Steve Lamacq at 50: Why broadcast legend chose Colchester United over Ipswich Town
- Credit: PA
He missed out on FA and UEFA Cup glory and two spells in the Premier League, but broadcast legend Steve Lamacq wouldn’t have it any other way.
The BBC Radio 6 DJ was a guest at Colchester United’s Florence Park training ground on Thursday, as part of his 50th birthday celebrations, having followed the U’s since his childhood.
However, it could have been a lot different.
“It (Colchester) was the only place I could get to on the bus,” said Lamacq, who moved to Colne Engaine, near Colchester, with his family, at the age of seven.
“My dad is a season ticket-holder at Portman Road and has been for over 30 years and in the same way some kids rebel against their parents over things like music, well I did that, but I did it with football too.
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“It’s almost to me like the way I like more alternative music, slightly obscure bands, in front of smaller audiences – that’s how I like my football.
“You feel so much more a part of it and if you don’t go (to Colchester), people probably miss you. That’s why I don’t like sit-down gigs in these huge aircraft hangars. No-one can hear you and you are not really part of the event.
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“The highs are high and the lows are low. Everything about following a team like Colchester is more extreme.
“I think you get more excitement from watching a team like Colchester away, it’s that tribal nature of the fans, which I think would be lost partly with the introduction of Premier League B teams.
“People don’t realise how committed fans are in the lower leagues.”
He has seen the U’s win the FA Trophy and a number of promotions, as well as watching the club more than hold their own in the Championship, and wouldn’t change his experiences for the world.
“My dad had never been to a football match until he took me to Portman Road when Bobby Robson was manager,” added the former Radio 1 presenter.
“He fell in love with the team, we saw (Arnold) Muhren and (Frans) Thijssen’s first games, but I rebelled against the top division.
“I have some great memories. There was the Paul Abrahams ‘golden goal’ (against Peterborough which saw the U’s reach the Football League Trophy Final in 1997) and he typifies the ‘local lad’ for which there have been many.
“Within three or four years of me supporting the club, there was the likes of Ian Allinson and Perry Groves on the wings.
“Then we had Lomana Lua-Lua one of Colchester’s classiest ever players.
“But the current crop aren’t bad and there are going to be some good players come out of this.”
Lamacq got to face some of them as he donned his gloves as part of his celebrations at the training ground in Tiptree.
“I went in goal to do some shot-stopping,” he explained.
“I think I saved the first three then it slightly deteriorated after that which, turning 50, is a metaphor for life I think!
He added: “The club have been very kind to us.
“They are always looking out for the fans, not just people like me, the long-term supporters, and it shows how very well aware they are of the local community.”