Thursday, February 29, 2024

BREAKING NEWS

HomeListsAll About ClubColchester United History - All about the Club

Colchester United History – All about the Club

Today’s article will explore Colchester United history and everything about the club we feel is important to know.

Colchester United Football Club is a professional soccer team located in the city of Colchester, Essex, England.

The team competes in EFL League Two, which is the fourth tier of the English football league system.

Established in 1937, the club initially played in the Southern Football League before gaining entry to the Football League in 1950.

Between 1950 and 1990, Colchester’s presence fluctuated between the Third Division and Fourth Division.

During this period, they achieved a notable victory in the fifth round of the FA Cup in 1971, defeating Don Revie’s Leeds United with a score of 3-2.

In 1990, Colchester United faced relegation to the Football Conference due to a decline in the late 1980s.

However, they quickly made a comeback to the League by winning the Conference title in 1992, a fact regarding Colchester United trophies history.

The club secured promotion to the Second Division in 1998 by winning the play-off final against Torquay United with a 1-0 score.

In 2006, they were promoted again, finishing in second place in League One.

The subsequent season marked their highest-ever league finish, as they ended the season in 10th place in the Championship, one of Colchester United honors, surpassing regional rivals Ipswich Town, Norwich City, and Southend United, despite having the lowest attendance in the division.

In 2008, Colchester United returned to League One after relegation from the Championship and then went back to the fourth tier in 2016, marking their first appearance there in 18 years.

Colchester United plays their home matches at Colchester Community Stadium in Colchester, which they relocated to in 2008, departing from Layer Road, their home stadium for 71 years.

Colchester United History Over a Span of Almost 9 Decades

Colchester United History Over a Span of Almost 9 Decades
credit: tranmererovers.co.uk
  • Full Name: Colchester United Football Club
  • Nicknames: The U’s
  • Year of Formation: 1937
  • Place of Origin: Colchester, Essex, England
  • Home Stadium: Colchester Community Stadium
  • Chairman: Robbie Cowling
  • League: EFL League Two
  • Market Value: €4.43m

How it Started

Colchester United history - How it Started
credit: cu-fc.com

Colchester Town F.C. was established in October 1873 but didn’t become a part of any official league or association until September 1882.

At that time, the club became a founding member of the Essex County FA and won the inaugural Essex Senior Cup the following season, defeating Braintree with a score of 3-1.

Colchester Town reached the Essex Senior Cup Final on two more occasions but lost to Ilford in 1892 and Leyton in 1900.

Around 1885, the club made a significant change by switching from blue tops to chocolate and pink quarters as their team colors when a rule change allowed them to wear shirts instead of knitted jerseys.

In the early 1900s, they changed their colors again, adopting red jerseys and white knickerbockers.

Colchester Town was known as ‘The Oysters’ and wasn’t the only club in the area, as The Excelsior club was also prominent.

In September 1890, the two clubs agreed to merge to play against stronger teams while retaining their separate identities for local matches.

Due to construction work at their Cambridge Road ground and the emergence of Colchester Crown, a new local team, there were concerns that Colchester Town might fold.

However, they secured funds to prepare a new pitch at Reed Hall for the 1902-03 season.

The club had a somewhat nomadic existence in the following years, playing at The Drury Field and then at Albert Road.

In 1908, the club moved to Sheepen Road, which became known as The Oval.

However, in Colchester United history, we read that the pitch was often muddy since it had previously been a refuse dump, and players would sometimes jump into the nearby river to clean off after matches.

Joining the South Essex League

Joining the South Essex League
credit: gazette-news.co.uk

The Oval frequently became flooded, and the Town had to hire a pitch at Land Lane.

In 1909, the 4th Battalion Kings Rifle Regiment, stationed at Sobrahan Barracks in the town, prepared a pitch on Layer Road.

The first match at Layer Road was played on September 30, 1907, when the KRR faced South Weald, the Essex Senior Cup holders, winning 10-2.

In early 1909, Town’s attractive fixture with Norwich City Reserves was moved to Land Lane, but the game only drew four pounds in takings.

Meanwhile, the KRR played in front of a record 4,000-strong crowd at Layer Road as they faced Ilford in the FA Amateur Cup.

