go in a different direction.

"I've got a brilliant relationship with the chairman over there, Robbie Cowling.

"This season, I was able to go over and watch games in a little private box, so he's looked after me in that respect.

"We spoke to each other on the last day of the season because they were in the periphery of going down - I said they had more than enough to stay up and we have a great relationship.

"It's just football decisions at certain times that happen.

"I was able to watch the home games over there.

"I could pick and choose the games, so I watched the likes of Cambridge and stuff like that throughout the season.

"I know Paul Cook particularly well and I've been going in there (Ipswich Town) once or twice a week and just picking his brain.

"Over the last six weeks, I've been going in on my own as such right over the far corner at Ipswich, watching how they train and seeing them putting that training into their games on a Saturday and seeing how Paul works.

"He's had three or four promotions, possibly more - I wanted to use his experience and his knowledge for my next job."


McGreal says he is looking to bring in new players at Swindon, as he bids to secure them promotion back to League One at the first time of asking following their relegation from the third tier, this season.

"We're looking to make a couple of signings with intent to show the supporters that we mean business, this year," said the former U's boss.

"It's going to be a really competitive budget.

"With the budget that we've got, we should be and will be competitive in this league.

"I know how I want to play the game and I know the type of players I want.

"It's exciting times for me and now I can go round and start making the phone calls to get those type of players that I've used over the last four years with the success we had at Colchester to bring into Swindon and try and win games of football, to get into the top seven and get promoted."