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Your Questions Answered

1 February 2016

Boss gives the lowdown on his time so far.

Colchester United boss Kevin Keen has had a busy first few weeks of management after arriving at the club in mid-December.

A frantic festive fixture period, the opening of the January transfer window and the build-up to the club’s biggest FA Cup match in a generation has meant it's been intense introduction to being the man in the managerial hotseat.

As he prepared for Saturday's Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round time, Kevin took time to answer the fans questions about management, his playing career, his plans for the club and the family that support him every  step of the way.

How hectic has the first month been?
Simon Atkinson, Great Totham
It has been incredibly hectic, with the busy Christmas and New Year schedule.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned so far?
Laura Evans, Ipswich
Two things spring to mind: a) Demands on your time for off field stuff is very high and time consuming as a manager and b) good performances do not always produce winning results.

Under all of the managers you have played under, what was the best motivational half time team talk you had, and have you used it here yet?
Stephen Lowe, Chelmsford
No specific team talks come to mind, but John Lyall and Billy Bonds were good motivators for different reasons. John always spoke very well and knew how to get the best from you and Billy had a passion within that would always inspire.

Having worked under a number of managers, what is the one piece of man management you value above any other?
George Price, Colchester
In terms of man management, I believe positive reinforcement and a ‘well done’ goes a lot further than constant criticism and negative feedback.

Who were the best players you have played with or against?
Sarah Johnson, Stanway
Alan Devonshire and Billy Bonds were the best I played with. Alan Devonshire was a fantastic dribbler and creator of goals and Billy Bonds was a magnificent leader, ultimate winner and could play more than he was given credit for. Peter Beardsley was the best player I played against.

You have been number two at a few clubs now, but what persuaded you that Colchester was the club to take the chance of being number one?
Billy Houghton, Tiptree
I’ve helped to coach a lot of young players through to first team level at the clubs I’ve been at and Colchester United want to bring Academy players through to the first team, so I believe it was a good fit for both of us.

How important is your family to you – both in support around football and generally?
Tony Grant, Chelmsford
I’ve been married to Emma for 25 years and her support has helped me enormously through both my playing and coaching career. Her ability to get me through difficult periods in my career, along with my two sons, cannot be overstated.

Your dad played, you played – is the family tradition continuing?
Lee Brown, Romford
My youngest son Eddie (20) is on a soccer scholarship in the USA and my eldest Eric (23) is a computer analyst in London.

Would you prefer to win 4-3 or 1-0? Is trying to keep more clean sheets your top priority with this squad?
Jon Southgate, Wickham Bishops
Just winning at the moment would be a start and obviously a clean sheet would be invaluable at the moment.

Have you got a person in the football world, not at this club, that you may at times turn to for advice?
Alan Blois
It was my dad Mike for many years, but unfortunately he passed away over six years ago now. I have a handful of football friends that I trust, including Steve Clarke, Alex Dyer and Martin Allen.

You have only been in charge a month so far, but what has been your highlight of being a manager at Colchester United?
Adam Skull
The win against Charlton has to be the highlight. It was one of the few performances by the team that reaped its deserved rewards.

I have heard you have made many changes to the training and the players seem happier. What have you changed in the training regime?
Stanley Sly 
I believe that training needs to be organised, game-related, heavily skill based, at a good match intensity and most importantly enjoyable.

We are searching for that first league win – but what do you think will provide that spark? Big characters, a bit of luck or something else?
Andrew Thomas, Colchester
I keep saying the results haven’t been reflective of our performances and that has been incredibly frustrating as a new manager. I’m not a big believer in luck and so I believe you just have to keep working hard day in, day out and eventually the rewards will come.

What is your favourite memory of the FA Cup as a player?
Oliver Mattock, Colchester
My first senior goal came in the Third Round of the FA Cup v Leyton Orient in 1987. Also playing for Macclesfield Town v West Ham United in my last season as a player.

Do you believe we have the talent to stay up this season?
Oliver Glazebrook 
I do believe we have an extremely talented squad which, on their day, can beat any team in the league.

Will you be looking to continue to give appearances in the league to the club’s Academy players?
Kia Gould
Definitely. A big reason I came to Colchester United was the owner’s passion for the Academy and giving youngsters a chance. I intend to continue this policy and believe this will be of great benefit to the club in the long term.

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