Richard On Leaving

Richard Garcia says he has mixed feelings about leaving West Ham - but thought the time was right to move on.

Richard spent seven years at the club after coming from Australia in search of a career as a professional footballer but, in only playing 21 times, of which four were from the starting line-up, all parties felt that a move was the correct step at this stage of Richard's career.

So is it a sad or a happy farewell?

"It is a bit of both; I made some good friends at West Ham and I know all the staff who have been really nice to me over the years," he says.

"It is sad to see the back of West Ham but it will be exciting to have a new start - and Colchester is where I am going to get that."v He has seen contemporaries such as Joe Cole gain fame and fortune and he says:

"It got to the stage where I wasn't making any progress so you do get disheartened - but you just have to keep going and hopefully you can get somewhere.

"Things were just getting a bit stale for me at West Ham and I really needed to move on to start my career."

Richard has just come back from a second cruciate injury - the first, while on loan at Leyton Orient, was caused by a tackle from West Ham team mate Grant McCann while he was at Cheltenham - but, typically, he shrugs that off.

"You can't let things like that get to you - you just have to keep on going and you have to look to the future," he says.

"Injuries are part of football, it is just that my injuries have been more serious than others."

As for why he chose Colchester, he adds:

"There were other clubs sniffing around but Phil Parkinson made it really easy for me; he spoke to me and I liked what he had to say - it is a good club and there are some good players there.

"Hopefully I can get Colchester promoted this season; it is down to me now so we will see how things go.

"It would be nice to return to Upton Park either playing for or against West Ham!"

So Richard leaves with fond memories - and gratitude that they kept him at the club as he battled back from injury.

"They gave me those extra couple of months that I needed so I am very grateful for that," he says.

"The club is one of the biggest in the country and I had a great time there."