DUGUID, BAD & UGLY!

Colch­ester leg­end Karl on his love of Layer Road and Lo­mana LuaLua

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Chris Dunlavy

TECH­NI­CALLY, Karl Duguid isn’t quite a one-club man. But af­ter 17 years and 467 games over two spells at Colch­ester United, he’s not far off.

When he signed for Ge­orge Bur­ley as a 16-year-old in 1994, the mid­fielder didn’t even know who Colch­ester were and had cer­tainly never heard of Layer Road.

Yet it was to be­come Duguid’s sec­ond home and the scene of his great­est tri­umph as he skip­pered Phil Parkin­son’s men to a place in the Cham­pi­onship in 2006.

Now 36, Duguid – who also spent three years at Ply­mouth – hung up his boots last year and, af­ter leav­ing a coach­ing role with the U’s in Oc­to­ber, has most re­cently plied his trade for Con­fer­ence part-timers Welling.

This gives him plenty of time to re­call the highs and lows of a ca­reer that saw him play with a back­flip­ping star of the fu­ture, get skinned by an Ar­gen­tine in­ter­na­tional and en­joy a prac­ti­cal joke or two with a clas­sic crazy keeper.

FIRST CLUB

I did my ap­pren­tice­ship at Colch­ester. I played for my county in a tri­an­gu­lar tour­na­ment against Nor­wich and Colch­ester and af­ter­wards some­body asked me for my ad­dress and num­ber.

To be hon­est, I didn’t even know who Colch­ester United were – I’m from Hert­ford­shire so I only knew Wat­ford, Lu­ton and the big teams on TV.

But they called me, asked me if I wanted to play a cou­ple of games and be­fore long I was signed up full-time. I made my de­but at 17 against Here­ford and 14 years later I was still there!

BEST MANAGER

Geraint Wil­liams. That might sur­prise a few peo­ple be­cause ev­ery­one re­mem­bers Phil Parkin­son lead­ing us into the Cham­pi­onship and we all know what a good manager he is.

But when Geraint took over from Parky in 2006, he made us a bet­ter foot­balling team that was so en­joy­able to play in.

The team he had around him – peo­ple like Mick Har­ford – cre­ated a great at­mos­phere and Geraint was also one of the nicest peo­ple you will ever meet in foot­ball. He even­tu­ally left us to join Ori­ent and is now the U21 manager for Wales. He’s a very good coach as well – he loved get­ting out on the grass and de­vel­op­ing young play­ers.

BEST TEAM-MATE

For sheer tal­ent, it has to be Lo­mana LuaLua at Colch­ester. He had ev­ery­thing – the tal­ent, the skill, the pace and the power.

He played in the Pre­mier League with New­cas­tle and Portsmouth, but I think he was good enough to have made a big­ger name for him­self. He just lacked that bit of grit and con­sis­tency.

It’s a sim­i­lar story with Sanchez Watt, the ex-Ar­se­nal lad who is at Colch­ester now. He’s the quick­est player I’ve ever seen. Tech­ni­cally, he’s un­be­liev­able. His bal­ance and touch are first class – he’s got ev­ery­thing you need to be a top, top player at the high­est level.

He just needs to learn the ugly side of the game. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not say­ing he should be smash­ing peo­ple and fly­ing into tack­les. That’s not his game. But if he can toughen up, then I don’t see why he couldn’t get back to the Pre­mier League.

FIRST PRO­MO­TION

To League One with Colch­ester in 1998.We’d missed out on au­to­matic pro­mo­tion by a point and lost 1-0 away to Bar­net in the first leg. At that stage, I think ev­ery­one was fear­ing the worst.

But we turned them over 3-1 at our place, then went to the old Wem­b­ley and beat Torquay 1-0 thanks to a penalty from David Gre­gory.

It wasn’t the best game and it wasn’t the best crowd, ei­ther. Eng­land played on the Satur­day and Glenn Hod­dle had re­fused to move the game so we had to play on a Fri­day night, mean­ing hardly any­one made it from Torquay.

But it was es­pe­cially sweet for a lot of us be­cause we’d played at Wem­b­ley the year be­fore and lost to Carlisle in the Au­to­glass Tro­phy – they had blokes like Matty Jansen and Rory De­lap.

We went back to the Grosvenor Ho­tel af­ter­wards – just as we had the year be­fore – and you can imag­ine the con­trast in at­mos­phere.

FUN­NI­EST PLAYER

Gra­ham Stack, the goal­keeper. I was only with him at Ply­mouth for about four months but he’s a fan­tas­tic guy to have in the chang­ing room. I think Mick McCarthy signed him for Wolves just be­cause he was so good for morale.

