Saturday, 26 April 2008

Match 23 - Stoke

Not too many words this time. I'll let the photos tell the story. There was a football match, but that was a non-event. Neither team played particularly attractive football. Whilst the Col U Faithful were correct to point out that the away fans 'have only got one song', it was also true that the away team had only one tactic - a long throw into the box. So there you have it. For 87 minutes you could have gone to sleep and missed nothing of any interest to the home support.

The final 3 minutes were a bit different, with attack upon attack by the U's, but it didn't change the result. Stoke won 1-0. Their fans thought they'd clinched autmatic promotion but about the same time as Colchester woke up, so did Hull and they have a chance of spoiling it. Stoke went top of the division. Colchester are now firmly rooted to the bottom, and next week's 'cup final' against Scunthorpe is now meaningless - we will still be bottom, no matter what happens.
[picture: The band are in the tunnel ... ... ...]

Today was a media circus day. 6,300 of us were invited to watch the media parading themselves in front of us, while we watched (sitting and standing patiently) from the stands and terraces.
[picture: Formation Fireworks with the Match Officials]

BBC Essex had a great idea. They broadcast their sports prpgramme live from Layer Road. So what? How did that help their listeners? There were dozens of photographers on hand to record the occasion. For who? Several TV and video cameras dotted around the place to capture the story - for various TV programmes they want you watch or videos they want you to buy.
[picture: Are we playing Smoke City today?]

Loads of former players were introduced to us. I think we know who they are. It's a shame they don't all come back for every game. They got to speak to the other media people but not to us. It was all a bit like a postcard from someone who's on holiday - "I'm here. You're not. It's great. I'm having a wonderful time. You ought to be here - watching me having a great time."
[picture: A crowd invasion before the game - stewards in Roman uniforms advance to eject them]

We were reminded about 20 times throughout the afternoon not to enter onto the pitch after the game. "It's an arrestable offence" it says on the postcard. (The standard of football was criminal - who was going to arrest them?) The usual stuff from the half-time roving microphone - I think it's time he was retired. He's not funny. He's not entertaining.
[picture: Doogie tells the team a joke. It looks like one of the players has burst with laughter - remnants of shirt on pitch]

[picture: It's Saturday - it's 3 o'clock - it must be ... ... ... time for a nap]

[If you missed the kick-off, here's what it looked like]

[picture: Dark forces at work. Just behind the Barside stand, a stream of balloons lodged in a nearby tree and formed themselves into the shape of a 'U'.]

[picture: Half-time entertainment. Stoke City fans kept on singing all through the break - I can't actually tell you what the band played.]

.. ding, dong
This is public announcement. In the event of an emergency please remain calm, and await further instructions. Thank you.
... ding, dong

[picture: I think we may be down to our last few balls. They needed an armed guard at half-time]

[picture: I think you know who they are all are, but for a bonus point name all the photographers and the media scrum.]

[picture: Then they went and spoiled it all by playing something stupid like ... ... a game of football]

[picture: Four minutes - you cannot be serious !!!]

[picture: At last - the deed is done. We can all go home. Last one to arrive at Cuckoo Farm is ... ... probably the MP for Colchester!]

I hope you've enjoyed the season and these ramblings of the final season at Layer Road. There will be a couple more postings before I hang up my blogs for the summer, but I will return in the new season in the guise of 'The First Cuckoo', and will share my experiences of 'Being a League One Fan in a Brand New Stadium'.

Saturday 26th April 2008 really was a media celebration day. The real celebrations have taken place over the years and you can't take that away from anyone. If you feel like you should have been there, well, at least I'm sharing my thoughts and my photos here.

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