When the KRR was posted to India, the Town committee seized the opportunity to secure a three-year lease on Layer Road in April 1909.

In the 1910-11 season, Colchester Town joined the South Essex League, and the club hosted several well-known teams in exhibition matches, including Sheffield United, Derby, Millwall, and Norwich.

When they hosted Luton in the autumn of 1911, they issued one of the earliest known program issues.

Colchester United history says that it took until the 1912-13 season for Colchester Town to win the South Essex League title.

During this period, the club also achieved success in the Essex and Suffolk Border League, the East Anglian League, and the Worthington-Evans Cup.

In the 1914-15 season, a friendly match was arranged with Sparta of Rotterdam, but the outbreak of World War I prevented the game from taking place.

On August 31, 1914, the committee decided to close down the football club as the Layer Road enclosure was needed for military activities.

Seven club members lost their lives during the war, and their names were inscribed on a tablet in the Layer Road dressing room.

Birth of Colchester United

Birth of Colchester United
credit: gazette-news.co.uk

After the announcement of the Armistice, the committee re-established the club and purchased the Layer Road enclosure.

In the 1919-20 season, Town entered the FA Cup and were narrowly defeated in the Fourth qualifying round replay by Ilford at Layer Road in front of their own record crowd.

In 1922-23, they joined the Middlesex and District League and won the title in their first attempt.

Three years later, they found themselves in the Spartan League and achieved their best season, finishing fourth in 1928-29, though more often, they placed around 10th in the thirteen-team League.

In 1931-32, Colchester Town won the East Anglian Cup, and in 1935-36, they joined the Eastern Counties League, finishing joint top with Harwich & Parkeston in the inaugural season.

However, despite being co-champions, attendance was poor, and efforts were made to create a new professional club in Colchester.

Colchester United was born on March 2, 1936.

The new professional club adopted the name Colchester United F.C. their first-ever game at Layer Road took place on September 2, 1937, in the Southern League Midweek Section against Bath City, which they won 6-1.

Two days later, they had a thrilling 3-3 draw with Ipswich Town in the Southern League in front of 11,000 spectators.

Colchester United history tells us that the club adopted the nickname ‘The U’s’ to distinguish themselves from ‘The Oysters’ of Colchester Town.

The popularity of Colchester United led to the decline of Colchester Town, which eventually folded in December 1937.

Colchester United claimed the Southern League championship in their second season, 1938-39, scoring 110 goals in 44 games.

They also finished as runners-up in the Midweek section and reached the Southern League Cup semi-finals.

Despite hopes of joining the Football League, they did not receive any votes in their favor.

Keeping up After the War

Keeping up After the War
credit: gazette-news.co.uk

Once again, the outbreak of war disrupted the club, and they closed down after just three Southern League games in the 1939-40 season.

United continued to play friendly matches against local teams until December 1939, when the Army Fire Fighting Corp took over the ground for drill practice.

Colchester United history depicts that during the years of World War II, former Colchester Town player Syd Fieldus played a crucial role in keeping the club operational, albeit in a dormant state.

Fieldus assumed the position of Secretary-Manager and participated in the first Southern League meeting after the war in the summer of 1945.

Fieldus established a strong connection with the Garrison, and because Colchester United had only four contracted players, they supplemented their team for the 1945-46 season with servicemen of varying skill levels.

Ted Fenton was named manager for the 1946-47 season, having previously played for Colchester Town in the early 1930s when he was a teenager.

Fenton had an extensive network of contacts and quickly assembled a team of various professionals looking for a fresh start after the prolonged war years.

Colchester United’s performance in their first season following the war resulted in a mid-table finish.

In the 1947-48 season, Colchester United had an impressive run in the FA Cup, which included a 3-2 victory over neighboring Chelmsford City in the Fourth qualifying round.

They followed this with a 2-1 win over Banbury Spencer.

They managed to defeat Wrexham from the Third Division North with a goal by Bob Curry despite both teams’ missing penalties.

Ironically, they were ultimately eliminated by First Division club Huddersfield, the same club that had inspired United’s team strip.

