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The Marvellous, Magical, Mad Football League Tour - part II

Tom Fordyce | 13:28 UK time, Friday, 10 April 2009

A few weeks ago, my regular travelling compadre Ben Dirs and I kicked off our MMMFLT in the happy environs of the Galpharm Stadium Huddersfield - and a splendid time was had by all, even if Ben is still trying to rid his clothes of the smell of the Terry the Terrier outfit.

Inspired by the wondrous sights we saw - Bill Shankly's toilet seat, an England shirt worn in 1928 by Huddersfield great Billy Smith and a man who spends so much money on the club he's afraid to tell his wife - we're packing the charabanc once again.


The destination? Colchester - land of Layer Road and the Community Stadium, a goalkeeper called Dean Gerken and, if childhood memory serves, a zoo with a particularly good primates enclosure.

Once again, our aim is simple: to uncover every thing there is to know about the U's, from former legends and tales of derring-do (goodbye Leeds 1971, hello history) to the greatest goals, best pre-match hostelry and most obsessive fan (Steve Lamacq - keep your hand down).

Dive in below and tell us what we should see, what we shouldn't miss and why Colchester boy Damon Albarn gets away with supporting Chelsea instead.

Photos, links and ideas all welcome. And what's this thing about hating Wycombe?


  • Comment number 1.

    The reason Damon Albarn get's way with supporting Chelsea is because Col Ewe are simply awful, nothing more the a glorified Non-League team........Ha Ha have fun at the Matchbox Stadium.

  • Comment number 2.

    How about building a bomb fire and then...

    Just go to Ipswich, you'll have more fun and you'll meet the same people anyway. Southend forever!

  • Comment number 3.

    I was at Addams Park for the visit of Witton Albion for the last game of the '91/92 season. Wycombe wanted to win by 12 clear goals and Colchester to draw for us to go up. Witton Albion players gave us the "we're not worthy" sign and their supporters were chanting "Champions" at us. The following Wendesday, Witton were due to face Colchester in the FA vase trophy final. We responded with "We hope you win the trophy"! Finally the whole ground errupted as one "WE HATE COLCHESTER"! Hope this helps! (We won 4-0 but they also won hence another year in the conference ensued)
    Agree with Post #2! Go to Ipswich!

  • Comment number 4.

    The Wycombe thing stems from a FA cup tie back in the Conference days ... been a few incidents since.

  • Comment number 5.

    i'll take the wycombe rivarly if you don't mind?
    the 1991/1992 season saw colchester & wycombe locked together in the conference fighting for a return to league football. the u's player/manager at the time, roy mcdonough, used every opportunity to stoke the rival between the clubs, players & supporters. ultimately, both clubs ended 21 points clear of the rest of the division with colchester gaining promotion on the final day of the season by way of a superior goal difference. that same season colchester also lifted the fa trophy with a 3-1 win against witton albion - the match marked the first goal scored by an american at wembley (mike masters of colchester). and to top it off colchester also won 2-1 at wymcombe in the league by virture of an injury time goal from their goalkeeper scott barrett....from inside his own penalty area.
    enjoy your visit fellas. up the u's.
    [from sunny sydney].

  • Comment number 6.

    wont take you long to interview there fans, theres only seven

  • Comment number 7.

    Damon Albarn??? Who cares - watching him spewing outside the Hole in the Wall pub is the only thing worth remembering about that little scrote!
    Wycombe... knocked us out of the cup when they were non-leaguers... nuff said.
    Remember the glory days of Adcock and Groves, standing behind the goal at the Layer Road end on the wooden boards.
    Ask around about Ginger the fat Southend supporter boys, see what they say!
    Off to see Sydney FC play now - still not a patch on the U's

  • Comment number 8.

    Now, I'm a Norwich fan and I don't mind Colchester that much, even though we are meant to be rivals. Hate Ipswich more though (and who doesn't?), we played Colchester twice last year. One time at Layer road was a 1-1 draw, the other a 4-0 demolition derby that gave Cureton his first hat trick in city colours. It was also English football legend Dion Dublin's last ever goal in football, good goal as well. For memory, a 20 yard chip over the keeper.

    Anyway, that's about it! And, ahem, Melbourne Victory beat Sydney earlier this year!

