HARRY Pell admits he had a feeling of ‘massive, massive relief’ after helping Colchester United beat Southend United in last month’s pivotal Essex derby.

The former U’s skipper, who has left the club and joined Accrington Stanley, scored the second goal in their 2-0 win over Blues which ultimately paved the way for them to secure their League Two safety.

Pell led the way with a captain’s performance in that game.

And in part two of our interview with the experienced midfielder, he says he relished the feeling of helping Colchester claim a crucial victory over their county neighbours.

Pell said: “I knew how important it was to the fans and I knew how important it was to the football club.

"It was just a massive, massive relief.

“There was no way that we were losing that game.

“I was so excited; I felt like a bull in a china shop!

“The whole lead up to it was like going into a cup final and I thrived on it – I loved it.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Pell was named Colchester’s captain last summer, in his third and final season with the club.

The 29-year-old made 28 league and cup appearances over the course of the campaign, the majority of which was played out in front of empty stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Being named club captain was one of the proudest moments in my whole career,” said Pell.

“I’ll take that with me forever and when I got the captaincy but it’s been tough without the fans in the stadium – they’ve not had the programmes to ready my notes and stuff and I really wanted to do more with the fan engagement.

“It was really sad that I got the captaincy when the fans weren’t allowed in.

“I’d like to think that the fans can look back and think that I’m one of those people that cared for the football club and give my all.

“If they didn’t, I’d be really upset!

“We haven’t set out what we wanted to achieve at Colchester but they can’t take away my enthusiasm and me wanting to do well for the club.

“I don’t think there’s every once that I’ve gone into a game and not given my all to the football club.”

Pell is now looking forward to a new challenge, after signing a three-year contract with League One side Accrington.

The former U’s favourite added: “I need to test myself.

“I’m coming into my prime.

“I have a reputation that I’m an absolute nightmare to play against and I want to play at the best level that I can.

“It’s never about money; the most important factor for me now is going somewhere where I thoroughly enjoy playing my football.

“When I was younger, I missed out on so many things because my mates wanted to go and do things and I’ve never do it – I was so disciplined to be a professional footballer.

“I’m 29 and these should be my best years.

“Even with my family moving, I’m putting no stipulation on that to be happy.

“The football career is far too short.

“I just want to go and be happy somewhere and thoroughly enjoy it.

"I'd just like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me during my time at Colchester and wish everyone well for the future."