WAYNE HANNIGAN was a midfielder who signed for Colchester United on Youth Training terms from his local club Home Farm. With the Dragons having suffered a mass player and football management departure in the summer of 1991, Phil Coleman had taken over as Player/Manager and part of his rebuilding process included bringing in Wayne from the “U’s”, initially on a one month loan to get some Senior playing experience.
He made his debut on Saturday 24th August 1991 in a Diadora Premier Division game at home to Sutton United and it was immediately obvious that his committed whole hearted approach brought more steel to our midfield. Before his loan spell ended Wayne netted his first goal for the club, heading our consolation in a disappointing 1-3 F.A.Cup defeat at Ford United on 14/9/91. Wayne returned to Layer Road on 9th October but was once again loaned back to us in less than a month. This time he was made available for the rest of the season on the understanding that he could be recalled by Colchester when required and he became an important player to us, never giving less than 100 per cent to the Wivenhoe Town cause. His only other Dragons goal came on Saturday 11th January 1992 when his tremendous thirty yard free kick gave us a 1-0 home win over Marlow in the F.A.Trophy 1st Round.
In total Wayne made 38 appearances for the club as we managed to recover from looking odds-on favourites for relegation to a team that put together eight successive victories (conceding just one goal). His last appearance in a Wivenhoe shirt came on Tuesday 12th May 1992 as a playing substitute as the Dragons defeated Woodbridge Town 3-1 away to win the Woodbridge Charity Cup. Wayne’s aggressive committed performances earned him the Supporters Player Of The Year award and, as such, he is the only one to have won the trophy without actually being an official Wivenhoe Town player.
To everyone’s surprise at Broad Lane, Colchester United decided to release Wayne in the summer of 1992 and he went on to link up with Southern League Premier Division Chelmsford City. Indeed, he played in the City side (along with Julian Hazel and Steve Restarick) that defeated the Dragons 1-0 in the Final of the Essex Senior Cup the following season. A terrific young player fondly remembered by the Dragons fans of the time.