  • Comment number 9.

    Plenty of venom here then! Having spent 46 of my 52 years in Colchester I can remember the glory cup days and nights very well. The list of Div 1 scalps Derby, Swindon, Aston Villa, WBA, (Man Utd were the first to beat Col U at Layer Road). Of course there was Leeds. I was there behind the goal where Ray Crawford scored those two memorable goals, against a Leeds side that was a cut above all for many years.

    More recently the conference double including a visit to Wembley where half the town had tickets. Let's not forget the Watney Cup!

    You can all bitch and take the rise but you can never take away the memories of Layer Road and some fantastic games. Not sure any Southend or Wycombe fan has the same scrapbook of memories.

    Incidentally, my brother is the loyal U's fan and he too at 11 was at the Leeds game. Me, I was at the big games but became a Spurs nut in my early years! COYS

  • Comment number 10.

    I've been going to U's games for 18 or 19 years now, and have seen some top players in my time from Mark Kinsella and Lomana Tresor Lua Lua to the more recent U's players of Teddy Sheringham and Kevin Lisbie, as well as some well known managers such as Phil Parkinson (now of Charlton) and George Burley (albeit for only 20 games)

  • Comment number 11.

    You should ask Martin O'Neill about the Wycombe rivalry. He was their manager then, and when he was managing Celtic and was asked about the atmosphere in the Old Firm matches and the treatment he received from Rangers fans he went on record as saying it was nothing compared to what he got from the barside at Layer Road!

    I hope you're not coming to the Peterborough game to sample the new stadium - there'll only be Peterborough fans there. Layer Road was beautiful and we did need to move, but the location of the new stadium, the challenges in travelling to it, the lack of any pre-match hostelries and the way many fans feel they are neglected as the corporate buck is chased, coupled with a disappointing season and bland style of football, means that many fans are turning their back on the club.

    Having said that, the zoo rocks and the orangutan enclosure is superb!

  • Comment number 12.

    I was lucky enough (!) to be a student in Colchester during the mid nineties, there are few advantages of being a student in Europes largest garrison town, but the U's certainly provided plently of entertainment whilst I was in exile from my beloved Everton. The creativity of the commercial department at Layer Rd knew no bounds, indeed one of my most amusing football memories came having purchased a ticket to the U's which promised "Free Half time tea or coffee!". With the U's comfortably winning (a rare event in itself!), a chant started and was directed at the 14 fans in the away end "Here for the coffee, you're only here for the coffee, here for the coff-ee!" Priceless. If only there'd been such creativity on the pitch! Anyway I credit the U's with making Evertons annual flirt with relegation in the late nineties still seem like I was watching Brazil every week! Always look out for Colchester's result every saturday. UP THE U'S.

  • Comment number 13.

    I know I keep saying this, but you should really visit Ninian Park. You literally have ONE more league game left in which to attend, although we may have another if we reach the play-offs.

    It is the last year that this ground will be around, it'd be a shame to miss out on it. Great atmosphere and terraces.

  • Comment number 14.


    "Not sure any Southend or Wycombe fan has the same scrapbook of memories"

    sorry we dont have a scrap book of conference football, just winning chamionships, going to football league trophy finals (beating you guys on the way), wininng promotions, beating manu, holding european champions liverpool during their peak

    sorry our history is rubbish compared too ummmmmmm oh have you ever won a football league chamionship, or did you finish second to us? was you even in the football league when we won our first title?

  • Comment number 15.

    You're a year too late for the ground related items of interest. If Zola's Brush wants to refer to the community stadium as the 'Matchbox Stadium' then that's fair enough really. Still, i'd rather it be 'Matchbox' than the rusting Meccano ground they call home. Good luck with the new stadium lads, we had to wait 30 years, i expect you'll be waiting just as long!

    Its funny how we're such a small club with no fans and no achievements yet nearly all of the posts on this blog so far are from people who resent our existence in one way or another. Surely logic dictates that they just shouldnt care? Zola's post sums up our opinion of Southend fans - user name relates to his/her affiliation to a london club they cant afford/be bothered to go and watch, appalling grammar and spelling - i.e Cockney Rejects who struggle to grasp the basic tools of human existence.