They reached the fourth round, where they faced Bradford Park Avenue but were defeated 5-0.

Entering the Football League

Colchester United history - Entering the Football League
credit: gazette-news.co.uk

The 1948-49 season brought high expectations for another notable FA Cup run, with a record crowd of 19,072 spectators at Layer Road for the first-round tie against Reading on November 27, 1948.

Unfortunately, thick fog forced the abandonment of the match after just 35 minutes, and the rescheduled tie ended in a 4-2 loss for Colchester.

On June 3, 1950, they achieved a significant milestone in Colchester United history as they were elected to the Football League.

They had an impressive Supporters Club membership of over 16,000 and an average gate of 8,500, a remarkable accomplishment considering that they had only been competing for seven full seasons due to the war.

Their first-ever League game took place on August 19, 1950, against Gillingham, ending in a 0-0 draw.

Bob Curry scored Colchester United’s first-ever League goal five days later in a 1-1 draw against Swindon.

However, it wasn’t until August 31 in the 1950-51 season that Layer Road witnessed its first U’s goal, with Arthur Turner scoring in a 4-1 win against Swindon.

Colchester United maintained an unbeaten streak in their first seven games, a record equaled by new clubs entering the Football League, matching Aberdare Athletic in 1921-22.

The 1951-52 season began with six defeats in the first seven games, mainly due to an injury-ridden squad.

Despite starting at the bottom of the Third Division South table, a mid-season revival, including winning both matches against local rivals Ipswich, lifted United to 10th place in the final standings.

Vic Keeble became United’s first major transfer when he moved to First Division Newcastle for a substantial £15,000 fee.

Almost Kicked out of the Football League

Almost Kicked out of the Football League
credit: bbc.com

The 1952-53 season saw a drop in performance as Colchester United went from 13th to just one place above the re-election zone, with criticism from supporters about the team’s playing style.

Manager Jimmy Allen resigned on May 2, 1953, and the board appointed Ron Meades as player-manager, but it was later revealed that Meades had misrepresented his credentials.

Jack Butler, a former Arsenal player, was subsequently appointed manager.

Butler had little time to prepare his team, and a 13-game winless streak saw United in 23rd place.

Crowd attendance dropped, and the club had to seek re-election to retain its status after finishing 10 points behind the 22nd-place team.

Fortunately, Colchester United received 45 votes.

While they were known for their goal-scoring prowess in their early history, United scored only 50 League goals in the 1953-54 season.

Another eight consecutive defeats saw United at the bottom of the League on Christmas Day 1954.

A brief improvement in form allowed United to move out of the re-election places, but in January 1955, Butler, who had been suffering from a nervous breakdown, resigned.

The board selected Benny Fenton as Butler’s replacement, and the team gained only one point from their last eight games.

Colchester United history lets us know that although they finished the season on a challenging note, they successfully secured re-election to the Football League, along with Walsall, for the second consecutive season.

For the 1955-56 season, Fenton built his own squad, including the acquisition of Percy Ames, John Fowler, Sammy McLeod, and Bobby Hill.

The team finished 12th, which marked their best-ever League finish.

The 1956-57 season proved even more successful, with Colchester United performing remarkably.

One of the First Third-division Squads

One of the First Third-division Squads
credit: lcfc.com

They were in a prime position for promotion for most of the season, going 20 League games undefeated between December 1956 and Easter 1957.

However, despite having a seven-point advantage, they faced a setback when they had a 0-0 draw with third-place rival Ipswich.

In a game that went down in United folklore, the crowd reached a record 18,559 for a Layer Road League match, and Fenton missed a 21st-minute penalty.

Colchester United was in first place after a 2-1 victory over second-placed Torquay, but three consecutive draws allowed Torquay to narrow the gap to one point, with Ipswich five points behind.

Despite winning their final game of the season 2-0 against Watford and going top, Ipswich and Torquay’s final matches were 24 hours later, and both clubs won.

As a result, Colchester United dropped to third place, and Ipswich clinched the title, tied with Torquay but one point ahead of The U’s.

