Vital Colchester has teamed up with a Luton fan, an Australian Arsenal supporter & our own kith and kin to bring you a three-way view on the man of the moment…
Chris Coyne finally left Colchester United yesterday and confirmed it will be the Perth Glory colours he next dons.
The player and all the mystery surrounding his transfer had made him something of an enigma at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, so we decided to take in a cross-section of views to show what Australian, Luton and Colchester fans think of the now seven-times international defender.
Alistair Warren, Luton supporter: (Coyne played here: 2001-2008)
Luton fans will remember Chris Coyne as a great player and battler who was a vital part of two promotion campaigns. Signed from Dundee for £50,000 by Joe Kinnear in September 2001, he made a memorable debut by gifting Lincoln a draw with a late own goal. He immediately established his place in the side however, and added steel to the team, forming a strong centre half pairing was formed with Russell Perret as Luton finished in second place with 97 points and 30 wins.
Hugely competitive, Chris’s strength and will power gave Luton a new dimension. For the first time in my many years we were able to out-muscle teams and Chris was affectionately dubbed ‘the Aussie Bully’, a tribute to his tough, although, not violent approach.
Luton’s second promotion was gained in 2004-5 and Chris was not only his usual dominant self but also formed a great partnership with the young but talented Curtis Davies.
Within a couple of years, Chris was partnering Leon Barnett, another young player who reached the Premier League.
Chris was again a vital figure as Luton finished in the top half of their first season back in the Championship, confounding the critics who had assumed relegation was a certainty.
Unfortunately Chris began to miss more games through injuries and he started less than half the games in the next season. Chris was sold with the club in financial meltdown in January 2008 and a dismal relegation followed, sadly the extra dimension he gave to us was not replaced. His last appearance came in a 1-1 draw in the FA Cup with Liverpool.
Luton fans have followed his career at Colchester and wish him a successful and injury free return to Australian national and international football.
There was talk of Chris returning to Luton and this would have been well-received by the supporters, he will be guaranteed a good reception whenever he visits. We were lucky to see some of Chris’ best form in 180 league appearances in his first five years with the club, made with an air of authority.
Matt_Us, Vital Colchester Editor: (Coyne played here 2008 – 2009)
Colchester fans, when feeling at their harshest, will remember Chris Coyne as a waste of money who spent some of his time travelling with the Australian national team and much less of it in a U`s shirt.
As the club`s at-the-time record £350,000 signing, when he joined, that`s the last we were entitled to expect, right?
Well, yes. But hold on – the truth is that Coyne was the right man, at the wrong time. Eighteen months ago, however, ex-Colchester United manager, Geraint Williams, wasn`t to know that.
With the club in the relegation mire, he was under pressure to act and so, it seems now rather horridly, by investing in Coyne, Phil Ifil (don`t ask!) and Scott Vernon. Which is to say that the defender joined a struggling team, now a successful one.
Coyne did have a solid start to this U`s career, but the side could not be halted, so in a sense Coyne leaves as a scapegoat from a failed era, failing to do the first job he was hired for.
The following season brought other pressures, although Coyne was given the captaincy that was later taken from him, and he began to play less and less for United due to injury and surprise international commitments. Is it a bad season when you stand more selection for country than club?
Anyhow, like another ex player who was fairly popular, Dean Gerken, there are suggestions he didn`t see eye-to-eye with new manager, Paul Lambert.
Nobody can possibly blame him for wanting regular football ahead of what will be the biggest competition of his career – the World Cup 2010 – and U`s fans will be glad one of the top earners is off the wage bill.
Ozi Gooner, Australian Arsenal fan: (Coyne still plays here, for his country: 2008 – To Date)
Chris Coyne was still formally contracted to Colchester United until yesterday, but had been given the right to look elsewhere by your management.
Perth is Coyne’s home town, and his brother, Jamie also plays for the club Perth Glory, so there is an element of a homecoming about it all. Coyne`s transfer has actually been confirmed now.
It seemed the only thing holding him back from signing on the dotted-line for the Glory was the fact that there is almost no way Perth could offer him the same wages he earns in England, due to our salary cap here and the fact that Perth have already made some relatively expensive signings, in Oz internationals Mile Sterjovksi (ex-Basel and Derby) and Jacob Burns (ex-Leeds Uniyed and Wisla Krakow) and former Dutch and Serbian internationals Victor Sikora (Ajax and FC Dallas) and Branko Jelic (Red Star Belgrade and Energie Cottbus).
So, basically as I understand it, your board gave him leave on a free transfer due to the personal issues involved, knowing full well that Glory could not afford any type of transfer fee, and on an individual level, it was left up to Coyne now to decide whether he’s willing to make the financial sacrifice to go home.
There was also interest from other A-League clubs, but it’s pretty much assumed that Perth will be the only club he’ll play for in Oz. League One and the A-League are of similar standard so it won’t be a step down in competition or hurt his chances of selection for the World Cup in South Africa.
Vital would like to thank our two guest contributors for chipping in, and hope that this feature clears up some of the mystery surrounding especially his time in Essex!
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