Cherry Red Records Stadium
AFC Wimbledon v Aldershot Town
Saturday, January 28th 2012, 3pm
By Rob Garforth
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
I had been to Kingsmeadow on a number of occasions before (for both AFC Wimbledon and Kingstonian) although this was my first visit there as a Football League ground. Being a fan of Ryman League Bognor Regis Town, the main purpose of this particular visit was the fact that prolific Bognor striker Jason Prior had transferred to the Dons during the week and was named in the squad, so I went along mainly to check out his Football League debut if he was to appear. And appear he did, coming on as a 74th minute substitute. As for his performance, he didn't do badly but once he becomes more familiar with the pace in League Two then I'm sure he'll start banging in the goals in for them.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
I travelled from Bognor Regis by train and it was a straightforward enough journey and having visited the ground before, knew where to go. The ground isn't too far away from Norbiton station and for any first-timers, its simply a case of follow those wearing blue and yellow.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
I went straight to the ground and visited the small club shop (such is the size of it, they also sell products on stalls outside!). In the car park you will also see a stall selling a large range of metal badges which is also worth a look. As this game was likely to be a sell-out (and indeed it was), I then queued for my ticket which I had ordered online. Those planning to watch AFC Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow in the future would be advised to visit the Dons website first and order their ticket. The problem for the Dons is simply the size of the stadium as even at this stage, they have quickly outgrown it.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
My initial first impression was that the ground hadn't changed since my last visit some three years earlier, when the Dons met Bognor in the Conference South. However, the Kingston Road end was a fairly flat terrace on previous visits but has since been renovated, adding a number of rows, which even for somebody my height (5ft 8), now allows a very good view of the action. I understand there are plans to replace this terrace with a 1,000 seat stand.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
As mentioned earlier, the match was a sell-out and although the terrace was full, it wasn't as cramped like previous experiences in the old days of Football League terracing, it was comfortable, breathable. The Kingston Road terrace had a large contingent of families and I have to say, the whole experience was very pleasant. I didn't hear a single profanity all afternoon and even the guy in front of me was checking that I could see the action okay. Regarding food, I had a portion of chips which was a tray for £2 which wasn't bad - have had far worse value at non-league grounds. The match itself was a 2-1 victory for Aldershot, which I felt they deserved overall.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
No problem here. Again, just a simple walk back to Norbiton station.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
A very enjoyable day out and one I will consider doing again.
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