IT has been another eventful season in the history of Colchester United.

After the trials and tribulations of the previous campaign, where the U's narrowly avoided relegation from the Football League, hopes were high that this year would be a much more productive campaign for the club under newly-appointed head coach, Hayden Mullins.

Unfortunately, that did not materialise and by January - and with Colchester perched perilously just above the League Two relegation zone following five straight defeats - Mullins and his assistant Alex Dyer departed the JobServe Community Stadium.

Wayne Brown was placed in interim charge for a third time and working alongside former U's player and manager Joe Dunne, along with academy manager Dave Huzzey, impressively steered the club away from danger and to a 15th-place finish.

Indeed, Colchester ended the season very strongly with ten points from a possible 12, offering hope that better times lie around the corner.

The Gazette looks at some of the highs and lows for Colchester United, in the 2021-22 season.



AFTER the substantial recruitment that took place last summer and the number of experienced players drafted in, the expectation among Colchester United and their fans at the start of the season stretched a lot further than merely surviving in the division.

Nevertheless, given the U's precarious position above the relegation zone at the start of the calendar year, successfully retaining their Football League status was something of an achievement for the club.

Colchester had lost five successive games when Hayden Mullins departed and Wayne Brown replaced him as interim head coach, in January.


It was a tough task for Brown and his coaching team to lift the club away from danger but the fact that they did and finished so strongly was a big plus for the club, to put it lightly.

In short, Brown and his coaching team did an excellent job in keeping the U's up and steering them to a position where they finished the season 17 points clear of the relegation zone.

You only have to look at the likes of Scunthorpe United and Oldham Athletic to see that League safety is by no means guaranteed for any club, even if you do change your manager halfway through a season.


IN his third interim spell as Colchester United head coach, Wayne Brown achieved his main objective of keeping the club up - and in some style.


When he took over in January, with the U's in a bad way and deep in relegation mire, Brown's message to his players was simple.

“It’s just about filling the lads with confidence, getting them into a mental head space where they are going onto the pitch thinking and knowing that they’re going to get results and that will only come when the points starting getting on the board," he said prior to his first game in charge against Salford City.


The U's ran out 3-0 winners at Moor Lane and went on to avoid relegation with plenty of games to spare.

Indeed, Colchester ended up as League Two's fourth-highest team in the form table in the final eight games of the season, after amassing 16 points in that time.

It was a case of mission accomplished for Brown, which is why the U's promotion winner is set to be named the club's permanent head coach in the coming days.


THIS time last year, Colchester United were finishing their season in an empty stadium up at Prenton Park.

Like their fellow EFL clubs, the U's had played almost the entire 2020-21 campaign behind closed doors, due to Covid-19 restrictions.

That's why it's been so refreshing to have Colchester fans back at the JobServe Community Stadium - and up and down the country - supporting their team.


The U's supporters have not always had a lot to shout about, this season.

But they have got behind their team rain or shine and over recent months, the connection between Colchester's fanbase and the club seems to have grown stronger.


IT was somewhat fitting that Colchester United's final goal of the season should be a strike of the highest quality.

Chay Cooper's wonderful long-range effort in the 2-0 win at Hartlepool United would not have looked out of place on Match of the Day's Goal of the Month competition.

It was not the only spectacular goal that the U's scored, in the 2021-22 campaign.


Junior Tchamadeu won the club's Goal of the Season accolade for his superb stoppage-time winner against Tranmere Rovers, his first-ever professional goal.

But Alan Judge’s incredible long-range strike against Rochdale was also up there, along with the likes of Noah Chilvers' fine solo goal at Scunthorpe United and Freddie Sears' cool finish at Barrow.

There were plenty to choose from.


THERE'S been plenty of late drama in Colchester United's home games, this season...and most of it has been in their favour.

Who could possible forget Emyr Huws' dramatic - and highly unlikely - equaliser in time added on against Swindon Town back in January, when the U's only had nine men?


Or Junior Tchamadeu's aforementioned wonder strike deep into stoppage-time against Tranmere Rovers?

Then there was Tom Dallison's crucial late winner against Port Vale, not forgetting Freddie Sears' late, late penalty against Mansfield Town in the U's second home game of the season.

Late goals also went in at the other end, with Colchester dropping points in home games against both Leyton Orient and Carlisle United in the closing stages.

But generally, the U's benefited from some strong finishes and there was a hint of what might be to come when prior to taking charge of his first game, Brown said: “We don’t want to hang on for draws or stay in games, we want to win the game and if that’s in the first minute, brilliant; if it’s in the 92nd minute, brilliant – but that’s our aim."



THE departure of Hayden Mullins and Alex Dyer from Colchester United was tough to see.


There is no doubt that the head coach and his assistant worked tirelessly to try and make it work, during their short time at the club.

There were some positives results under Mullins in the opening half of the campaign, notably against Exeter City, Harrogate Town and Barrow.

But a run of five successive league defeats that left the U's perched just above the bottom two ultimately led to Robbie Cowling taking action.

Nevertheless, it was disappointing that Mullins was unable to get the results that everyone had hoped for, especially after he had played such a big part in helping Colchester avoid relegation, in the previous campaign.


IT seems like a distant memory but only a few months ago, Colchester fans were turning up at games waving banners and protesting against the club's ownership on a regular basis.


It made for a toxic atmosphere within the JobServe Community Stadium and results and performances at the time did not help matters.

When Mr Cowling was confronted by an angry group of fans outside the stadium following a miserable 2-0 home defeat to Barrow on January 15, it was a development that the club could have done without.

The banners and chanting was still in evidence at Salford, when Wayne Brown presided over his first game in interim charge a fortnight later.

But the 3-0 victory at Moor Lane helped begin the process of changing the mood and by the end of the season, there seemed a stronger unity between club and fans.


AFTER a season without fans at games, Colchester were delighted to welcome back their supporters to the JobServe Community Stadium.

But for a variety of reasons, crowd numbers were pretty disappointing for U's home games on their return to the venue.

In the 2021-22 season, Colchester's average attendance was 2,813, the sixth lowest in League Two.


That compares to an average attendance of 3,634 in the 2019-20 campaign, prior to the pandemic taking hold.

Some will point to the club's decision to persist with bubbles and permits, throughout the whole of the season.

Others might suggest that the drop in numbers was down to performances and results on the pitch, especially at home (see below).

Whatever the reason for the decline, the U's will be hoping that their strong finish to this season will encourage more people back to the stadium, in the next campaign.


HALF of Colchester United's wins at the JobServe Community Stadium this season came in their final six home matches.

They were crucial victories, with the nine points gained against Tranmere Rovers, Port Vale and Bradford City ultimately contributing to their League Two survival.


Generally though, the U's form on home turf was disappointing and was a key factor in them struggling near the bottom of the table.

Their disappointing home record - consisting of six wins, nine draws and eight defeats - was the fifth-worst in the division.

Only Hartlepool United, Carlisle United and Scunthorpe United scored fewer than the 25 league goals the U's managed, on home territory.

Indeed, Colchester gained ended up winning two more league wins on the road than they did at the Community Stadium.


SUFFERING a long-term injury is always tough for any professional player.

But it was particularly disappointing to see U's academy product Ryan Clampin sidelined for much of the season with a serious knee injury.

The athletic left-back had started the season well and had looked effective in tandem with equally energetic right-back, Cameron Coxe.


But sadly, Clampin's season ended in front of the TV cameras, in the opening stages of Colchester's FA Cup win at neighbours AFC Sudbury.

Clampin has been working hard on regaining his fitness over the last few months.

It will be great to see him back in pre-season and raring to go, after experiencing such a tough time of it on the sidelines.