Friday, 9 November 2007

Awaydays #9 - Colchester United

The ValleyThe club: Colchester United (The U's), Layer Road

The ground: Do you laugh or cry at Layer Road? The club are moving to a new stadium come the end of the season, and it's not hard to see why. At only 6,000 odd capacity, Layer Road has had its time as a ground in the Championship. A ground right out of the good ol days, Layer Road could not be redeveloped even if it was possible, the ground is so small you'll make friends quite quickly. The ground is a mishmash of loads of different bits of stand designs plonked together around the pitch - but the best but is - they still have terracing! (and it's covered). The away terrace is very narrow and the rake is slight, so no matter where you stand you get a poor view.

The facilities and food: Unisex toilets!! Need I say more? The aways stand backs straight onto the road and the toilets have been squeezed into a small space below, they are so small and both sexes' toilets are in the same room. Portaloos are available near the turnstiles for those who are nervous and need privacy. There's a small refreshments kiosk, obviously nor serving alcohol, but with the usual range of food. The pie tasted awful. 2/10

The stewarding/police: Not bad, though quite overzealous with the Greens on Screen photographer. There were a lot of police around, but didn't seem conspicuous. 7/10

The travelling: Very 6-7 hours from Plymouth by road, but seems longer - maybe cause of the M25. Colchester is just off the A12 but the coach took a very circuitous route into the ground. 5/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Not much. There's only 1 pub really - the Dury Inn - and sometimes they don't let away fans in. If they do you are segregated into a separate bar. 2/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): The best fans so far, they sang very loudly and passionately throughout (is this because they still have terraces?). 10/10

Total score: 29/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Charlton Athletic (The Valley) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Layer Road (Colchester) - 32
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27

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