    Regarding Wycombe, the rivalry there has died out over the last few years due to our relative league positions, but I'm pleased to see they're still thinking of us. The McDonough/O'Neill disputes were highly amusing too.

  • Comment number 16.

    can i also recommend the zedonks at colchester zoo
    half zebra half donkey

    what's not to love?

  • Comment number 17.

    Sadly, the last remaining zeedonk died recently but the Zoo has improved almost beyond recognition in the last decade or so.

    As for the mighty U's well, what do you want to know? First team to be involved in a live FA Cup match as a test run for Alexandra Palace. The team colours of blue and white striped shirts were based on Huddersfield Town for whom first manager Ted Davies was a fan (the previous Colchester Town club having worn a rather charming Chocolate and Pink quartered shirt!). However, United's two principal achievements in the FA Cup came when United wore different colours. An all-blue outfit was worn against Leeds in 1971, but when the U's beat Huddersfield in 1947/8 United wore a claret and blue ensemble as manager Ted Fenton was a former West Ham man.

  • Comment number 18.

    Ok, so my names says it all. Yes I am an Ipswich Town fan, but I wouldn' go around shouting that out on our current form.

    Having been so fed up with the quality of football at Portman Road I decided to head down the A12 to the ground based at cuckoo farm yesterday xD. Of course, being a Tractor Boy, I couldn't possibly sit in the Home end so I sat with the Brighton fans on what was a very overcast day.

    3pm and the ground was nearly empty, the Brighton fans had just started to chirp up and we were ready for kick-off. Looking around the stadium, there was nothing of real interest, the dugout looked exactly the same as the other entrances to the west stand and the ball could easily roll through the holes at the sides of the advertising boards. During the first half, the quality of football wasn't great from either Brighton or Colchester, but you could certainly see goal was coming.

    The security was probably one of the worst I had ever seen, the Brighton fans were standing up trying to create and atmosphere in the ground, only to be told to sit back down. This would of been fine had the home fans in the corner of the adjacent stand had done the same. But no, 2 brighton fans were removed from the stadium permantly, with another spoken to and told to return. While in the Colchester end, any that were removed were placed straight back into the stands. There must of been at least 20 stewards in the away end for what was no more than 1,000 fans.

    Half-time and 0-0. And so to the usual entertainment, the scores were read out with little cheers or jeers from either side and then came the cheerleaders/dancers. Great to look at but their timing was awful! I didn't fancy buying a drink as it was overpriced as usual so I stood there waiting for the second half.

    Finally a goal arrived, Llyod Owusu scoring a thumping header to delight the seagulls. This silenced the Home fans and any banter between the two sets of fans was dead and buried. Colchester just didn't get going and so the game finished 1-0 to Brighton. After the game many of the United fans congratulated the away supporters and said that their team deserved to win, which I thought was good spirit.

    I would visit the Community Stadium again, simply because of it's small but spacious environment. Mind you, it will cost you the earth to park outside!

  • Comment number 19.

    Where to start eh?? - Saw my first game at Layer Road about 25 years ago - since that time we were relegated into the conference and were the first every team to get promoted from the conference into Division 3 (the year the Prem was formed, and then you had Div 1,2 & 3 -- how many name changes since then by the way?)

    We then progressed (slowly) through the leagues culminating in promotion to the Championship a couple of years ago - interestingly that promotion winning squad was put together without paying a single £ in transfer fees (our transfer record at this time was just £50k) - Our record transfer fee for selling is a little more impressive at (a reported) £2.25 for Lua Lua to Newcastle (prob the best thing that former manager Mick Wadsworth ever did for us as he took up a coaching position at Newcastle prior to that transfer)

    Our highest ever league position was finishing 10th in Championship 2 seasons ago but was followed by relegation last season.

    The recent move to the Western Homes Community Stadium hasn't done our playing form any good although does give us a chance to play catch up with other teams with commercial revenues etc. Layer Road was a terrible stadium in many ways - still remember the likes of Sunderland, Leeds etc roll out with their trolley loads of kit only to realise that the dressing rooms physically weren't big enough for it all - but it could generate a traditional hostile atmosophere with the old tin roofs on the terraces projecting the sound all around the ground. - The new stadium hasn't been able to retain that atmosphere unfortunately but planned changes in layout of stands for next season are aimed at improving that.

