It's a Dunne deal as Joe is appointed Colchester boss
08:32 GMT, 27 September 2012
Local hero: New Colchester United manager Joe Dunne during his playing days
Joe Dunne has been appointed manager of Colchester United on a permanent basis following the sacking of John Ward on Monday.
Dunne, 39, had taken temporary charge following Ward's exit but the club's board has wasted little time in giving him a long-term deal.
The Irishman is a legend at Colchester, having made 193 appearances in two spells at the club between 1996 and 2003.
Dunne, who also played for the Republic of Ireland at Under-21 level, had a four-match spell in temporary charge in 2009 after the resignation of Paul Lambert.
His first match in charge will be the home fixture with Hartlepool United on Saturday, as the U's bid for their first win of the season.
Chairman Robbie Cowling issued a statement on the club's website: 'I am sure you will all join me in wishing Joe all the best in his new job.
'It was not an easy decision to part company with John Ward because he had worked so hard to achieve so much for Colchester United Football Club.
'However, it was an easy choice when it came to selecting John's successor.
'Joe has been with Colchester United for sixteen years as a player, youth team manager, reserve manager, assistant manager, caretaker manager and now he is first team manager.
'Joe takes charge of Colchester United when the club's long term prospects are the best they have ever been but at a time when the short term future is one of its most challenging.
'In the short term, the club has to adjust to the new salary capping rules that have forced us to drastically reduce our playing budget and no manager can be expected to improve its first team squad with significantly less money to spend on players.
'However, the long-term future is much brighter.
'The investments we have made in our facilities and in the youth set up will pay dividends in the not to distant future and the land that the club owns in Tiptree could, if planning permission is granted, provide funds to put the club on a stable financial footing and allow it to continue those types of investments into the foreseeable future.
'Therefore, I ask each and every one of you to get behind Joe and the team and to give them your full support.'
Dunne first joined Colchester from Gillingham in 1996, having spent six years and made 115 league appearances at Priestfield.
His time at Colchester was punctuated by a brief stint at Dover and he won many plaudits at Layer Road for his uncompromising approach to defending.
When a knee injury brought his career to a premature end in 2003, Dunne fell back on the coaching qualifications gained during his playing career to become Colchester's Under-17 and youth team coach.
In 2007, he moved up to looking after the reserve team, as well as various first-team coaching duties under Lambert.
Most recently, Dunne was assistant to Ward during his two-year spell as manager.