‘An extremely proud moment for me’ – U’s name Ball as new head coach

Steve Ball is the new Colchester United head coach. Picture: CUFC

Steve Ball is the new Colchester United head coach. Picture: CUFC

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Colchester United have named Steve Ball as their new head coach this afternoon.

Steve Ball has been named as the new head coach of Colchester United Picture: PAGEPIX LTDSteve Ball has been named as the new head coach of Colchester United Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

Ball was assistant to former Ipswich Town star John McGreal, who led the U’s to the League Two play-offs last season, before being sacked in a shock move by club owner Robbie Cowling earlier this month.

Ball, 50, played for the U’s between 1992 and 1996, scoring seven goals, having previously made four appearances for the side in 89/90. He was also on the books at Arsenal, Norwich City and Cambridge United in his professional career, as well as enjoying a two-year spell at top Suffolk non-league side Sudbury between 1996 and 1998.

He’s managed Stanway, Clacton, Leiston and Maldon & Tiptree so far in his career.

MORE: Ex-Town defender McGreal is ‘deeply saddened’ by Colchester United sacking

Steve Ball, left, was assistant to former U's boss John McGreal before he was sacked earlier this month. Picture: PAGEPIX LTDSteve Ball, left, was assistant to former U's boss John McGreal before he was sacked earlier this month. Picture: PAGEPIX LTD

“This is an extremely proud moment for me,” he told BBC Essex. “The town means a lot for me - I was born here, played for the club and coached here for a long time now.

“Everybody has ambition and working with John (McGreal) was a great experience and a big learning curve but I’ve also wanted to progress.

“I had a coffee with John on Sunday and we talked about the role. He wished me the best and there are no issues there.

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“I will put my own stamp on things, there’ll be things I’ll do differently. You have your own ideas as a number two and I want to put some of those into action.”

Cowling said of the appointment: “Steve was a natural choice for Colchester United to make because as well as being an excellent coach, he knows the club inside out having started as an Academy coach.

“He also understands the demands of the first team, having been John McGreal’s assistant for the last four seasons.

“Steve is taking the reins as first team coach at a pivotal time for the club. The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic has forced Colchester United into releasing a number of senior players that I’m sure Steve would have liked us to have kept.

“Steve is likely to have to deal with issues that no First Team Coach or Manager before him has had to endure.

“However, our club is not alone and I trust that everyone is appreciative of our situation and will give Steve their full support.”

Explaining his decision to sack McGreal, Cowling previously said: “I spoke with John McGreal to explain that the club is going to be implementing a new plan that will see the first team being even more tightly aligned to the academy and that I along with my three other directors, (Tony Humes, Tony Ashby and Jon De Souza), felt a change of first team head coach was required if our new direction was to be successfully implemented.

“This was a very tough decision for a number of reasons, but not least because John has been first team head coach for the last four years.

“This last season has been one of the club’s best seasons for a number of years and John should be very proud of his time in charge of the first team.”

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