Colchester midfielder Kevin Watson says the players had no idea manager Phil Parkinson was intending to resign.
Watson signed a new contract at Colchester in June
"We had no idea this was going to happen," Watson told BBC Essex.
"As far as I knew the manager was staying and that played a big part in me signing a new contract. I only found out when Jamie Cureton told me.
"Going into a new league (the Championship) it was important to have a stable management team but that wasn't the case."