STRUGGLING for Christmas present ideas this coming festive season? Here might be an answer.

Any Colchester United supporter, or indeed any football fan, could do worse than find a copy of 'ON THE ROAD WITH U'S AND BLUES' in their festive stocking.

Long-time local football journalist, Carl Marston, who began covering the U's following their return to the Football League in 1992, traces the 124 Football League grounds that he has visited, over the past three decades, in this 350-page book that is packed with photographs, as well as memories.

Some of the stadiums are long gone, like Brighton's Goldstone Ground, Chesterfield's Saltergate and Arsenal's Highbury.

Others hosted some wonderful U's memories, including the never-to-be-forgotten trip to Chelsea's Stamford Bridge (FA Cup tie in 2006), and the opening day 7-1 win at Norwich City in 2009.

Of course it's not always been plain sailing, following the U's on the road. An infamous 7-3 drubbing at Darlington's old Feethams ground, and a 5-0 thrashing at Hereford United when Roy McDonough's men had two keepers sent off, both feature in the book from the incident-packed 1993-94 campaign.


Over the years, author Carl has followed the ups-and-downs of life at Layer Road, during the reigns of McDonough, George Burley, Steve Wignall, Mick Wadsworth, Steve Whitton, Phil Parkinson and Geraint Williams. These were in the days before the delights of Twitter, blogs, vlogs and podcasts were born.

He has also endured the leaner years, at the Community Stadium, with the likes of Paul Lambert, Aidy Boothroyd, John Ward, Joe Dunne, Tony Humes, Kevin Keen, John McGreal, Steve Ball, Wayne Brown and most recently Hayden Mullins all having spells at the helm.

For added spice, the book kicks off with Carl's earlier days covering John Beck's Cambridge United, when the Abbey Stadium club came close to gatecrashing the newly-formed Premier League, and the two depressing but never-dull seasons at Ipswich Town, when Roy Keane failed in such spectacular fashion.

Along the way, Carl recounts stories of being left behind by the team coach (at Torquay United during Burley's regime) and struggling to get in (at Doncaster's old Belle Vue ground), as well as rubbing shoulders with opposing managers such as Kevin Keegan, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The book ends with several former Colchester players and managers revealing the best and worst football grounds of their own careers, including Scott McGleish, Joe Keith, Paul Abrahams, Paul Gibbs and Kem Izzet.

- To obtain a copy of 'ON THE ROAD WITH U'S AND BLUES,' you can visit the publisher's website JMD media at - - where you can get 25% off the RRP by using the code - marston25.

- Alternatively, for a signed copy of the book, contact the author at

- Any proceeds from the book will be donated to the Teenage Cancer Trust. Donations to