Date:Friday December 28 2007
Layer Road - Colchester United - SeasideEssexXile
This will be the last ever visit to Layer Road (FA cup 4th round draws permitting) as next season Col U will move to a new ground at Cuckoo Farm. Invariably this 10000 all seater will have none of the charm or feel of Layer Road which is a throw back to the 70's, and despite being in Essex a trip here was always one of my favourites.
We have been compared to Colchester a lot over the last 6 months, with them moving to a new 4 sided ground that's when the comparisons will stop off the field, whether we can match their on the field exploits of a first season staying up survival is another story.
How to get there
M55, M6 South, all the way to the M1. Leave the M1 and join the M25 signposted Dartford (clockwise). Leave the M25 at J28 and head East on the A12. Leave the A12 at the Halstead / Cambridge turnoff (A1124) and take the right hand lane of the slip road. Keep in this lane as you go over the A12 then take a left on to the Essex Yeomanry Way. At the roundabout take the 2nd exit on to London Road. At the traffic lights use the right hand lane and turn right (MFI store on the right) on to Straight Road. Follow Straight Rd of approx a mile and a half over mini roundabouts until you come to a T Junction. This junction should have a church opposite and the Leather Bottle pub on your left. Turn left at this junction on to Shrub End Road. Follow this road for 3/4 of a mile then turn right at the lights on to Boadicea Way. Follow this road to a T junction (school on the right) and turn left on to Layer Road. Ground is down on the right.
Personally if you follow signs to Colchester Zoo you're not a million miles away.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us Colchester's main station is a hell of a trek, Colchester Town station is the nearest and is still a 25minute walk to the ground: Taxi time.
Like I said at the start Layer Rd has a real 70's feel to it. Away fans housed behind a goal, open terrace, small tier, close to the pitch and a short distance from the Barside on our right. Here from the home fans you will here songs that you have forgotten over the years - 'You're going home in a blue and white ambulance'. I swear on my last visit some Col U fans were wearing the 1978 England World Cup strip.
We can make some good noise here, there is seating available, and until recently this was at the opposite end of the ground. This has now been relocated so that the 'away' fans are all allocated together - ah the trappings of promotion.
Where to drink
The nearest pub to Layer Road is the Drury pub at the top of Layer Road.
If you head towards the town centre you will pass the Dragoon pub on Butt Road, almost opposite the police station. To find these pubs: with the Club's ticket and administrative offices behind you turn left and go down Layer Road. You will pass the Drury pub on your left and then at the t-junction turn right into Butt Road. Continue down this road passing, the entrance to Colchester Barracks on the right and just further down on the right is the Dragoon Pub. If you carry on down Butt Road, passing the Police Station on your left, then proceed through the underpass and on towards the main shopping area, turn right into St Johns Street and on the right is the Fox & Fiddle. Close to this is the Playhouse, which is a Wetherspoons.
Plod & Stewards - Relatively low key affair, support will be low in numbers due to time of year and distance travelling I'd expect no hassle from either.
Fear Factor Rating - 3
We've just passed the halfway stage of the season and all in all it's not been too bad. We've had a winless run but the team spirit and togetherness is still going strong and after Wednesday's heroics this will only have been built on. Col U are sat at the foot of the table, it's tight, and it's going to be like this all the way to the end of the season. These are places where a draw can prove to be invaluable come the run in. This is our last game of 2007, a year which has seen so many highs let's hope that the team can put together one more performance that ensures we go in to the New Years Day derby clash in good spirits and fond memories of the year that was 2007.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Friday December 28 2007
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