    Hope you enjoy your visit anyway!

  • Comment number 20.

    I started watching Colchester United during the 1981/1982 (aged 6) when the universe didn't rotate around "the big four" and kids at school knew about all teams in all divisions. Layer Road was always a shed, but had a welcoming atmosphere helped no doubt by the terracing that was still there at the last game in 2008.

    In truth, apart from the whole Leeds United thing in 1971 (both my Father and Grandfather saw that one!), Colchester United didn't really have a lot to crow about. A few promotions, achieved without winning the division, and a few relegations between the fourth and third tier. What really kick-started the club and increased support was, believe it or not, relegation to the Conference! These two seasons saw The U's actually win most weeks, with the second season being a tremendous battle with Wycombe Wanderers (already written about here).

    After promotion back to the football league in 1991/1992 the club was almost always on the front foot and it was an exciting place to be, although I don't think anyone expected Championship football, which arrived in 2006/2007!

    Personally things aren't so great at the new Community Stadium. It's a glorified airfix kit and allows our opponents to make the place their own, contributing to our awful home form. To be honest it's helped me lose that obligation us football fans have to be at every match, thick or thin. I am now starting to question whether I really am a Colchester United fan or in fact was a Layer Road fan and I wonder how the fans of other teams who've moved from their original stadiums to new "modern" surroundings have found this experience - souless would be my description.

    Having said all that, Colchester United are my team and I defend them earnestly. That stupid question all lower league fans get ("Yeah, but who do you support in the Premiership?") still makes my blood boil and sees a torrent of abuse follow. It's not always about big players, big transfers and big wins. Over the years I've enjoyed the three-nil home defeats just as much because usually that's when the fans are at their wittiest, meaning I would spend most of the game with a smile on my face. And you need those bad games/seasons to make good moments even more special. Like when we took the lead at Chelsea in the cup in 2005, beat Ipswich at home during both our seasons in the Championship and had our goalkeeper (Scott Barrett) score straight from his hands away at Wycombe in 1991...

    Up The U's!

  • Comment number 21.

    You get to see real traditional Football League stuff at Colchester. It's not always pretty, and we have our ups and downs (currently on a downer) but the last few years especially have been interesting. See my own blogs at and for comment and images of the last season at Layer Road and the first season here at Cuckoo Farm. Yes it's called Cuckoo Farm - the other name is far too long winded and commercial.

  • Comment number 22.

    The Wycombe rivalry was all about them being bad losers (runners-up) in the Conference. Therefore this has extended to a dislike of Martin O'Neil, and therefore by association (for me personally) a new found dislike of Leicester, Aston Villa, etc.

    The true rivalry is with Southend (Seaweed), who, until Daggenham and Redbridge gatecrashed the party, were the only other League club in Essex. More recently however, the big rivals are Ipswich - largely as a result of George Burley leaving us for them, and at Christmas time as well .... how could he! We still sing about Burley most matches, just not in a pleasant way.

    It's been great reading this blog and seeing how many U's fans share my opinions on the new stadium. I loved Layer Road, I particularly loved away fans turning up, laughing at the place, slagging it off, and then (and especially in that first Championship season,) being beaten there! The chant "welcome to Lay-er Road" was always a favourite. I dislike the Community Stadium largely because of the problems getting there -- especially if you have to drive (which I do because I live away from Colchester in a town without a train station.) You need to get a shuttle bus from near the train station, since every road near the stadium is no parking -- there is no car park at the shuttle bus departure point, it's like park and ride but without the park, so everyone piles into the train station carpark, which is then a nightmare to get out of later....that's when you've finished queueing for the shuttle bus back! It took me one and half hours to get away after the Southend game...crazy!

