Writer: StevieG Col U
Date:Tuesday October 14 2008
Colchester United's new manager Paul Lambert has earned the praise of ex-U's defender Sam Stockley.
Stockley, a fans favourite in his time with the Essex side, labelled Lambert as 'one of the best managers that I have played under'. The 31-year-old, now club captain of League Two side Port Vale, was a first-team regular in his two seasons playing under Lambert at Wycombe Wanderers.
Lambert, 39, was appointed the new U's boss on Thursday, and took over from caretaker-manager Kit Symons yesterday. The U's sit second from bottom of the League One table following a poor start to the season.
The ex-Celtic midfielder is the ideal man to help them climb up the table in Stockley's eyes.
Stockley, who made 172 appearances in a U's shirt, told the EADT: 'Paul (Lambert) is undoubtedly one of the best managers that I have ever played under.
'His man management skills are about as good as I've known, and his coaching sessions are always enjoyable.
'It was he who signed me when he came down to Wycombe from Livingston.
'He didn't know much about me, but he assembled a really good squad and I had two great years with him at Wycombe.
Lambert moved swiftly to bring in Wycombe assistant manager Ian Culverhouse, who he worked with previously. Stockley revealed how Culverhouse, rather than Lambert, took most of the training sessions at Adams Park.
He continued: 'During the second season, he took more of a back seat. He left it to coach Ian Culverhouse (the U's new assistant manager) to take most of the sessions, but he oversaw everything.
'I always found it a pleasure to play football under Paul Lambert. Too often in League Two it is all about lumping the ball forward. But there was never any pressure to do that at Wycombe.
'We played some good football, and the gaffer always knew that the players only had a split second to make decisions on the pitch. He had faith in us, which is important. He trusted us.
'I found him the most approachable manager that I have ever played under. He always tells it how it is.
'We reached the semi-finals of the League Cup (losing to Chelsea) in my first season at Wycombe, and I reckon that run really cost us a chance of winning promotion.
Stockley, who plyed his trade with the U's for four years, added: 'Likewise, we were unlucky to lose out in the play-offs last season, although I thought Stockport were the best team throughout the season.
'Colchester United is always deep in my heart. I had some great times there, and many of my favourite memories are from those days at Layer Road.
'It's a wickedly good club, and I think that Paul Lambert is the right man to not only get them climbing the table, but also get them back in the Championship. I honestly believe that.
'It was always going to be difficult for the club on moving to a new stadium. We always had such a hell of an advantage playing our home games at Layer Road, but now they have to get used to playing at a proper stadium.
'Geraint Williams did a fantastic job at Colchester, he really did.
'But the club now has one of the best managers that they could have got. The players will enjoy the training, because the sessions are usually short and sharp, and always football related.
'Ian Culverhouse will also play a massive part. He and Paul always worked as a team at Wycombe,' concluded Stockley.
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Date:Tuesday October 14 2008
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