Villa Park - Aston Villa
Wednesday, November 3rd 2004
England Vs Holland, Friendly, 7.45pm
By Christopher Walker
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)
This was to be my
first England game, and against exciting opposition in Holland (or so we thought). I in particular was looking forward
to visiting Villa Park after seeing it on the telly numerous occasions.
Also my Brother is a commentator for a BBC Radio Sheffield and assured me
Villa Park would not disappoint.
Four of us caught the train from Sheffield myself and a fellow blade, and a pair of Wednesday fans -
which was an experience in itself! Birmingham is perhaps not
the most attractive city when arriving on a train but we were pleasantly
surprised by the area around New Street Station. There was a plexiglass
tourist info booth near the station where we were given directions to the
correct bus stop. The ground is about 5 mins on the bus.
This was an England game so we were all home fans really! We didn't see many Dutch fans so I cant say too much on the subject. No pub we were all students and pretty skint - especially Neil, but somethings never change!
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.
The exterior I found a little disappointing to
be honest it was just, well bland really. And not brilliantly lit up for a
night game. However upon entering the Trinity Stand and climbing the
mountain of stairs to the top we walked out of the gangway onto to the top
tier. The ground was absolutely spectacular and it seemed simply huge. The
whole of the ground was a sparkling clean modern affair but without being
at all dull. It has so far been the most impressive league ground I have
been too (but I'd only ever seen championship football until now).
The game was absolutely poor, a sheer waste of £42.50 plus travel costs really. It has been voted in top ten worst England games in memory. No wonder! Holland's squad was utterly depleted and Sven was in 'experimental' mode and we know what that usually meant. A 0-0 draw and the highlight was Holland hitting the post with a great 20 yard diagonal drive beyond Robinson. Back to the ground, clean modern toilets a plenty nice big concourses plenty of food available and a short wait time, although my pasty was as bland as dry bread but I don't expect a lot form football food really.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game.
We were going to try and use Witton station for the short trip to
New Street and grab a
lift from their however leaving the ground was a farce. If we had joined
the queue for the station we'd still be there! We met our lift near the
ground and the traffic was immense. I don't know how the Villa fans cope -
it was atrocious!
A great ground , probably has a great atmosphere at a Villa game but it didn't at the England friendly. Be prepared for heavy traffic but in all in all you may only find a small handful of better grounds in the UK.
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