Away Days

This area of the site is a collection of 'away day' reports from members of the CUSA. Anyone is able to submit an article for consideration ... please send your piece by email to Jon Burns.

If what you've come up with is deemed publishable (so no naughty words or unpleasantness please), your post will be added to this section. Please sign off your email with your full name, which will be added at the top of your post.

We're looking forward to see what you come up with ....

Thank you to Roger Jenkinson for sharing your "away days"

Away days in the North East

I live in Kent which means it is impractical for me to use your properly arranged coach trips to away games which would  have precluded the bizarre problem we had on one trip.

I have to add distance and time to the estimated journey times for most supporters (except when the U' play the Gills). However, my twin brother lived up north east in an old converted engine at Consett near Durham (incidentally where my favourite U's striker Kevin McCurley was born ). I arranged with my good lady to pick me up at a convenient railway station e.g. Cambridge or Huntington, after work on a Friday. I should explain that I worked in the City of London and this allowed us both to get on our way. She, after she had picked up our daughter from school on the Friday. We did this number of times which enabled us to visit see such as teams as Darlington and Hartlepool on their own turf.

However, I will relate to two very different away days using the stop off as explained. 

The first was against Gateshead in the Conference. This was only about 10 miles distance from my brothers and we had slept in a bit following our well over 200 mile journey. I had looked up where the ground was and had the map with me. With respect to Gateshead we knew that there was going to be no need to arrive early especially as the map showed plenty of car parking  space. Indeed there we was absolutely no problem as the car park was empty! In fact the ground was just as empty and it was now evident to us that the ground was no longer being used! 

With about 10 minutes to kick off we well felt a degree of panic! Had I got the date or venue wrong? Possibly, but unlikely, so I ran to the nearest person and if they knew where the football ground was. The answer was "no" as it was from a number of other people so we got in the car and stopped to ask others but answer was the same!

Our long journey was looking to be in vain when we discovered the problem was we were asking the wrong question! Gateshead no longer played at a football ground they were using the facilities available at the famous international sports stadium. 

We belatedly found our way to the Stadium and what an attractive spectacle. The stadium is very modern with red high terracing curving gracefully round the red coloured racing track. The deep main stand fitting perfectly on the straight part of the beautifully symmetrical stadia. The view from high in the stand was strange for a football match as all the spectators were  in the large stand. There was a lack of atmosphere compensated for by a good win for the U's. (Note subsequently another stand was built opposite.)

The second match was very different. On the 28th and 29th April 1988 we travelled to see the U's play one of the oldest teams in the League in a match which would probably decide who would drop out of the League. Darlington's ground was old fashioned but quite grand. They had been lifted by the arrival of their new manager, the very popular Aston Villa and England player Brian Little and were expected to win. The atmosphere built as the start was delayed for the ground to fill to capacity. We had taken our daughter to her first away game and thank goodness apart from one small incident the atmosphere was great and friendly and the sun was shining.

The match fitted the occasion being very tight and only going Colchester's way after Darlington scored a penalty and a final goal from our new young Scottish striker Robert Scott saw us home. The journey home was amazing as the A1 seemed to be dominated by coaches and cars full of celebrating U's supporters! They were right to do so as we did stay up and Darlington went down.

Incidentally a few days later I went straight from work to watch the U's cement their stay in the League with a mid-week victory against and I just about caught the last train back to London. To my amazement I bumped into Robert Scott who had one leg fully encased in plaster! He explained it was precautionary.

Postscripts. My brother despite moving N.E. from Colchester, is a U's supporter and not only did drive the U's  team coach on occasions but left his mark at Layer Road. He was the signwriter who painted many of the adverts.