Sir Bobby Robson`s recent passing, honoured by the football fraternity over weekend, brought home the importance behind honouring Dick Graham at the club`s Community Stadium. Vital brings you the latest.
Some months back, a group of dedicated Colchester United fans, musing on how to make the year-old Western Homes Community Stadium feel less like a house and more homely, started a campaign to honour ex-manager, Dick Graham.
He, the now grand old town resident, a happily retired octogenarian who masterminded the side`s oft-recalled F.A. Cup victory over Leeds United in 1971.
His contribution to the club is remembered still more through a first-hand account in the recently issued My Layer Road commemorative book, where Graham is afforded a whole chapter to recall the pomp of his Colchester days. Graham painted dressing-rooms himself and called the media with his own press-releases.
He also claimed to feel instinctively that Colchester would topple a table-topping Leeds side in ’71, full of internationals. “I knew, beyond all shadow of a doubt, that we were going to beat Leeds. I can`t tell you why – I just did. It wasn`t wishful thinking, it was total conviction. I knew we were going to win.”
Graham`s efforts at the club were rewarded at Layer Road but a new drive to gain recognition for him at Weston Homes began with the suggested re-naming of the West Stand.
This, although not unanimously supported by all Colchester fans, drew widespread support until Chief Expectative, Steve Bradshaw, said future commercial ventures might be damaged if it happened.
Other ways to increase atmosphere were explored in the interim and club captain, Dean Hammond, helped Supporters` Association, the CUCSA, buy some instruments to increase their terrace presence.
In late July, the club and those behind the original campaign agreed to make it a tribute, instead; the feasibly of erecting a statute is now being explored after the first official meeting. National Lottery funding is an option, according to the group, who say a press release will be forthcoming.
Sir Bobby, called a King of East Anglia for his success at Ipswich Town, always maintained how proud he was to receive an ultimate accolade, a bronze bust, while he was still alive. It would be fantastically deferent of Colchester United fans to ensure, if it all goes ahead, that Graham is afforded the same pleasure.
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