    But so many great memories as a U's fan: Scott Barrett our keeper with that last minute winner at Wycombe in the non-league days... the trips to Wembley for the FA Trophy, the Auto Doo-bar shield, the 3rd Div play-off final...Lua Lua scoring a hatrick away at QPR...the 1-0 win against Ipswich in the Championship, and nearly getting to the play-offs that year...cycling to the away game at Boston with 3 mates to raise money for our Back-to-the-League campaign...Mark Kinsella, Tony Adcock, Mark Sale, Mike Masters, Big Roy, Steve McGavin, Chris Iwelumo, Jamie Cureton banging them in...getting my replica shirt signed by the Conference double winning side and then my mum washing it the next day...knowing that if you went for a post-match drink in the Lamb on a Saturday night you were likely to bump into the many good memories, and that good feeling you get following a small club through thick and thin.

    Anyway, Up the U's.

  • Comment number 23.

    Oh, and someone mentioned the half time entertainment at the new ground ....... they'll never be able to top that old Layer Road favourite "On me Shed, Son" (sponsored by Wickes)
    Basically, a shed with no roof, and two competing fans had to try and chip the ball in for 5 points a time. Or was it through the window? It was great.

  • Comment number 24.

    some of the recollections on here get me a bit misty eyed, especially some of the stories from the Conference days. For someone who started going in 1986, other than the Wolves play-off semis, we didn't have a huge amount to get excited about for a couple of years!

    Barretts goal at Wycombe, you couldn't have made it up - Farnborough's hoarding collapsing - the 6-2 home defeat to Wycombe in the Bob Lord trophy, in thick fog (due to which I think we got fined for putting out a weakened squad) and during which, legend has it, Scott Barrett got the away fans behind the goal a cup of tea at half time, would appreciate anyone who knows if that's true as I couldn't see it from where I was!) - and of course the 5-0 victory against Barrow and the FA Trophy final. The night finished off in the Hippodrome chanting you can stick your Bob Lord trophy up your.. you can guess the rest. Watching it back the next day was even better as Martin O'Neill was part of the S*y commentary team and he had obviously hoped for a different result!

    More recent times though have given the Layer Road faithful plenty to shout about (Abrahams golden goal in the AWT, Lua Lua scoring the winner in the Bristol Rovers in the 5-4 game, FA Cup replays.....) crushing a lot of ego's along the way, especially the first season in the championship, someone else on here already mentioning the chant of 'Welcome to Layer Road!'

    Saying all this has reminded me how great Layer Road was (rose tinted spectacles mean I can ignore the appalling facilities!) and that Cuckoo Farm (I'm not calling it WHCS either) has been a huge disappointment in the first year, probably best to put this season behind us, mark it down to experience and try to make it our own next season.

    Up the U's!!

  • Comment number 25.

    Colchester? A tornado blew through there 2 years ago and did 4 million pounds worth of improvements.

  • Comment number 26.

    Reading some of the above brings back some happy memories of Layer Road,my first game was when Neil Franklin was manager,never been to a match before in my life,my wife had taken the kids to her brothers in Lowestoft for the weekend,a friend at work suggested i went with him to Layer Road,that was it, hooked for life.
    My alltime favorite player has to be Brian Hall,joined us from Mansfield as a winger,but his best posistion was fullback,i remember one game against Newport County,they had a corner at the Layer Road,they took the corner short "Henry" cut in between the two county players and raced the length of the pitch,put in a blinding shot that the keeper couldnt hold and Ken Hodgson put away the rebound.
    This was a team worth watching:
    Sandy Kennon
    Brian Hall Duncan Forbes

    Derek Trevis Mick Loughton Bobby Blackwood

    Alan Shires, Trevor Bullock, Reg Stratton, Ken Hodgson, John Martin.

