46 Cup Finals
"Enjoy your Cup Final."
That was the message from a Norwich fan to one boarder
Cheeky so-and-so. Sadly, he was unavailable for comment after we`d nearly nicked all three points from his 'Premiership quality` side, at their 'Premiership quality` stadium.
We`ve already had a couple of visiting Bluebirds on the message board this week crowing about our tin-pot ground, tiny following and how they`re going to thrash us.
We`ve heard it all before and we`ll hear it time and time again this season. There were similar comments from Nottingham Forest last season. And Bristol City, Huddersfield and Swansea with their "famous history" and "massive potential".
But they`re currently playing League One football. We`re currently 12th in the Championship. Of the top 32 clubs in England (and Wales!), Colchester United are in there. The last 32. Or the "sixteenth-finalists" as the Americans would say.
Yes, Layer Road (or the LayerDome as Kevin McLeod would tell us, more on him later) is a bit of a dump. We love it dearly but if it was a dog, you`d ask the vet to end the pain.
There`s still a bit of bite left though, eh? Is it the distraction of having a changing room that isn`t large enough for the visiting striker`s entourage; or the ex-Premiership midfielder`s wallet? Could it be the Loudest Fans in the League©, right on top of the pitch and singing the (rusty) roof off for 90 minutes? Perhaps it`s the team`s style - 100mph from first whistle to last - that we play at home?
Touch of arrogance
Maybe it`s that touch of arrogance from opposing teams and their fans (see Exhibit C - Norwich fan, above). They arrive at pokey old Layer Road and think - "They can`t be much cop."
That`s what Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich, QPR and Derby thought. Did I mention that we beat Ipswich? Never can say it too many times, can you?
It must be a combination of factors. Even the most Mourinho-like egotism would tell you a team that`s mid-table and on a bit of a roll deserve some respect. Perhaps the sight of Layer Road just lets little prejudices creep in… you relax for a moment and Kevin McLeod thumps home with just three minutes on the clock. Doh!
Not a bad start for the Scouse-wonder eh? Three minutes into his first start and he scores.
I was especially pleased as at the start of the season I was seriously concerned about our squad`s lack of depth. To have key players like Richard Garcia and Kevin Watson out was worrying. To see Johnnie Jackson and McLeod fill in so capably was very reassuring.
We`ll be missing Chris Barker today who can`t play against his 'mother club`. Just as well really, can you imagine the hoo-ha if he scored a howling own goal? He`ll be missed though. But it`s another opportunity for someone to step up and stake their claim.
As a former Swansea player, McLeod is bound to get a toasty reception from the visiting supporters - something I`m sure he`ll relish.
I`d like to extend a warm welcome to young Ritchie Jones. There have been a few half-decent players that have come out of the Manchester United youth teams. Welcome to Colchester Ritchie!
Can you imagine what a resident of Old Trafford makes of the LayerDome?
You can see more from Carbon Dioxide in the U's Matchday magazine - available at every home game for £3 for 84 pages