STUDENT HUMES IS NEW U’S MASTER
NEW Colchester boss Tony Humes admits his instant rise from academy chief to manager came as a surprise.
The former Ipswich and Wrexham defender took charge on Monday after Joe Dunne’s two-year reign came to end with the U’s second bottom of League One.
Humes follows the likes of Brian McDermott at Reading and Brentford boss Mark Warburton, who both won promotion after swapping the academy for the dugout.
And with a young team of largely homegrown players taking just one point from their first five games, U’s chiefs are hoping the man who nur- tured them can have a similarly positive impact.
“It was a bit of a surprise when the chairman came and asked me,” said Humes, who learned his trade alongside the likes of Paul Mariner and Arnold Muhren at Ipswich.
“But you can’t turn something like this down. I’ve been in football all my life, from the academy at 16 to coaching. This was the next step.
“Yes, my head is on the block now, but you’d kick yourself if you didn’t seize the opportunity.
“It’s funny because five years ago, I wouldn’t have even contemplated this.
“The definitive time was when the Elite Player Performance Plan came out. I spent time looking at the philosophies of different football clubs, playing a big part in defining the future of this one.
“I was there when we said ‘Right, our philosophy is to promote from within’.
“That’s when it started to sink in that there were things that I could do beyond youth development.
“We’ve got a squad of players who’ve come through the system with us, a big U21 squad below that.
“We’ve already got that relationship with them and I think that’s what the chairman has recognised.”
A relative rookie, Humes admits he will need guidance from time to time. And in his former Wrexham boss Brian Flynn – who once called Humes his finest-ever signing – he has the perfect mentor.
“I spent seven years under Bryan and we still speak,” he added.“He’s said he’ll always be there for me with any advice.
“He was a great man-manager and I hope I can be too.”
GRADUATION: Tony Humes has been given the chance to step up at Colchester following the exit of Joe Dunne, inset