Fans brave weather for Chelsea tickets

SUPER-LOYAL Colchester United fans braved a bitter night of cold, wind and rain in a desperate attempt to secure tickets for the club's forthcoming FA Cup tie with Premiership giants Chelsea.

By Roddy Ashworth

SUPER-LOYAL Colchester United fans braved a bitter night of cold, wind and rain in a desperate attempt to secure tickets for the club's forthcoming FA Cup tie with Premiership giants Chelsea.

And yesterday their patience and stoicism paid off as they became the first to get tickets when Layer Road opened its shutters for business.

The fans, who had brought groundsheets, garden chairs and umbrellas to see them through their ordeal, sang songs and even played football on the pavement outside the club.


You may also want to watch:


And by 9am - when the last 1,200 tickets for Sunday's game finally went on sale - they had been joined by hundreds of other hopefuls in a queue that stretched beyond the club shop, along Layer Road and around Cannons Close.

Stanway School pupil Mat Harper, 16, was one of the first in the queue, arriving on Tuesday night at around 9pm.

Most Read

“It rained the whole night and it was cold,” he said. “I didn't really get much sleep at all - there was nowhere to sleep except a puddle.”

Predicting a 2-1 win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, he added that Tuesday night's draw with Walsall should not be seen as a signal of the club's lack of preparedness.

“I think we were trying not to get injured or over-strain ourselves for the Chelsea game,” he said.

School mate Sam Razor, 15, said: “I think it will be 2-0 to us. I'm confident of it.”

Mother and daughter Donna and Stacey Bennett-Smith, from Elmstead Market, said they had not been too uncomfortable during their overnight wait.

“It went really quickly for us,” said Donna. Stacey, 16, added: “I think it could be one goal right at the end. But it would be nice to get a draw, bring them back here and then thrash them at Layer Road.”

Towards the end of the queue, shortly before the tickets went on sale, Lisa Smith, Mark Smith and Toni Johnson were hoping they would get a place.

“We have been here since 6.45am,” Mrs Smith, from Prettygate in Colchester, said. “We're closer than we were, but we think that might be because people are squashing up to keep warm.”

Eventually the U's allowance of tickets was exhausted at around 11am.

David Gregory, communications and PR officer for the club, said it was unlikely any more tickets would become available.

“Chelsea themselves have only got little tiny pockets of space left,” he added.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter