Home is where the heart is
By the time you read this, my latest rambling, it may have been corporate-ised. The headline should read "Home is where the heart is" but I take no responsibility if it appears as "Home is where the haart is", given our new (market-leading, hard-working and generous) sponsors.
If you`re reading this you`re familiar with Layer Road. If you`re a visiting fan, welcome - sorry about the 'facilities`, we are getting a new one (stadium that is) soon, honest.
Lovely, likeable, low-quality Layer Road - the scene of so many of our triumphs and failures over the past 70 years of short but glorious history.
It`s played its part in many of them quite literally: Nicky Smith running down a sandy wing near the Barside, the sand obscuring the touchline enough for his slight miss-control to go unnoticed before he crossed for a Roy McDonough headed goal. The infamous divot that would always make Gary Bennett`s shots go wide. Oddly, the divot seemed to follow him around the pitch too - most unfortunate.
I`m sure I`ll eulogise about great memories at Layer Road more and more as we draw nearer the departure from our spiritual home. Suffice to say, for now it is home and needs to play a few more parts in our future before it`s consigned to the past.
I think it`s safe to say we`ve been inconsistent this season. Last year we had that amazing run of home form when it seemed we just couldn`t lose. It was our away form which let us down.
This season we kicked off being unlucky to only draw at ex-Premiership Sheffield United. Followed it up by spanking last season`s 7th placed team, Preston, 3-0 at their place and bagged points at opposite ends of the country in Southampton and Blackpool.
All looked rosy. Add in our indomitable home form and we were nailed on for promotion right? Only hitch was, we`d got so excited running up the hill of some away-day points, we hadn`t noticed our home form sliding past us back down the same hill.
Burnley, Scunthorpe and Barnsley have all "done a Col U". They stuck their sombreros on and well and truly raided our house.
Getting anything away from home is always a bonus (in so many ways!). Every two-bit TV pundit-manager will repeat "You`ve got to win your home games." Obviously if everyone did that, it`d be rather predictable - but that`s what everyone`s trying to do, so nicking a point is a bonus.
Lately our away form has dipped but our home form is showing signs of recovery. Two wins on the spin against QPR and, more impressively, West Brom are the green shoots of hope.
Three of our next four are at home, two of those against teams in the bottom half of the table: Leicester and Crystal Palace. We`re also going away to table-topping Watford.
If you`ve supported Colchester for more than a few weeks, at this stage you`ll be thinking: "It`d be typical Col U to lose the two home games but then go and beat Watford at their place." You`d probably be right too!
However, we`ve got to return to that Fortress mentality. It may be a crumbling fortress, with toilets that double-up as a Petri dish for new, microscopic forms of life - but it`s our fortress and not for much longer too.
So raise that rusty roof again. Sing, dance, coax and encourage. Show our new recruits what playing at Layer Road is all about. Put your heart into our home. Up those super U`s!
Taken from Saturdays award winning match day magazine priced stil just £3!