| 1. Why
you were looking forward to going to the ground
(or not as the case may be):
Of course the obvious reason for going to the emirates stadium was because it was the first competitive game at the stadium. Also having never been to Highbury arsenal was a game that I wanted to go to. Also the game marked Martin O'Neill's return to management.
2.How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking:
Getting to the ground was very easy although travelling through a busy north London was a bit tedious. It is a simple journey straight down the M1 and when you arrive at the stadium I was shocked at how big it was. Parking was very hard as it was a capacity sell out of over 60,000 people, but we managed to park quite close to the ground near Drayton park.
3.What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Before the game we visited a local McDonalds on the main road although there are several fast food outlets around the ground. We then circled the ground a few times and admired the quite brilliant emirates. We saw the large Arsenal letters monument and the bridge leading out of the ground to the main street. The ground layout is quite confusing and it is quite hard to
find the away end as the ground is so similar all the way around!!! The fans were very friendly and there was no real banter between the home and away fans.
4.What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The ground provides the modern scanning turnstiles which caused some confusion with the villa fans as there was no bar code on the tickets!! When we arrived in the stadium the concourses were large and very spacious, they were nicely decorated and had a very modern food outlet which sold the usual footie grub although there were quite expensive(£4 for a pie). First impressions of the ground was how big it was, it is quite simply huge. When we found our seats we found to our delight that they were padded and very large (although I knew we would barely be using them). The view of the pitch is spectacular and although we were sitting towards the back of the stand we could still see everything that happened during the match.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc.
The game was excellent and after a very tense first half Olof Mellberg headed the villa into the lead in front of the villa fans who (including myself) went absolutely crazy. The atmosphere being generated from the away end was excellent and we did not stop singing even after we conceded a late equaliser.
The stewarding was very relaxed and we stood the whole game without any complaint from the stewards or police from inside the ground. The arsenal fans made some noise although they were definitely outsang by us!! When the final whistle was blew we were very noisy and applauded our boys on an excellent 1-1 draw. All of the villa fans went into the concourses and there was no problem getting out although there was 3000 of us.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game
After the game getting away from the ground was quite tedious as the police decided to impose a silly one way system around the ground. This added an extra 30 minutes on to a rather simple journey away from north London.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out
Overall I thought that the day was excellent and I will definitely recommend other fans to go. I will be returning to the ground next season and I can only hope we get such a great result from this top quality stadium.
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