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Academy Manager Steve Foley Honoured

By MARK EASLEA

Colchester United Hall of Fame inductee Steve Foley on Layer Road life

Steve Foley remembers exactly how much was in his first pay packet as a Colchester United first-team player.

But after making his U’s debut as a teenager in 1971, he only ended up keeping half of it.

“I think my first wage was £8 a week – and I had to give £4 to my mum,” said the Colchester stalwart, who went on to make more than 300 appearances for the club during a decade of playing at Layer Road.

Foley’s huge contribution to Colchester as both a player and coach was acknowledged at the weekend, after he was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame at the club’s Former Players Association dinner.

Having joined the U’s as a 16-year-old apprentice in the summer of 1969, the Clacton-born midfielder did not take long to make his mark.

Dick Graham gave him his Colchester first-team debut little more than two years later when they hosted Exeter City – and he made an immediate impression.

But while Foley immediately stamped his mark on the game with a two-goal brace, he still has one big regret from that game against the Grecians.

“I made my debut for Colchester when I was 17 and we played Exeter in an evening game,” recalls Foley, who was nicknamed ‘Zora’ during his time at the U’s.

“I scored two goals and we were 2-0 up and we got a penalty.

“They chucked me the ball and said go and get your hat-trick and I bottled it!
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“I didn’t take it and the penalty-taker missed it as well.

“That was my very first game and my biggest regret.

“I owe a lot to Dick Graham who was the manager at the time and also the people who spotted me, as well.

“To be fair to Dick, I wouldn’t say he was a great coach but he made you work and if you don’t work in this life, then you don’t get anything.

“If you look at the top players now, they work hard – it’s as simple as that.”

Foley went on to score 56 goals over the space of a decade for Colchester between 1971 and 1981 and helped the club win promotion twice in 1974 and 1977.

He eventually left the U’s as a player in the summer of 1981 but returned five years later, though, joining the youth team coaching staff as an assistant to boss Roy Massey.

Foley went on to serve Colchester as youth-team level as a coach and had three separate spell as caretaker boss of their first team

He took over as youth team boss from Massey and, after a brief stint at Watford, he returned back to Layer Road.

Foley later worked for both Norwich City and Ipswich Town in various coaching capacities along with within the local non-league scene – but there is one club that is always closest to his heart.

“Having been at Colchester, Norwich and Ipswich, people always ask me who my favourite club is and for me it’s my first love and that’s Colchester,” he said.

“Having been born in Clacton many years ago and getting a couple of buses to get to Colchester first thing in the morning, sweeping the terraces, I’d do it all again.

“I used to paint the place at Layer Road and cut the pitch and that’s how it was.

“I’ve still got all of my contracts.

“Colchester’s result is the first I look for. I just want them to win promotion and get on.

“I hear some negativity about the stadium not being the same as Layer Road but things move on and that’s life.”

Updated 11:34 - 6 Mar 2019 by MARK EASLEA

Where next?

Sad News Deepest Condolences from all at Needham Market FC
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Thu 21 Mar
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U18 Youth Team Framlingham Town
League 19:45
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League 15:00
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Reserve Team Diss Town
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U18 Youth Team Leiston
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1st Team Rushall Olympic
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Reserve Team Lakenheath
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