With Football League reorganization on the horizon, Colchester United aimed to finish in the top twelve during the 1957-58 season to join the top twelve teams from the Third Division North and form the new country-wide Third Division, while the remaining teams would create the Fourth Division.

It wasn’t until the last game of the season that Colchester secured 12th place and their spot in the Third Division with a 4-2 win over Southampton on December 30, 1961.

The 1958-59 season was remarkable for Colchester United, with a fifth-place finish, nine points behind second-placed Hull.

It included a club record 8-2 victory over Stockport on October 4, 1958.

Looking at Colchester United history, we understand that the highlight was another impressive FA Cup run, with early-round wins over Bath, Yeovil, and Chesterfield.

Down to the Fourth Division with Jack Butler

Colchester United history - Down to the Fourth Division with Jack Butler
credit: arsenal.com

This success brought the mighty Arsenal to Layer Road in the fourth round, resulting in a 2-2 draw before Arsenal won 4-0 in the replay on a frost-bound pitch shrouded in thick fog.

The 1959-60 season saw Colchester United lose just two games at Layer Road but win only three away, resulting in a commendable 9th place in the table.

In the 1960-61 season, they experienced a significant downturn, losing ten home games and finishing in 23rd position, which led to their first-ever relegation to the Fourth Division.

Despite winning a resounding 4-1 victory over First Division-bound Newcastle in the inaugural League Cup competition, Southampton eliminated them in the second round.

The 1961-62 season marked a positive turning point for Colchester United as they enjoyed an unbeaten streak in their first nine League games, topping the Fourth Division with 31 goals in the first eight home games.

A game against Bradford City on December 30, 1961, ended in a 9-1 victory, setting a record in Colchester United history.

Although they were leading the table by Easter, losses to Darlington (twice) and Torquay saw them drop to fourth place before the last game of the season.

A disastrous 2-1 defeat at Newport and a simultaneous 1-1 draw between Luton and Chester left U’s fans in suspense, as goal average was used to separate the teams.

Franklin’s side narrowly secured promotion by a margin of 0.08, equivalent to approximately six goals by today’s rules.

For the 1962-63 season, Martyn King led the League in scoring with 26 goals, and Bobby Hunt scored 19 goals.

Despite their success at scoring, a leaky defense that conceded 93 goals limited them to a mid-table finish.

Benny Fenton and Bobby Hunt Saying Goodbye

Benny Fenton and Bobby Hunt Saying Goodbye
credit: worldfootball.net

Colchester United managers history shows that the 1963-64 season brought changes as manager Benny Fenton left to manage Orient in November 1963, replaced by Neil Franklin.

Franklin sold Bobby Hunt to First Division-bound Northampton for £20,000, which didn’t sit well with the U’s faithful.

They finished in 16th place by the end of the season.

The pattern of going up and down persisted throughout the following two decades, with relegations in 1965, followed by a swift promotion in 1966, then another relegation in 1968, and another promotion in 1974.

They faced another relegation in 1976 but promptly bounced back with a promotion in 1977.

However, the club suffered a final relegation to the Fourth Division in 1981.

During this era in Colchester United history, the club embarked on a remarkable journey in the FA Cup under the guidance of manager Dick Graham.

In the 1970-71 season, they reached the quarter-finals by defeating non-league teams like Ringmer, Cambridge United, Barnet, and Rochdale with a replay.

The draw for the quarter-finals was made before the replay against Rochdale, and it revealed a home tie with First Division Leeds United.

Colchester triumphed 5-0 against Rochdale and raced to an unprecedented 3-0 lead against Leeds, thrilling a crowd of 16,000 at Layer Road.

Although Leeds managed to score two goals, Colchester held on for a memorable 3-2 victory.

Their FA Cup journey ended with a 5-0 defeat to Everton in the quarter-finals in front of a crowd of 53,028 at Goodison Park.

Financial difficulties and several changes at the board level in the mid-1980s led to a decline in the club’s fortunes, causing them to slide towards the lower end of the Fourth Division table and experience a drop in crowd numbers.

Roy McDonough Taking the Team Back to the Football League

Roy McDonough Taking the Team Back to the Football League
credit: wikipedia

Despite a brief improvement in form under former Rangers manager Jock Wallace, the club faced their first relegation from the Football League since their election.

Following their relegation, the U’s maintained their full-time status while competing in the Football Conference.

They made the decision to sell their Layer Road stadium to the Colchester Borough Council in order to clear the club’s debts.

In their first season outside of the Football League, they finished as runners-up to Barnet.

However, with player-manager Roy McDonough at the helm, the U’s managed to win the league the following season, edging out bitter rivals Wycombe Wanderers on goal difference.

During this period, they also secured a swift return to the Football League and clinched the FA Trophy in 1992.

In the 1995-96 season, the club had a successful campaign, reaching the Football League play-offs but ultimately being defeated by Plymouth Argyle in the semi-finals.

The following season, although narrowly missing out on the playoffs, they reached the Football League Trophy Final at Wembley, where they drew 0-0 with Carlisle United but were ultimately defeated 4-3 on penalties.

In the subsequent season, Colchester achieved promotion through the Third Division play-off final with a 1-0 victory at Wembley against Torquay United.

They continued to consolidate their position in the third tier of English football for several seasons, achieving their then-highest league finish of second place in the 2005-06 season, only trailing behind Essex rivals Southend United.

Under Phil Parkinson’s management, the U’s earned promotion to the second tier for the first time in Colchester United history.

Moving to Colchester Community Stadium

Colchester United history - Moving to Colchester Community Stadium
credit: pinterest

However, following Parkinson’s departure to Hull City, his assistant Geraint Williams took over and led the club to a 10th-position finish in the Championship, surpassing East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town, Norwich City, and Essex rivals Southend United, while also earning the Pride of Anglia title for the first time.

Regrettably, their momentum did not continue into their second Championship season, as they finished at the bottom of the league and were relegated back to League One.

During the club’s second season in the Championship, Layer Road saw its last game on April 26, 2008, as the U’s suffered a 1–0 defeat to Stoke City.

Colchester United history states that the club subsequently relocated to their new stadium, the Colchester Community Stadium, in the summer of 2008 in preparation for their return to the third tier.

Despite their hopes for an immediate return to the Championship, the club had a dismal start to the 2008–09 season, resulting in the dismissal of manager Geraint Williams, with the team sitting second from the bottom.

He was succeeded by former Wycombe Wanderers manager Paul Lambert, who guided the club to a mid-table finish.

Colchester United kicked off the 2009–10 season with a resounding 7–1 victory over recently relegated Norwich City on the opening day at Carrow Road.

However, Manager Lambert left for Norwich when their manager Bryan Gunn was sacked following a poor start to the season.

Recent Times and Relegation to League Two

Recent Times and Relegation to League Two
credit: cu-fc.com

This led to a heated return fixture, held at the Community Stadium in January 2010, which was witnessed by a record crowd of 10,064.

Unfortunately, the U’s experienced a 5–0 defeat, with Ian Henderson being sent off on his United debut against his former club.

The season concluded with Colchester finishing in the 8th position.

For the 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons, the club secured 10th place in the league standings.

In the 2012–13 season, they narrowly avoided relegation to League Two by defeating Carlisle United 2–0 on the season’s final day to ensure their safety.

The 2013–14 season concluded with the club in 16th position.

Colchester successfully secured their League One safety on the last day of the 2014–15 season by defeating promotion hopefuls Preston North End 1–0 on May 3, 2015.

However, in the 2015–16 season, Colchester was unable to prevent relegation to League Two, finishing the campaign in 23rd position, marking their first time in the fourth tier of English football in 18 years, an unfortunate event in Colchester United history.

In the 2019–20 EFL Cup, Colchester achieved an impressive victory over Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur on penalties.

Their cup run came to an end in the quarter-finals, where Manchester United eliminated them with a 3–0 defeat at Old Trafford.

Regarding Colchester United Champions League history, the team has never participated in a European tournament before.

Read More: Sheffield United History – All about the Club

Colchester United Kit History

Colchester United Kit History
credit: fourfourtwo.com

When the club was established, Colchester United adhered to the tradition of their predecessors, Colchester Town, by wearing blue and white striped shirts paired with white shorts.

