Football Ground Guide logo

Recreation Ground
  Aldershot Town v  Colchester United
League Two
, September 6th 2008, 3pm
Martyn Stimpson
(Gillingham fan)

Although we’re Colchester fans, the Colchester – Leicester game had been called off due to international duty and we hadn’t renewed our England membership, so we found ourselves with a free weekend.  So the obvious thing to do was to go to a new ground and Aldershot Town at home to Darlington provided the perfect solution, especially as Darlington have three ex-Colchester players playing for them.  

We’d mapped out our route to the ground (and a few pubs) before leaving and headed straight to the town of Aldershot, approaching from the East on the A323 which leads right to the football ground.  With England playing that evening we thought we’d go to the three lions before the game (the White Lion, the Red Lion and the Golden Lion).  We headed for the first of the three lions, the White Lion on Lower Farnham Road, and found some street parking there (about a mile from the ground).  A fantastic pub with four real ales from the Triple fff brewery, friendly staff and locals.  We joined a conversation with some other football fans that turned out to be both local Aldershot fans and DAFTS (Darlington Away Far Travelling Supporters). Everyone was sociable, friendly and happy to share their football related stories with each other. 

We walked from there, along Ash Road towards the ground, taking on board a chippy just around the corner from the White Lion.  Our next stop was the Red Lion, Ash Road, a large pub on a junction that also had four real ales on offer (Doom Bar, Bombardier, London Pride and local brew Hog’s Back TEA). There were a few home fans in here and again everyone seemed friendly and were watching Scotland play Macedonia on the TV. Apparently this pub also serves food on matchday lunchtimes.  After this we carried on towards the ground and stopped off in the Golden Lion, a small but again friendly locals pub with just the one real ale on (London Pride) and again with the Scotland game showing on the TV. From there it was a short walk to the ground.   

As we got to the ground we decided we go in the away end and had a bit of a route march up the hill, though a park and down some steps to the turnstiles.  Away fans should be aware that, as pleasant a walk through the park that it is, it does take 5-10 minutes to get from the home turnstiles around to the away end.  There was also a bit of a queue at the turnstiles as there were only two turnstiles for the away fans. 

The away terracing is part of the East Bank, a large Dutch barn that stretches across behind the goal.  To the left is the South Stand, a small stand about half the length of the pitch (where the away seating is) with terracing either side of it.  To the right is the main stand, housing home fans, that stretches the length of the pitch and appeared to be mostly seating.  There is no stand at the opposite end of the ground, just a large portacabin that apparently houses the police control room and some trees. The East Bank itself is split between home and away fans and the shape of the roof allows for both sets of fans to make a lot of noise (Aldershot fans are clearly aware of this and were making the most of it). The main drawback was the posts at the front of the stand that obscure the view a little. 

It was a good game of football with both sides trying to play good football, Aldershot moving the ball quickly amongst themselves and Darlington playing a good and capable possession game.  Both sets of fans contributed to a great atmosphere with plenty of chanting throughout the game.  Didn’t particularly notice the stewards throughout the game (always a good sign) and although toilet facilities were limited to a small portacabin behind the stand (must be a nightmare when there’s a full away allocation) they were reasonably clean and fully functioning.  There was also a food stall behind the stand but none of us tried it out. 

After the game, a 2-1 victory to Aldershot, we walked back to the car by which time most of the traffic had cleared. Apparently there are also car parks closer to the ground and I would guess some street parking is available fairly close too. The station is also only a few minutes’ walk away from the ground. 

Overall, this was a very enjoyable day out.  Great beer available in the White Lion, both sets of fans were very agreeable, an entertaining and competitive (but without gamesmanship) game supported by a cracking atmosphere in a traditional and quirky old ground. This is what football is really about... much more fun that visiting a characterless warehouse on the edge of town without a decent pub in sight.  I think we made the right decision to go to Aldershot instead of Espanyol for the Andorra – England game.  :o)

Are you an away or general football fan who has visited the Recreation Ground recently?
If so why not submit your own review of the ground and general day out?
Find out more about how to submit a review

Return to the Guide to the Recreation Ground Aldershot Town page

Football Ground Guide Index