He’d do some­thing new ev­ery day, whether it was wind­ing up the gaffer or dump­ing a load of saw­dust in some­body’s car.

I roomed with him for a bit, which was pretty per­ilous. But I like a laugh as well and I re­mem­ber our first trip away with Ply­mouth we were go­ing round chop­ping up clothes and fill­ing boots with shav­ing foam. We’d only been there a week!

FUN­NI­EST IN­CI­DENT

While I was at Colch­ester, we played Bournemouth in a league game and two of our lads – Lee Gre­gory and War­ren Aspinall – had a fu­ri­ous row about some­thing on the pitch.

Next thing you know, Lee’s run to in­ter­cept the ball and War­ren just turned around and booted him up in the air!

The ref­eree gave a free-kick to Bournemouth and booked War­ren. Even he was laugh­ing – it was just com­i­cal.

Then two min­utes af­ter he got booked, one of their play­ers has smashed the ball from point-blank range and hit War­ren straight in the midriff. He was down on the floor with ev­ery fan and ev­ery player laugh­ing their head off.

BIG­GEST ACHIEVE­MENT

Cap­tain­ing Colch­ester to the Cham­pi­onship in 2006 and then fin­ish­ing in the high­est po­si­tion in the club’s his­tory – 10th – the fol­low­ing sea­son. I’d been there more than ten years by that point so it meant a great deal.

LOW­EST MO­MENT

Re­tir­ing. Un­til you’re not play­ing any­more, you can’t imag­ine how much it gets to you. To be hon­est, I prob­a­bly left the pro­fes­sional game too early.

I had an op­por­tu­nity to be­come a coach at Colch­ester and, at the age of 35-36, you have to seize that. But, look­ing back, I think I could have played at League One or Two for at least an­other cou­ple of years.

It wasn’t un­til I left the club for good in Oc­to­ber that it re­ally hit me. As a coach, I’d still been around things ev­ery day. Once I packed up my stuff and said good­bye, that’s when you re­alise your life of the last 21 years is over.

TOUGH­EST PLACE TO GO

For some rea­son, I never won a game at Notts County. It wasn’t the fa­cil­i­ties. It wasn’t the crowd. I played there in the sum­mer when the pitch was great. I played there in the win­ter when it was ter­ri­ble. I can’t blame any­thing in par­tic­u­lar - it was just a real bo­gey ground.

TOUGH­EST OP­PO­NENT

Jonas Gu­tier­rez, of New­cas­tle. When I was at Ply­mouth we played them four times – twice in the Cham­pi­onship and twice in the FA Cup.

But the game that gives me night­mares was the FA Cup re­play on a Tues­day night.We lost 3-0 and Peter Lovenkrands scored a hat-trick.

I was play­ing right-back and the gaffer said ‘What­ever you do, don’t let Gu­tier­rez come in­side, he loves to shoot’.

So af­ter about five min­utes I showed him to the by­line and he whipped a cross in for the first goal. Then he skinned me, cut in­side and made the sec­ond.

He was quick, he was strong, he was good in the air. He could go in­side or out­side, left foot or right. He had it all and it’s no sur­prise he played in the World Cup for Ar­gentina the fol­low­ing year. I’ve played against Ar­se­nal, Chelsea, all the big teams at one time or an­other. But that night was the best per­for­mance I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t get near him.

FAVOURITE PLACE TO GO

I’ve got to say Layer Road, Colch­ester’s old ground.The stands were wooden, one was al­most fall­ing down. But the at­mos­phere was bril­liant and the pitch was fan­tas­tic.

I re­mem­ber play­ing Sun­der­land the year they won the Cham­pi­onship and Roy Keane was so com­pli­men­tary. We’d won 3-0 and he said ‘No ex­cuses – that’s the best sur­face we’ve played on all sea­son’.

It’s a sen­ti­men­tal choice but, for me, noth­ing beat a Fri­day night in front of a full house at the old Layer Road.

AM­BI­TION

I’ve got my own coach­ing school in Colch­ester and I’ve just fin­ished play­ing for Welling. Maybe one day I’d like to be a manager but, for now, I sup­pose I just want to be the best coach I can be – wher­ever that may be.

Big­gest achieve­ment: Colch­ester pro­mo­tion Tough­est place to go: Meadow Lane

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

SPE­CIAL K: Cap­tain Karl Duguid cel­e­brates a Colch­ester goal against Chelsea at Stam­ford Bridge in the FA Cup Favourite place to go: Layer Road Best manager: Geraint Wil­liams Tough­est Op­po­nent: Jonas Gu­tier­rez

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