Cherry Records Fan's Stadium - AFC Wimbledon
Saturday, October 15th 2011,
V Crewe Alexandra, League Two 3pm
By Jack Jones
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
I was very much looking forward to visiting Wimbledon, as it was a new ground for me. I’m sure all of the other travelling Crewe fans were looking forward to it as well. Plus I’ve always had a soft spot for Wimbledon after their troubles 10 years ago.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
It was very easy to find my way to the ground. I arrived at Norbiton station and followed the gaggle of blue shirts heading in what seemed to be the direction of the stadium. If you arrive from Central London, you will exit via a ramp, and be on the correct side to get to the ground. You exit the station, turn immediately left down Norbiton Avenue, follow it round to the left until you hit Gloucester Avenue. Make a right and keep going until you reach the main road. Turn left and walk down the main road (A2043) for about 1/4 of a mile and the ground is on your right.
However, at that point things can be a bit misleading. If you take the first right into what looks like the main entrance, you won’t be able to access the away end. You have to keep going another 50 or so meters past the first turn off on the main road and make the next right to get to the away end.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
As it was a family fun day, I decided to head into the club bar at the back of the Main Stand. The stewards and Wombles fans were very cheerful and my friend even had some banter with the local constabulary.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
From the outside, the ground seems like any other of similar size, however, once you enter, it’s very cramped. The away end is particularly bad for this. The terrace opposite the Main Stand, where the away fans are located, is divided up into three sections separated by barriers. We were allocated a third of the stand, but brought more fans than what was expected. This led to a very cramped and claustrophobic environment. The three steps at the back of the terrace were also very shallow, which, with the high numbers, meant the view to the left (towards the Tempest End) was awful.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game itself was good (what I could see of it). However, the view was so bad to my left I gave up trying to see anything to my left after half time. Thankfully, most of the action happened at the end we were situated at.
Wimbledon controlled the first half, having numerous opportunities. Somewhat fortuitously, we reached the break level at 0-0. We then scored almost from the kick off in the 2nd half with a screamer. Wimbledon equalised 10 minutes later and looked like they would push on and win the game. However, with 10 minutes to go and our first real attack since the equaliser, we scored and another superb goal 2 minutes from time gave us an excellent, if slightly flattering, 3-1 win.
The atmosphere, despite the cramped conditions, was excellent and with the low roof even modest numbers could make some real noise. I didn’t see any stewards, again probably down to the view more than there being none around. I didn’t purchase refreshments nor use the toilets, so can’t comment on them.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Getting away from the ground was a doddle, even after a little unplanned detour around Kingston, we found our way back to Norbiton easy enough.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Overall, an excellent day out. The weather was also excellent, which meant that, on top of the friendly fans/atmosphere and good result, it was a really enjoyable experience and one I wouldn’t hesitate to do again. Even the poor view couldn’t detract from what was a brilliant day all round. 9/10.
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