    I read on the Colchester 606 site a couple of remarks regards the late LES OAKES,i always stood at the open end near Les and always found him great company,i will always belive that Les played his part in the defeat of Leeds,Gary Sprake came out for the first corner of the game and missed it completely,up went the shout from Les "shakey Sprakey",this was picked up by the crowd,"Shakey Sprakey" rang out when ever the ball was near him,the poor guy was a bag of nerves.
    Another true story about Les,we were down at Ipswich for a midweek league cup match,as was norm,Les was giving the Ipswich keeper a load of verbals when all of a sudden he went down on his knees,the crowd parted,2 St.Johns ambulance men ran up to help him only to be told by Les to "Sod off,i lost my teeth",happy memories, rest in peace Les.
    How many people remember when Colchester United staged its very own "its a Knockout",our social club at Q.B.Printers was invited to put in a team, all was going well untill we were matched with the United team in a game that involved pushing a huge net covered football into the opponents goal ex.U's player Ronnie Hunt was our capt.and really wound us up with his team talk,anyway the game started,Ronnie had told us to hold the net and try to spin them round,one of the U'S players saw what we were doing and punched Ronnies hand,that was it,punches were thrown by everyone,Nerrys Hughes(she of Liver Birds fame)and Peter Purvis (Blue Peter) were doing the commentary i remember her saying over the speakers that this was the worst display she had ever seen on a football pitch,the game was abandoned and both teams kicked out of the competition,happy days.
    Now living in Spain,Colchesters results are the first i look for,and follow the live text on the Beeb,i think that P.L.has done what he set out to do this season which was to keep us up,i also think that with his own players in place next season we could be a force to be reckoned with.

  • Comment number 27.

    I've been a ColU fan since my family moved to the town in 1980 when I was ten. The first game I remember going to was a League Cup game against ManU with about 16,000 packed into Layer Road (we lost, 1-0 I think). By the time of ColU's last ever game at Layer Road against Stoke at the end of last season (another 1-0 loss) the capacity was down to 6,000, where did they put the other 10,000 people?!
    Some great and not so great times in between, in some ways the worst thing that ever happened to us (relegation out of the League) was also the best as we did the non-League double two years later, winning the Conference and the FA Trophy at the old Wembley. At that time I was going to all the games home and away following Roy McDonough's blue-and-white army, family commitments do not allow for that now although I still live locally and go when I can. The new stadium is soul-less, though, and the transport issues are chronic.
    Favourite U's game: beating Barnet in extra time of the second leg of the Play-Off semi-final (we won the final at Wembley against Torquay in a drab game). The Barnet game was a classic, Layer Road was jumping that night. Even the buffers in Terrace 4 were going bonkers. The 3-3 draw at Sheffield United in the FA Cup the year we got relegated out of the League comes a close second.
    Favourite U's performance: Lua-Lua's hat-trick against QPR in the League Cup. Bobby Robson was in the crowd and paid £2m for him a few days later, I don't think he ever played like that for Newcastle though.
    Favourite U's players: Tony Adcock, Tony English, Ian Philips
    Up the U's!

  • Comment number 28.

    Colchester were elected to the league in 1950 after spend the years before WW2 in local non league football. prior to this season layer road was their only ground and was well past its sell by date when they upgraded to the 10,000 Community Stadium .

    As relative newcomers to the Football league (Div 3 N & S had been going over 25 years before expansion meant that there was room for Colchester) and having only been out of the bottom 2 divisions for a fewseasons since election (2 seasons in the Championshipand a couple out of the league entirely) Colchester are a typical lower league side, with a lower than average fan base fpr a town of that side, largely due to the close proximity of Ipswich town (who are considered a far bigger club, despite being elected to the league in the same sason as Colchester) , the fairly high percentage of inhabitants from outside the immediate vicinity being a garrison town) and the good rail links to London.

    Enjoy your trip to the North of Essex, and savour the football on offer as I feel that with the attendances dwindling rapidly, the money may well dry up shortly and local derbies against Braintree and Chelmsford may well be on the agenda

  • Comment number 29.

    I moved to Colchester from Scotland about 10 years ago and Layer Road was a bit of a shock after being a regular at Ibrox.
    However, bit by bit, Colchester United got under my skin and the last few seasons at Layer Road were marvellous. Cureton & Iwelumo taking on all comers two seasons ago was priceless.
    This year has been a bit flat. Marvellous away, hopeless at the Weston. Eight or nine 1 nil home defeats and a distinct lack of atmosphere. Poor attendences as well. The two best crowds, against Saarfend and Leeds - guess what - two 1 nil defeats.
    I'll be there next year though! - the only way is up!

  • Comment number 30.

