It was entirely fitting given Colchester United’s philosophy that while one of their most successful home-grown players was calling time on his professional playing career, another’s should just be starting.
Karl Duguid will never forget the amazing reception he received from U’s fans after donning his boots one final time, on Saturday.
And it was a day to remember too for teenage defender Frankie Kent, who made his first-ever senior appearance for Colchester in their 1-0 win at Walsall, on the final day of the season.
For Kent of course, it is only just beginning.
He is one of a batch of talented youngsters who Colchester have high hopes for in the coming years, joining the likes of Alex Gilbey, Macauley Bonne and Sammie Szmodics in emerging from the club’s academy to make their first-team debuts under manager Joe Dunne.
If they represent Colchester with the same kind of distinction Duguid has over the course of a playing career spanning nearly two decades, they will have been a success.
Now that he has called time on his career, Duguid will now assist the U’s in nurturing their youngsters.
“I hope I can play a big part in helping the next generation of Colchester United players and the next Karl Duguids,” said the U’s coach after his emotional farewell at Walsall.
Of course, it was not only Duguid who said goodbye to the Colchester supporters, last weekend.
Clinton Morrison also pulled on the U’s shirt for the final time at the Banks’s Stadium, ahead of his summer exit from the club.
Sadly,he did not mark his final Colchester appearance with a goal.
But his goal-line clearance proved crucial in helping his side end the season on a winning note.
Morrison’s two-year stay at Colchester has not been as profitable as either party would have hoped.
But Dunne’s decision to hand him the captaincy for his final U’s game, coupled with the reception he received from the club’s fans, suggests that what Morrison has lacked in goals he has more than made up for in commitment and endeavour, much like Duguid.
They are two qualities in particular the U’s youngsters would be wise to adopt.