Date:Saturday July 25 2009
Book Review: My Layer Road, compiled by Matt Hudson & Jim French. Breedon Books Publishing, £25.
Words: Matt Calmus. Pictures: Steven Green.
Available from the club`s Retail Outlet and local bookstores; published spring 2009.
A book bound by memories and laced with loving recollections, My Layer Road simply bleeds nostalgia.
Yet another compendium comprising yesteryear`s history in Britain`s oldest town. Except this is different: it`s an almost scrapbook selection of fan tales from the terraces at an old stadium still afforded some state-funeral reverence in football, a year after demolition.
The ground`s crumbled checks are restored to rosy complexion as Matt Hudson, club media manager, and local author Jim French consciously take a very backseat role in hanging the 244-page volume together. Scores of supporters, some more famous than others, are found here essentially admitting that Layer Road was their greatest guitly pleasure of all.
That`s despite dishevelled stands, a rusting roof and those all-concrete trimmings. Most prefer remembering thier favourite fixtures, famous faces and unfurling flags - the, hallowed version, in other words, reincarnated in her best-possible fortress pomp.
Or, in the case of Paul Anderson from the CU-FC, maybe not. His bittersweet reminiscence, confirming how half-a-dozen Scandinavians decided to call the ground their adopted home accidently finding it in 1988, includes being scoffed at by staff reporters on the Sun. Laugher because a recent 8-0 thrashing by Leyton Orient made their newfound determination to follow the U's from thostands of miles away quite unbelievable.
"We discovered that Colchester had a team but... had great difficulty keeping up with results. This was a few years before satellite TV and the internet, so we had to rely on two-week old copies Match and Shoot magazines and the odd phone-call to English newspapers. 'What, calling from Sweden and you want to know results from the Fourth Division? Get lost!'"
Layer Road`s full story spans a potentially ill-timed inception, armature team Colchester Town disband to form United just before the Second World War, through to now. What's printed between the book's covers as remains as rich throughout as Anderson's above comment suggests it should.
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