COLCHESTER United have been involved in plenty of bizarre incidents, over the years.

In part one of a three-part Gazette series, Sir Bob Russell takes a look at some of the U's more unusual football trivia.

“Pulp Football” is the title of a book given to me by my family for a birthday present.

It is accurately described as “an amazing anthology of real football stories you simply couldn’t make up.”

It was written by national newspaper football reporter Nick Szczepanik and amongst the wacky accounts was one involving a game at Layer Road, which has prompted me to recall other incidents involving Colchester United which I feel qualify for a second book.

I am grateful to Graeson Laitt, renowned Colchester United statistician, and Francis Ponder, former Gazette sports writer, for their assistance with my memory in writing this compilation.

But first, the incident – which I witnessed when it happened 50 years ago – as written in the book:

Brentford goalkeeper Chic Brodie had his career finished in October 1970 by a dog that had run onto the pitch in a match against Colchester United, at Layer Road.

The dog chased a backpass and collided with Brodie’s left leg, damaging knee ligaments.

It was clearly a late challenge as Brodie had already picked up the ball, as goalkeepers were then allowed to do.

Although Brodie was able to make five more League appearances, the injury eventually caused him to retire from League football at the end of the 1970-71 season.

“The dog might have been a small one, but it just happened to be a solid one,” he said.

My recollection of the incident is that dog and ball arrived at the same time as Brodie knelt to receive the ball.

The dog had a few seconds earlier arrived onto the pitch, chased the ball, crashed into the Brentford keeper, and then disappeared back into the crowd.

The ownership of the dog was never discovered. At the time we thought Brodie was feigning injury and the incident caused much amusement to the fans.

Sadly, it turned out to be a very serious, career-ending injury.


The tendency by some people to do a streak – taking off their clothes and running naked across a sports arena watched by thousands of spectators – is, fortunately, not a common occurrence.

Although around the country there have been several such incidents over the years, they do not warrant unique status as a noteworthy unusual incident…….except, perhaps, when the would-be streaker could not get his leg over the perimeter wall because he was too intoxicated!

And the match in question was the first to be held at Colchester’s new Community Stadium.

It was a gala-opening night celebration, on Monday August 4, 2008.

At half-time, with the U’s playing an invitation game against Spanish club Athletic Bilbao, from the North Stand a naked man appeared and attempted to climb over the wall and onto the pitch.

But he had clearly over-indulged in alcohol and was not able to get his second leg over, leaving him straddling the wall as stewards rushed forward and removed him from the scene.


A truly bizarre sight – it was screened that evening during the closing credits of BBC Television’s “Match of the Day” programme – was the celebration when the goal of the match was the consolation goal scored by Leamington in a 9-1 thrashing by Colchester United in the 1st Round of the FA Cup at Layer Road.

This was on 5th November, 2005.

With Colchester seven nil in front, a 30-yard thunderbolt at the Layer Road end resulted in the entire crowd cheering as the visitors scored…….to be followed by yet more prolonged cheers when a Leamington supporter came over the wall to join the players in the celebration.

He was wearing a dress, a big Afro wig, and clutching a full-sized blow up doll.

Stewards grappled him to the ground – with the now released doll bobbing around. Both the fan and doll were put back into the crowd, a packed terrace of standing visiting supporters.