GERAINT Williams says he is not surprised that Wayne Brown has made the transition from playing to management - and is backing his former player to be a success in charge of Colchester United.

Former U's boss Williams led the club to their highest-ever finish in the 2006-07 season when they ended up tenth in the Championship, with Brown at the heart of the defence.

Brown was appointed as Colchester's permanent head coach last month, after a successful period in interim charge.

And Williams, who managed the U's for more than two years between 2006 and 2008, says his former player has all of the right characteristics to be a success in management.

Williams said: “I’m very pleased for Wayne.

“He’s worked hard on the coaching side of the game since he finished playing at the club.

“He was always a leader for me on and off the pitch, as a player.


“He was somebody that when we did the preparations for the match, he would understand what was needed, take it on board and then he would help the other players try to implement that in the games.

“I’m not surprised at all that he’s gone into coaching and I’m sure he’ll be very successful.

“As a player, Browny was a thinker.

“He would listen to what you had to say; then he would sometimes have an opinion back himself and you would listen to that.

“Sometimes as a senior player you would think ‘yep, OK, we’ll give that a go’ or sometimes you’d think ‘no, I understand why but this is what I want to do’.

“So there was that open conversation with us where he felt free and quite rightly to have an opinion and then we would talk to each other and then decide what we’re doing.

“Once that was done, he would follow that and go out onto the pitch and make sure that all of the other players knew what was expected."


Williams was in charge of arguably Colchester's most memorable season of modern times, when they finished only a few points off the play-off places in their first Championship campaign.

A number of players departed the U's for bigger clubs in the summer of 2007, on the back of their exploits that season.

Brown left to join Hull City and Williams admits the defender's departure was the club's biggest loss, that summer.

Williams said: “There were a number of big players that left, after that first year and quite rightly so; they’d done really well and the offers they were getting off clubs we certainly couldn’t match.

“You understood entirely that they’ve got families and they want to look after them.

“If you were looking at players like Chris Iwelumo, Jamie Cureton, Richard Garcia and all of those boys that left, I would say that Wayne Brown was the biggest miss to the team for the next year.

“We still managed to score goals but we couldn’t stop conceding them and Browny was a massive part of that."


Brown took permanent charge at Colchester last month, following a three-and-a-half month spell in interim charge.

After taking charge of a team perched three points above the relegation zone and having lost six successive games, he led the U's to a 15th-place finish in League Two, 17 points above the relegation zone.

“It’s never easy when the team are in a set mode – winning can be a habit but so can losing," said Williams.

“When a team are perhaps struggling to score goals or creating chances but missing them and not actually getting the goals that perhaps their play deserves, they do lose a bit of a belief.


“All of a sudden they think if we concede, we’re not going to get anything out of this game.

“That has to be turned around and the players have to think that the man who’s in charge has got a plan to make sure that that can be turned around.

“The first thing is to get the players to buy into it and Wayne obviously did that.

“He turned results around very quickly, then obviously had a bit of a spell and then towards the end of the season, results came back up again.

“As a coach, you have a belief in the way a team should play and that’s with the ball and defending as well.

“It’s vitally important that you do it and the players believe it and see how it works and if they have any doubts, then you sit them down and talk to them and convince them that that is the right way to do it, or you go with somebody else."

Colchester are now preparing to return for pre-season later this month, ahead of the new League Two season starting on July 30.


Brown will be hoping to carry the momentum gained at the end of the last campaign into the new one and Williams says pre-season will be key.

Williams added: “Confidence is a wonderful thing.

“It’s great when you’ve got it but it’s so fragile when you lose it.

“Wayne has turned it around and the players should if they’ve got any sense buy into what he’s doing.

“What you want now is to get a good pre-season behind you where you can really get an imprint on how he wants the team to play in and out of possession and then get off to a good solid start, work out all of the little kinks in pre-season and hit the ground running when the league season starts."