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Weston Homes Community Stadium
Colchester United v
Dagenham & Redbridge
League One

Tuesday September 28th, 2010, 7.45pm
John Hubble
(Doing The 92)

I had this game earmarked for a while as we were on a weeks holiday at our caravan near Great Yarmouth and having played golf in the morning, the “near perfect day” was concluded with a match at a ground I needed towards my current 92.. (very understanding wife!!). Having read various instructions on driving to the ground, I erroneously forgot to print off directions from the AA website so had to rely on the Sat Nav, however the ground post code was not recognised and so whilst arriving in Colchester without any problem, I had to ask a couple of locals for directions, arriving at the ground at just gone 6.00pm.

I had read that there were 700 car park spaces and whilst the car park spaces on the immediate left and part right as you drive down the one road into the ground, were tarmacced and laned, the rest of the parking area was a mass of hardcore gravel with water filled pot holes and for which the club charge an over priced £6. I would just about accept a fee of £6 if the parking area was a decent surface but not for something which rivals the area of a building site.

I went round the ground taking a few pictures and managed to get an obliging steward to let me in to take a few photos inside.The usual club shop visit followed with the purchase of a badge and match programme and then it was time to get some refreshment. Fancied a beer after a tedious nearon 90 minute drive but was shocked to find beer (albeit pints) was priced at £3.50. Whilst I could consider it normal practice for say Wembley Stadium or London Premiership clubs charging at this level, Colchester is not Wembley, not in London and not in the Premiership so an unacceptable level of profiteering here. The chairman has called on local Anglia TV for fans to turn up and cannot understand why gates are so low for a team doing reasonably well. Suggest he looks at his parking and refreshment prices for a start....

The ground, I have to admit is one of the better designed newer stadiums that have been built over the past few years. I am a fan of four separate stands rather than the bowl structure which a few teams have(such as Southampton, Leicester, Middlesbrough etc..) The North and South stands behind both goals are of similar structure but the East and West stands are different giving the ground an individualistic feel and, as I’ve said , is something I prefer. The North stand which normally houses visiting fans, was closed for this game with the 1,000 or so Dagenham fans being located in a segregated East Stand.

The game kicked off with both teams going for the early goal, which went to Baz Savage for the visitors who tapped in from close range from a cross from the right-Dagenham were the better team in a competitive first half and deserved their half time lead. Colchester, came out in the second half and really took the game to Dagenham from the restart and it was no surprise that they went into a 2-1 lead with goals from Vincent and Mooney. Dagenham pressed for an equaliser and this came near the end from Vincelot who bravely headed in from close range and was then taken off following a collision with a Colchester defender. A 2-2 draw was probably a fair result for this Essex derby and maintained Colchester’s hitherto unbeaten start to the season.

The way out is also a problem at the moment with just the one single file road out of the ground and even though the crowd was only four and a half thousand, it took me half an hour after the final whistle to leave. The issue here is that the A12 slip road which is currently being constructed and which, according to the programme is not now likely to be finished until well into next year, will alleviate some of the traffic issues in getting to and from the ground, but until then, anyone travelling to The Weston Homes Community Stadium is going to experience the kind of traffic problems I encountered..

All said and done, it was a ground I enjoyed visiting even though as mentioned there are still a few teething problems traffic wise which one would have thought would have been sorted as the club are now in their third season at their new venue. Would recommend travelling by train and getting the Shuttle bus from town or travelling by coach if your team plays there,r ather than driving until the A12 slip road is completed.


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