U's new stadium all right for White

COLCHESTER United defender, John White, believes that the new Weston Homes Community Stadium will generate more noise around the ground than the U's former home at Layer Road.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United defender, John White, believes that the new Weston Homes Community Stadium will generate more noise around the ground than the U's former home at Layer Road.

Although it was an old and dilapidated stadium, Layer Road was renowned for creating a terrific atmosphere, especially in evening games, due to its tight and compact surroundings.

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But White was very impressed with the noise generated during the U's first ever league game at the Community Stadium, which ended in a goalless draw against Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

The 10,000 all-seater stadium was only just over half-full (5,340), and there were no goals to cheer, so the potential is there for a cracking atmosphere.

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“It was amazing to play at the new ground after so long at Layer Road, which is where I have played all my career,” explained White.

“Of course there was nothing quite like Layer Road. It was a different sort of atmosphere to all the other grounds

“But I thought the fans made some great noise on Saturday. I thought it actually sounded louder than Layer Road, at least from my position on the pitch. Perhaps that was because the noise was echoing around the ground.

“We played some good football on a big pitch. We passed the ball around well and made Huddersfield move, tiring them out.”

White has made the right-back berth his own at the start of this season, having spent some time on loan with Stevenage in the Blue Square Premier during the winter of last year, and then returning to play at left-back during the closing months of the relegation campaign - he started the last 20 games for the U's in the Championship, following George Elokobi's move to Wolves.

The 22-year-old, who was born not far from Colchester at the village of Great Totham, has never scored a goal for the U's in more than 100 appearances, although he did net in pre-season. But he was close to scoring the first ever goal in a competitive match at the Community Stadium.

White caused a stir with a strong run that saw him skip past two defenders on the edge of the box. He exchanged a one-two with Steven Gillespie and was preparing to shoot for goal - not a familiar sight - when he was block-tackled by Terriers defender Chris Lucketti.

“That was nose-bleed territory for me,” confessed White.

“First and foremost, from a personal point of view and as a defender, I was delighted with another clean-sheet (following on from the 1-0 win at Gillingham in the Carling Cup).

“But we need to work on a few things at the other end of the pitch. I'm not normally at that end, but I've been consciously working on the attacking side of my game.

“I needed to improve on that, so hopefully you will see a lot more of me pushing forward. My game was lacking that last season, which might have meant the manager questioning whether I should be in the team.

“It would have been nice to score the first ever goal at the new ground, and for us to have won, but the game could have gone either way,” concluded White.

The U's travel to Swindon on Saturday for their third league game of the season.

Meanwhile, tickets for the U's Carling Cup second round tie at Ipswich (Tuesday, August 26) will go on sale to U's season ticket holders from tomorrow onwards. Those who purchased tickets for the Huddersfield game can claim their Portman Road tickets from Thursday, and those on the Club's ticketing system from Friday. They will go on general sale next week.

The following week, the U's have another midweek game when they visit Millwall for a Johnstones' Paint Trophy first round tie.

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