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Weston Homes Community Stadium
Colchester United v
AFC Bournemouth
Friday, January 14th, 2011, 7.45pm
League One
Tino Hernandez
(Bournemouth fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be): 

Had not been to the Colchester ground since the club moved from Layer Road. Layer Road was one of the grounds I least liked visiting so was keen to see the new Weston Homes community stadium.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I don’t drive so travel to all games by train. The journey to Colchester from London Liverpool Street was just over an hour. As we were possibly about to lose our manager, Eddie Howe, to Burnley I wanted to make sure I was at the ground when the team coach arrived so I could shout ‘Stay Eddie!’. (I did – but he subsequently didn’t!). So I jumped into a taxi from the railway station rather than look for the shuttle bus. The taxi was quick (10 mins, £6) and after turning out of the station it seemed to be one long straight line drive to the stadium.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly? 

I went straight to the ground.  I was very impressed that the outside catering outlets did not just offer the usual burgers and chips – but also donuts, hot chocolate, pork sandwiches and for the first time in my experience at this level of football: double espressos. Don’t drink so I love my espresso hit. Sadly the espresso machine had not yet warmed up properly so I had to make do with a normal coffee.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

This is a great stadium. People have complained about its out of town location, but that’s where the land is and you end up with a great facility. Ticket purchases are not on the gate but from the front of the stadium. Could be a problem if you were to arrive lateish and head for the turnstiles first. Inside the ground the catering areas are spacious and well staffed. I like watching the game from behind a goal, but here you are in the East Stand at one side of the pitch, unless you bring a huge traveling support – 800 Bournemouth fans, was not considered big enough.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc.

As this game was on Sky and it was a Friday night there were barely 3,000 there and not much atmosphere from the home fans until they scored their late goal. Stewards were fine although as ever its off putting having so many sat so close to you and watching you during the game. As ever, a noisy away Bournemouth contingent kept up the singing throughout. Food was entirely respectable. The Chicken balti pie lovely and hot. We went a goal up and then let in two late goals so not a happy ending in our promotion bid.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Caught the shuttle bus back. The buses are very easy to spot once you get back to the front of the stadium. Other reviews said you had to pay but not on the one I got on – driver waved me past. A word of warning if you are heading back to the train station on a dark night, then try to take motice, as its not immediately obvious that you are at the train station stop and the bus then heads onwards into Colchester.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Well worth a visit. Even with an out of town location its easy to get to and from and the outside of the ground catering is really good. Fans are friendly. Proper football.

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