Throughout most of Colchester United history, the kit has retained its classic design, with some minor changes occurring in 1967 and 1968 when they opted for candy stripes, using white on blue for the 1967–68 season and blue on white for 1968–69.

The stripes were entirely omitted between 1969 and 1973, with blue shirts and blue shorts worn from 1969 to 1972, inspired by Chelsea’s kit, and white shirts in the 1972–73 season during an unsuccessful relaunch.

The original stripes were reintroduced for the following season and have remained largely unchanged since then.

In the 2012–13 season, Colchester United celebrated their 75th anniversary with a special kit.

The shirt featured the traditional blue and white stripes but did not include a primary sponsorship logo.

Instead, the club opted to promote local businesses game-by-game to reflect the club’s early days without sponsorship.

Colchester United jersey history shows that the club briefly utilized blue kits with white pinstripes from 1982 to 1986 and a crosshatch design from 1988 to 1990.

Shirt Sponsors

Shirt Sponsors
credit: theguardian.com

Various manufacturers have supplied Colchester United’s kits since the mid-1970s, with kits coming from Umbro (1975–1979), Adidas (1979–1982), Le Coq Sportif (1982–1986), Olympic (1987–1988), Spall (1988–1990, 1993–1995), Ribero (1991–1993), Vandanel (1995–1997), Patrick (1997–2000), Strike Force (2000–2004), Admiral (2004–2006), Diadora (2006–2008), Puma (2008–2016), and Macron (2016–present).

Starting from the 1980–81 season, the club has featured sponsor logos on their shirts, and they’ve also had away strip sponsors since the 1999–2000 season.

Notable primary shirt sponsors have included Royal London Group (1980–1986), 0800 Linkline (1986–1987), Norcross Estates (1987–1990), Holimarine (1990–1991), Colchester Hippodrome (1991–1992), The Sun (1992, 1992–1993), Strovers (1993–1994), SGR Colchester (1994–1996), Goldstar Fabrications (1996–1997), Guardian Direct (1997–1999), East Anglian Daily Times (1999–2000), JobServe (2000–2002, 2018–2019), Tiptree Jams (2002–2004), ICS Triplex (2004–2005), Easy-Skip (2005–2006), MutualPoints.com (2006–2007), Haart (2007–2008), Weston Homes (2008–2010, 2013–2018), ROL Cruise (2010–2012), TEXO Scaffolding (2019–2022), and Workhorse Group (2022-present).

Away shirt sponsorship has been provided by Ashby’s (1999–2000), Ridley’s (2000–2002), 188Trades.com (2005–2006), Smart Energy (2006–2009), JobServe (2009–2010, 2012–2020), Strikerz Inc. (2020–2021), and Workhorse Group (2021-present).

Read More: Newcastle United History – All about the Club

Colchester United Badge History

Colchester United Badge History
credit: cu-fc.com

Upon its establishment in June 1937, the club adopted the Colchester coat of arms as its club crest.

This coat of arms, featuring the living cross of St. Helena and the crowns of the Three Kings, remained in use until 1972.

However, a dispute between the club and Colchester Borough Council led to the design of a new crest in 1972.

This change was part of a broader club rebranding, which also included the introduction of an all-white kit and a new nickname, “The Eagles.”

Colchester United logo history informs us that the new badge prominently featured a Roman eagle standard.

After a challenging season that required the club to seek re-election, they returned to their previous kits, and from 1972 to 1979, the club played with no crest on their shirts.

Adidas took over as the kit manufacturer, and the shirts were adorned with a simple CUFC cypher.

In 1983, the club emblem was modified into a circular badge, based on the 1972 design.

This emblem underwent another adjustment in 1986, updating the image of the eagle.

In 1994, the crest transformed from a circular shape to a shield shape, with the golden eagle set against a blue and white striped background as a nod to the club’s traditional shirt colors.

A slightly updated version was introduced in 2004, which rounded the shield, and this design has remained unchanged since then.

Read More: Leeds United History – All about the Club

Colchester United Stadiums

Colchester United Stadiums
credit: the92.net

Colchester’s Layer Road stadium, originally built in 1910, served as the home ground for Colchester Town, the predecessors of Colchester United.