    My first game at Layer Rd was in 63. The greatest player, the kindest player, with a taste for cups of tea and polo mints - the left-back, Brian Hall, though my mum fancied Duncan Forbes ( also of Norwich.) The best song - aimed at Micky Packer - ' Does yer wife know yer here? ' Priceless. I'm now a Paris Saint Germain season ticket holder and have been for over 15 years because it's where I live, but Layer Road and the memories of the U's are what football has really meant for me. Never understood all this - what big team do you like - crap. Oh yes - and did you know Humpty Dumpty was a large canon fired by one-eyed jack of the royalist forces from the roman walls of 'camulodunum' upon the roundhead forces during the siege of Colchester during the English civil war? That Steve Harley worked for Essex County Newspapers in Colchester as a reporter? That the emporer Claudius commented about Oysters from Colchester? That there was an earthquake in Victorian Colchester? And that Colchester gets a namecheck on a Frank Ifield record sleeve from the early sixties? Stephen Munson

  • Comment number 31.

    I first went to Layer Road as a young lad, 1969/70 season. I think it was the opening match against Newport County and it started my love affair with footy. I was there at the Leeds match aged 11 and it's still the greatest moment of sport I've ever witnessed, the stuff of legend.....and even went to the sixth round tie at Goodison Park where we got thumped 5-0. Visited Layer Road for the last time for the FA Trophy derby match against Wivenhoe Town but still watch for the US's result every Saturday from where I live abroad....great memories!

  • Comment number 32.

    Ignore the jealous invective from fans of teams who claim we don't matter, especially those from the caravan park on the Thames. Layer Road was wonderful, so many happy memories: Friday night football full of atmosphere. The hailstorm of cushions directed towards inept officials at half time. Bobby Gough lobbing the keeper from the half way line, Colin Garwood dribbling through the Millwall defence straight from kick off in a 4-4 League cup match. The FA Cup v Derby in 1977 when we equalised in the 7th minute of injury time, those wooden boards were bouncing like trampolines. The anti-climactic end of season when we were relegated to the Conference, sitting disconsolate on the concrete terrace of the open end on a lovely summer day. Beating Wycombe at home 3-0, when the Barside destroyed Paul Hyde in their goal after he fumbled one in, he wouldn't face them when coming out for the start of the second half, but walked backwards to avoid them. Winning 2-1 at Adams Park with Scott Barrett's last minute winner as Paul Hyde stood arms outstretched (presumably saying "Don't worry lads it's going wide") as it flew past him; and beating them 5-2 at their place in the League. Roy McD scoring and then running over to T4 to shout "Who's the donkey now?" to a mate of mine who had been comparing him to the long eared beast of burden all game. Last of all beating Ipswich 1-0 in September 2006, the first meeting in the League for 50 years. Mostly visiting fans were appalled at the primitiveness of Layer Road, and the players were affected by the claustrophobic atmosphere and venom radiating from the terraces. Which is why I loved watching football for 40 years at Layer Road.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well I'm from south of the county and I certainly don't have any "jealous invective" directed towards Colchester. I have to say I think Col Ewe and Southend are similar clubs in many ways, affected by bigger clubs nearby who take crowds away from them...both teams who punched above their weight in the Championship and now are at their natural level (OK maybe League 2 for Col Ewe). But I don't hate you and think our rivalry is rather contrived, largely cos we didn't play you for nigh on 20 years during your wilderness years in the Conference and then when we languished in the basement division...Orient are far bigger rivals. Still I enjoy beating you of course and have fond memories of a couple of wins in the LDV Vans trophy at Layer Road, a delightfully ramshackle stadium with bags of character which is sadly missed. Haven't been to the new stadium yet but sounds soulless. Of course I always want to beat you, but I generally wish you well, but enjoy finishing above you in league, like this season.

    By the way, the caravan park dwellers are more likely to be Canvey Island fans.

  • Comment number 34.

    Allow me to ellaborate on the Wycombe rivalry. I was at the cursed FA cup hammerng we took at Wycombe on the ski slope. The police stood and watched and some joined in as the local crowd were joined by a cancelled Chelsea "crew" and proceeded to give a very physical welcome to some unsuspecting fans,me included. The fan hatred was born that day and was never forgotten. Peg leg and M were the only two left standing! Albie went down early and me and Sillsy were lucky enough to escape with minor brusies. Hello from the New Jersey USA Col U supporters club. Membership 1 adult 2 kids and my 2 cats

  • Comment number 35.

