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Jon Waldron: My views on the U's
The loss of Dick Graham has deprived Colchester United of one of their most treasured figures.
But his achievements during his spell as manager of the U’s will mean that his legacy will live on forever.
Some may argue that the likes of Phil Parkinson and Benny Fenton might stake a stronger claim to being the club’s greatest-ever manager.
But in masterminding Colchester’s unforgettable FA Cup win over the mighty Leeds United in 1971, Dick arguably ensured he became the U’s most celebrated leader.
It would be wrong to define Dick’s time at Layer Road by one game.
Nevertheless, the magnitude of his accomplishment in masterminding what is still regarded as one of the greatest cup upsets of all time cannot be underestimated.
The Grandad’s Army, as they became known, sent shockwaves among the football fraternity with their momentous 3-2 win, at Layer Road.
It also changed Colchester United as a club forever and put them on the map.
I visited Dick in Colchester General Hospital, towards the end of last year.
His beloved U’s was, of course, the main topic of conversation as we sat and chatted, as it almost always was with Dick.
I had visited him a couple of days after Colchester had lost 3-1 at home to Coventry City, a defeat that had been particularly harsh on Joe Dunne’s side.
I explained to Dick that although the result was disappointing, the performance had been particularly good.
Dick’s reply was while that was commendable, the game is all about winning.
Perhaps in that response, there is all we need to know about just why he was such a success in the game.
Although life was physically hard for Dick in his later years, he was still incredibly sharp.
He had a razor-sharp memory and could recollect in meticulous detail even the early days of his life, recalling his childhood days when he was the only youngster in the village with a football.
The game was in his blood.
Within the last five months or so, Colchester United have lost two of their all-time greats.
But in remembering both Dick Graham and Peter Wright, we can cherish the immeasurable impact they had in making the U’s the club they are today.