The U’s started sharing the facilities with Town, and their inaugural game at the ground took place on September 2, 1937, resulting in a 6-1 victory against Bath City.

However, the Layer Road End of the ground faced severe damage from gale-force winds in January 1938.

Shortly after, World War II broke out, prompting the club to close down Layer Road, which was then handed over to Colchester Garrison.

Following the war, the club returned to the ground and extended the Main Stand for the 1946-47 season.

The Popular Side stand was eventually demolished, and the timber was repurposed to enhance the Layer Road End.

Layer Road achieved the record home crowd for a Colchester United game on November 27, 1948, during an FA Cup first-round tie with Reading.

The match was attended by 19,072 fans, but it was abandoned after just 35 minutes due to thick fog.

More storm damage in the 1949-50 season in Colchester United history resulted in the Layer Road End having no roof due to a steel shortage.

During Colchester’s initial season in the Football League, Layer Road attracted an average crowd of 10,573.

This was the only time the stadium hosted an average attendance in excess of ten thousand.

Floodlights were installed at Layer Road in 1959, with funds from an FA Cup game against Arsenal covering the costs.

In 1971, the ground was acquired from Colchester Borough Council, with several covenants placed on it, including one prohibiting its sale for housing development.

In 1980, the club’s chairman, Maurice Cadman, revealed that £280,000 worth of essential safety improvements were needed at Layer Road to comply with regulations.

Selling Layer Road

Selling Layer Road
credit: gazette-news.co.uk

Plans were proposed to remove the Open End, construct a 5,000-seat stand at the Layer Road End, and a new main stand on the Popular side.

However, these plans were not realized, and the Council rejected subsequent proposals for a new stadium based on the covenant.

Following safety concerns arising from incidents like the Bradford City stadium fire and the Heysel Stadium disaster, Layer Road required £500,000 worth of safety upgrades.

The club, facing financial challenges, closed off sections of the ground, reducing its capacity to 4,900.

In the early 1990s, Layer Road was sold back to Colchester Borough Council for £1.2 million to help alleviate the club’s debts, and Colchester United then leased the stadium.

Meanwhile, the council initiated the search for potential sites for a new stadium.

Ahead of the 1996-97 season, the club refurbished Layer Road, making the Clock End all-seated and covered.

As the lease was set to expire in 2002, Kirklees McAlpine were commissioned as consultants for a new stadium in 1998.

A preferred site at Cuckoo Farm in Colchester was identified, with the added advantage of the land already being owned by the Council.

Plans for the new stadium were submitted in April 1999, and planning consent was granted in 2003.

The Council supported the £14.23 million project by securing a £10.23 million loan in November 2006, with the remaining £4 million provided through grants from the Football Foundation and local government and development agencies.

The Scottish firm Barr Construction was selected as the stadium contractor, and construction commenced in July 2007.

As the construction work concluded, Colchester United announced that the stadium’s official name would be the Colchester Community Stadium.

The Opening of Colchester Community Stadium

The Opening of Colchester Community Stadium
credit: cu-fc.com

However, due to a sponsorship deal with building firm Weston Homes, the ground would initially be referred to as the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

This ten-year sponsorship agreement was valued at up to £2 million for the club and included shirt sponsorship for the 2008-09 season.

Following the expiration of this agreement, JobServe secured the naming rights for the stadium through another ten-year sponsorship deal ahead of the 2018-19 season.

The club played their final match at Layer Road in front of 6,300 spectators on April 26, 2008, resulting in a 1-0 defeat to Stoke City.

Colchester United organized the opening exhibition event against the Spanish club Athletic Bilbao on August 4, 2008.

The first goal scored at the stadium was by Aritz Aduriz for Bilbao after 15 minutes, with Scott Vernon equalizing through a penalty kick at the 32-minute mark.

The game concluded with a 2-1 victory for the ten-man Bilbao, with David Lopez Moreno scoring a penalty in the 83rd minute.

The first competitive match at the Community Stadium occurred on August 16, 2008, when Colchester hosted Huddersfield Town in front of a crowd of 5,340.

