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Villa Park
Aston Villa v Newcastle United

Sunday, May 24th 2009, 4pm
Premier League

By Craig Woodhead
(Newcastle United fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
This was the big one for us Newcastle fans, a win or go home occasion, so I was filled with a mixture of excitement and nerves. I'd never been to Villa Park before, so I was also looking forward to going to a new ground.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
Coach journey down was a good one filled with plenty of singing. We stopped off at Lichfield, where we enjoyed a few pints in a pub called "The Crown" near the shopping centre. Then onto Villa Park. From where the coaches parked, it was impossible to miss the ground as we parked right next to it.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
We arrived slightly late, so we just went straight into the ground as soon as we got there. Alcohol was not on sale on the concourse, which a lot of fans including myself weren't happy about, however, there was a Ladbrokes outlet inside.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

I didn't think that Villa Park was as big as it is. If the corners of the stadium get developed, the ground will definitely be placed as one of the elite stadiums in the UK. The Away fans are located in the corner of the ground and for us the upper and lower tiers were available. Since all of fans stand up, leg room wasn't really an issue, but since I was on the end of the very back row, my seat was on the stairs, so I nearly fell down them a couple of times. Probably my own fault though!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game itself was horrific. No passion at all from Newcastle, and a scrappy own goal by Damien Duff confided us to the Championship next season. The Villa fans were loud at times, but since they had nothing to play for really their noise was good. The fans situated in the corner behind the goal seem to be the ones trying to intimidate the away fans, but it was all in good fun. I found the police and stewards really friendly and helpful, and they were much better than the ones that I have seen on previous away days.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I'm not sure how long it took to get away from the ground, but it felt like an eternity, probably because we had just been relegated, but the buses did have some difficulty getting out of the car park. The Villa fans also lined the streets on our way out trying to bait us into a reaction.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The day itself was great, but it was just a shame about the result. I would definitely come back to Villa park again, but it's now just a matter of when we will get the opportunity. 

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