Joe Dunne earns Cambridge United head coach role on full-time basis
Three-year contract at the U's
Joe Dunne has been named permanent head coach of Cambridge United.
He has been at the helm on a temporary basis since the departure of Shaun Derry in February, and an impressive run to the end of the season has seen him earn a three-year contract.
Dunne first arrived at the Abbey Stadium as assistant manager to Richard Money in 2015, and he continued in a similar role under Derry.
Since becoming interim head coach, Dunne has led the U’s in 14 matches, guiding them to five wins, four draws and four defeats and introducing an exciting brand of football.
“When Shaun Derry stepped down in February we emphasised that getting the next appointment right was more important than doing it quickly,” said Graham Daniels, United’s director of football.
“It was the immediate instinct of Ben Strang (Head of Football) and myself that Joe took interim charge of coaching and have the chance to put his own personality and stamp on the team.
“Without doubt it has been a very positive end to the season. The board of directors are pleased to announce today that Joe has been appointed permanent head coach on a three-year contract.
“There are always many reasons behind any appointment but I want to flag three.
“First - and without any shadow of doubt - the team has flourished in recent weeks. We have talented players all over the park and they have produced some attractive and exciting performances - home and away.
“The group has also shown real resilience and commitment to fight to the very end of games and they have got their just rewards as a result.
“The way the supporters have also got behind the team has been fantastic and made a real difference. We are all ambitious for next season and excited about the potential we have in the squad.
“Secondly, in appointing Joe the club gets the benefit of both continuity and change. Joe is his own man and has approached the job in his own way.
“At the same time he knows the club from top to bottom. He obviously knows the players - their strengths and their weaknesses - and he has worked for some time alongside his colleagues on the first team staff.
“Our goal as a staff team is always to work collaboratively and their contribution to our performances during this period has been very important. It will continue to be a crucial factor for our success.
“Finally, Joe has been at the club for three years and completely buys into the philosophy of Cambridge United.
“He has a passion for youth development and how we best bring our own young players from the early academy age groups, as well as other young players we recruit externally, through to the senior team.
“He understands and completely supports our desire to develop even further as a community club. And finally he shares our desire to play at a higher level.
“Everyone at the club recognises that there is a lot of hard work ahead but with Joe as head coach we believe the club can look forward with real confidence.”
Before arriving at the U’s, Dunne was manager at Colchester United for two years and
Dunne is relishing the challenge of shaping a squad for the 2018-19 season, and continuing to work with assistant head coach Mark Bonner, goalkeeping coach Kevin Pilkington and the rest of the first-team staff.
“Having developed as a coach across the course of my three years with Cambridge United, I am thankful to the majority shareholder Paul Barry and the Cambridge United board of directors for providing me with this opportunity on a permanent basis,” he said.
“I would also like to thank the LMA for their support, throughout the process. As I have mentioned in recent weeks, I have never enjoyed coaching a group as much as I have this one during the last two months.
“I now look forward to continuing to work alongside our talented team of staff here, in developing the exciting potential of individuals from both within our first team and beyond from the Club’s youth set-up.”
Dunne also acknowledged the backing he and the team have received from the fans.
“I would also like to thank the supporters who have backed the team with such passion both at the Abbey and on the road right through this season, particularly in the past two months,” he said.
“Your commitment to give up your weekends entirely at times in support of the team, means a great deal and I look forward to moving into next season together.”