Mark Yeates recorded the first competitive goal at the stadium in a 2-2 draw with Oldham Athletic on August 30, 2008.

Their first win at the stadium took place on October 25, 2008, with a resounding victory against Carlisle United.

Colchester scored five goals, with David Perkins, Dean Hammond, Akanni-Sunday Wasiu, and two goals from Mark Yeates.

The Colchester Community Stadium has a seating capacity of 10,105, and the highest recorded attendance at the ground was 10,064 during Colchester’s match against Norwich City on January 16, 2010, which ended in a 5-0 defeat.

Read More: Wycombe Wanderers History – All about the Club

Colchester United Rivalries History

Colchester United Rivalries History
credit: soccerpunter.com

In the 2003 Football Fans Census, it was revealed that Colchester United fans regarded Wycombe Wanderers as their primary rivals, while both Wycombe and Southend United considered the U’s their main rivals.

In the eyes of Colchester fans, Ipswich Town held the position of secondary rivals, with Southend ranking third.

Additionally, Cambridge United considered Colchester to be their tertiary rivals.

However, in the 2012-13 census, there was a shift among Colchester fans, with Southend now being considered their chief rivals, pushing Wycombe into second place and Ipswich to third.

On the other hand, Ipswich Town fans placed Colchester United as their third rivals after Norwich City and West Ham United.

Nevertheless, Colchester United retained their primary rival status for both Southend and Wycombe fans.

Notably, the U’s were also rated as the 12th least offensive club to supporters of all other Football League clubs.

Colchester’s most prominent recent rivalry is with Southend United, with whom they engage in the intense Essex derby.

Furthermore, the club competes for the Pride of Anglia award, which they won once when they finished in 10th place in the Championship, surpassing East Anglian rivals Ipswich Town and Norwich City in the rankings.

Read More: AC Milan History- All about the Club

Fan Base

Fan Base
credit: cu-fc.com

Colchester United boasts an official supporters association called the CUSA, which came into existence in 1995.

This association is entirely managed by dedicated fans who generously volunteer their time and effort to support the club.

In addition to the CUSA, Colchester United history says that the club takes pride in producing its matchday program, named “We Are United.”

This publication replaced the previous untitled official programs, and it has been a valuable source of information and engagement for fans since the 2012-13 season.

Over the years, Colchester United has also seen the creation of several fanzine publications, each with its unique character and perspective.

These publications, including “The U’sual,” “Floodlight,” “Out of The Blue,” and “The Blue Eagle,” have provided fans with alternative voices and insights, enriching the fan experience.

Furthermore, regarding Colchester United mascot history, the club has a beloved mascot known as Eddie the Eagle, adding an extra layer of fun and excitement to matchdays and events, as he represents the spirit and enthusiasm of Colchester United’s loyal fanbase.

Read More: West Ham United History – All about the Club

Records

Records
credit: salfordcityfc.co.uk

Micky Cook currently holds the record for the most appearances for Colchester United, achieving 613 appearances in the league and 700 in all competitions between 1969 and 1984.

Following him is Mike Walker, who is in second place with 524 appearances in all competitions, and Tony English, who is in third place with 515 appearances.

When it comes to goal-scoring records, Tony Adcock holds the record for the most goals in all competitions with 149.

However, Martyn King is the club’s leading league goalscorer with 132 goals.

Colchester United’s most significant victory margin in the league was a remarkable 9–1 triumph over Bradford City on December 30, 1961, at Layer Road.

On the other hand, their largest losing margin occurred on December 15, 1988, when they suffered an 8–0 defeat at the hands of Leyton Orient.

The record for the club’s highest home attendance was set during an FA Cup first-round tie at Layer Road against Reading on November 27, 1948, with 19,072 fans in attendance.

In terms of transfers, the highest fee received for a Colchester United player was £2,500,000 for Greg Halford, who moved to Reading in January 2007.

Conversely, the highest fee paid by Colchester United for a player was £400,000, spent on acquiring Cheltenham Town striker Steven Gillespie in the summer of 2008.

Read More:

Damian Cade
Damian Cade
He is an enthusiastic senior writer for Footbalium who leans towards writing and researching the history of football clubs and players' life stories.
RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Posts