    I lived on Layer Road from age 9-22 and didnt miss a game at Layer Road in this time. i was the ball boy for 8 years and made some mean tea for some greats in the changing room. Micky Walker (best professional), Bobby Gough best free kick, Ian Allison vs a certain coach best half time fight in the changing room! Mickey Cook favorite all time player, best game ever? every game at Layer road was awesome but being down 3-0 at half to Gillingham and coming back to win was the best ever!!
    i started to get excited for Friday night games on Saturday afternoon as the boys finished there game on the road, yes only 6 days to go!! 3000 people sounded like 25000 shooting into the Layer Road end in the second half, not the spion but we were always good for a late goal and off to the Drury before a late one at the Andromeda... I LOVED LAYER ROAD!!! havent been to the new stadium as i live in New Jersey but i did fly home for the first webley appearance and WIN!!! up the U's oh up the U's up the good old white and blues, when we get together what a game we'll see your as strong as the old oak tree all for one and for all with football good an clean or something like that!! cmon U's back to Championshp next year!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    ps i have most of the old Layer Road Col U signs in the US if the council starts asking! lol

  • Comment number 37.

    Look at all the jealous Shrimps on this blog! Ha ha, Colchester got featured and Sowfend didn't.

    See you next year in League One Shrimps, hopefully Wycombe can join the U's too!

  • Comment number 38.

    1. At 10:53pm on 13 Apr 2009, Zola's_Brush wrote:
    The reason Damon Albarn get's way with supporting Chelsea is because Col Ewe are simply awful, nothing more the a glorified Non-League team........Ha Ha have fun at the Matchbox Stadium.

    Regarding the above, Unfortunately, due to our fantasic new stadium, Southend fans are becoming rather jealous this is mainly due to them having one of the worst grounds in the league & prob the worst away support also !
    They obviously they have nothing better to do with their time than just post on their rivals site.

    One team in Essex

    Up the U's !

  • Comment number 39.

    Make time to arrange a meeting with veteran hack Frannie Ponder (now retired) who will regale you with a story or 500.

  • Comment number 40.

  • Comment number 41.

    And here's a selection of photos of Cuckoo Farm in our first season in this wonderful new stadium.

    A selection of these and others feature in my First Cuckoo blog.

  • Comment number 42.

    Because Layer Road was such a small and confined ground with low stands whenever we went to a game we'd have a sweepstake on how many times the ball got kicked out the ground. I seem to remember one game when the winning number was 10, must have cost the club a small fortune in new balls!!!

  • Comment number 43.

    i lived in colchester for about 8 years what a fantastic stadium they had in layer road lived right at the top of it could here who sored just by haveing my window open colchester fc all the way come on boys.
    ipswich are crap stick to your crops yea boys and tractors.
    southend dont make me even begin with them................

  • Comment number 44.

    I saw my first match at Layer Road in 1996 after stupidly telling the mother of this girl I fancied that I was in Colchester for the football, so just dropped by. She drove me at the ground and I had to go in. Thirteen years later, still a fan...despite never living in Colchester! I'll add my name to the list of those who were sorry to see Layer Road go. No wonder home results have been ropey this season - no real atmosphere as yet. Why, oh why, did your football carnival thing not go around last year, to take in the old grounds?! A few memories of the old place to add too...
    1) Karl Duguid winners - against Ipswich in '06 and against Hull in a 4-3 in '98
    2) Steve McGavin scoring in a 3-0 win over Luton, around 99/00, finishing a move which at least in my mind started from a Luton corner and involved Lua Lua, Keith, G. Johnson and Dozzell
    3) Peter Cawley going in goal during the AWS game against Northampton in '97, and being urged to shoot every time he took a kick
    4) The 5-1 beating of Hull a couple of years back, with Iwelumo getting 4 to really embarrass Phil Parkinson, who'd left to manage Hull (I don't dislike Hull, and Parky remains a legend, but that was a great night)
    5) After we beat Brentford in the promotion season - two goals from Yeates - I pretended to be a journalist, hung around after the match and 'interviewed' him. It went so well that genuine journalists starting writing down the comments...This can be confirmed by a sports columnist whom I know well and who witnessed it!

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    "go to Ipswich instead".

    Why would a COLU fan want to do that???


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