STEVE Ball says he is relishing his recruitment role with Colchester United.

And the former U’s head coach says he will always have a strong bond with his home-town club.

Ball is now working in a player recruitment role at the U’s, having previously served them as a head coach, assistant manager and in academy coaching roles and also enjoyed two spells at the club, as a player.

The 51-year-old has been working in his current role since February, having been brought back by chairman Robbie Cowling soon after his seven-month reign as Colchester boss came to an end.

Ball has played his part in attracting seven new signings to the JobServe Community Stadium so far this summer - and says he is enjoying his latest role at the club.

Ball said: “I’ve got such a strong passion for Col United and Robbie and what the club is about.

“There’s some great people and it’s like a family vibe.

“I go back to 1990, when I first played for the club.

“I’ve got such a strong bond with the club and I’m never going to lose that.

“I was out of the club for two weeks and then the chairman rang me.

“I’ve got a great relationship with Robbie and a lot of respect for the man - I’ve worked for him for over ten years and he’s a brilliant chairman.

“He’s got the club’s best interests always at heart, so it was a no brainer for me.

“I sat down with Robbie and there was a discussion about recruitment.

“I’m in a good position to know over the years in recruitment what I feel the club needs.

“I know the level and the leagues inside out so to come back to the club in recruitment was an exciting challenge and I’m really enjoying it.

“I turned down the chance to go with John (McGreal) to Swindon, which has proved to be a good thing.

“Do I miss being out on the grass? Of course I do, because that’s what I really love doing.

“But I’m in a good position now, in the club."


Ball took charge of Colchester last July, inheriting a squad that had lost the talent of experienced players such as Luke Prosser, Frank Nouble and Ryan Jackson.

However, the U’s started the season well and found themselves up and around the play-off places towards the end of 2020.

But a 13-game winless run ultimately led to Ball being replaced as Colchester’s head coach in February, with Wayne Brown and then Hayden Mullins taking interim charge.

“I was obviously disappointed to lose my job as head coach, which is natural,” said Ball.

“I’m always going to say that there were so many factors behind why that happened but I’m now fighting for the club more than ever.

“That’s what I’m about.”


Ball gave a host of Colchester’s youngsters their first-team chance last season, with Noah Chilvers (pictured above) the biggest success story.

The U’s academy product was handed his first-ever league start by Ball in their opening-day draw at Bradford City.

The young midfielder did not look back after that, scooping both the club’s End of Season Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year awards, following a hugely impressive breakthrough season.

Ball added: “One of my biggest buzzes was bringing Noah through.

“He’s such an excellent young player and just think of the experiences that he had, last year – he probably had three seasons put into one!

“He had three different coaches, a relegation fight, a promotion fight – he’s had so many challenges.”