FORMER Colchester United favourite Karl Duguid has parted company with Heybridge Swifts, writes JON LONGMAN.

Duguid, who played 416 games for the U’s and scored 45 goals, looked set to link up with West Ham United legend Julian Dicks, who is currently manager at the Pitching In Isthmian League division north club.

But Duguid has now decided to leave the Aspen Waite Arena to 'explore other football avenues'.

Writing on social media, Duguid said: "Just like to thank everyone at Heybridge Football club for everything they have done for me over the last 3 years, great club and good people.

"I wish the club and team every success going forward."

U's Hall of Famer Duguid has been running a successful post-Covid soccer school in Colchester to get footballers of all abilities back into football, following the pandemic.

Dicks and Duguid looked set to rekindle the dream team as they posed for pictures with fans at the Swifts open day, earlier this month.

Ex-Hammers defender Dicks agreed a deal to take charge of the Swifts officially from Thursday this week.

But Swifts general manager Steve Spreadbury confirmed that Duguid had parted company with the Swifts last Monday, having left initially during the first Covid lockdown period in April, 2020.

Spreadbury said: “I can confirm that Karl Duguid has left Heybridge Swifts to explore other football avenues.

‘We would like to wish Karl good luck on his next venture and the committee would like to place on record many thanks for what he has done at the club and Karl will always be welcome at Heybridge.”

Duguid, who had been second in command to Dicks, moved up to be Swifts manager when Dicks accepted an invitation to join his Upton Park team-mate Slaven Bilic as coach at Championship side West Bromwich Albion.

Manager Bilic and Dicks took the Baggies back to the Premier League as champions but they were dismissed midway through last season in a panic move by the Baggies board.

Swifts chairman Gary White wasted no time in bringing back Dicks to the club after the ex-Hammer said: “I decided not to join Slaven in Japan because we have just had an addition to the family and I want to spend time with my baby daughter.

“I will be looking to join an ambitious club nearer to my Essex home.”

Dicks accepted White’s offer and declared: “I have unfinished business at the Swifts.”

In their first association, Dicks and Duguid had steered Swifts to a surprise away win at Maldon and Tiptree in the 2019 Isthmian Division One play-off final, only to be denied promotion to the Premier League by a controversial FA Pyramid reshuffle that Dicks branded “ridiculous”.

In a further management change at the Swifts, assistant manager Michael Pulford has also departed from the Aspen Waite Arena.