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Tuesday 27th October 2020 ko 19.45

Isthmian League Division One North

COGGESHALL TOWN (Claridge 33p)

AVELEY 0

Att 126

Entry £10

Programme £2

I suspect it’s all too easy to see Coggeshall Town is the Olly Murs club; it was a reason why I delayed visiting West Street until Robyn could come with me! For those who didn’t know pop star Murs bought a 50% stake in the club and is responsible for the refurbishment of the clubhouse. 

Don’t think though Murs’ input is the sole reason Coggeshall Town have rocketed up the leagues in recent years. The club were in the Essex & Suffolk Border League when local businessman Graeme Smith took over the club in 2013, and he still owns the “Other” 50% stake. Olly Murs involvement started in 2017 when the club had been elevated to the Eastern Counties League. The club made short work of the ECL, being promoted twice in two years to reach the Isthmian League in 2018. 

Murs does have a footballing background, having played semi-professionally for Witham Town and continues to turn out for major charity games such as “Soccer Aid” His music may leave me cold, but I can’t help but like the chap. But I wanted to see the club, beyond the philanthropy.

My reason for feeling that way was my encounter with Olly Murs a couple of years ago at Haverhill Borough. There he turned up to watch his team and such were the antics of his young, female fans that he was completely unable to have a day off from being a pop star. I felt sorry for the guy- surely whatever your career choice surely you are entitled to a day off once in a while?

I’d like to think he’s allowed a little more peace at home games, and there is far more to West Street than the Murs connection. On this particular evening he wasn’t at the game, which may have been no bad thing, the car park was full as it was for a what was a relatively low crowd. 

It’s the grass bank that snakes from the turnstile block to the back of the far goal that makes the place what it is, evoking comparisons with Lewes’ iconic Dripping Pan ground and Brimscombe & Thrupp’s equally wonderful Meadow ground. Unlike the latter through here, the main  stand isn’t raised on the back- its at pitch level allowing for no end of viewing points on the pathway above. It wasn’t great for social distancing but in more normal times the opportunities are fantastic! 

Another recommendation is the sausage rolls, and no this blog isn’t a front LadBaby! We’d arrived in just enough time for kick-off, but not enough time for evening meal so I’d fully intended to buy Robyn and I pie and chips twice. But then I saw the the colossal puff pastry concoctions and actually had to ask what they were? The sardonic answer of “£3.50 mate” did make me smile! 

The game only sparked into like sporadically. The foul that produced the penalty did have one unintended consequence. I was stood behind the goal, and a fan was picking his way back to his viewing spot with 3 pints for him and his friends in a cardboard box. The referee pointed to the spot, he celebrated and the beers went flying! He trudged over to his place ruefully commenting that,

“He’d bloody better score, he’s already cost me 3 pints!”   

Thankfully Joe Claridge didn’t let him down and 3 pints were eventually converted to 3 points . It was a  surprise that was to be the only goal of the game. It wasn’t due to any lack of skill, endeavour or for that matter, excitement. It was just one of those games where you felt that Coggeshall who’d made a sluggish start to the season really needed the win. The question is will that win serve to kick start their season?