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Underhill Stadium  - Barnet
Monday, April 25th, 2011
V Oxford United, League Two, 3pm
By Matthew Peck

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

Having been used to our all seater, 21st century stadium at Oxford I was really looking forward to the atmosphere that an older stadium provides, and the wooden structure, pillars and terraces didn’t disappoint. I had heard that it was a good day out, and that the slope of the pitch had to be seen to be believed! The stands were right next to the touchline which also helped get the crowd going. All in all a great football ground with real character.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Driving down was as easy as it could ever be on the M25! Set off nice and early, and barring the road works on the M25 around the north of London it was a simple drive. The ground is about 20 minutes from the motorway, and car parking can be found either on the streets surrounding Underhill, or, if you get there early, you can park in High Barnet tube station (Northern Line) for a small charge. We went on bank holiday so it was £1 flat rate all day. Saturdays or Tuesday nights would vary from this.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We walked down the road from the station, where an atmosphere had already begun. Fans from both clubs were walking about, but we found a pub just off the road, before the stadium which appeared to be designated an “away” pub. For food, a short walk up the hill to the town centre provides various fast food outlets and with a bit of research, pubs with typical pub food can be found within 15 minutes of the ground.

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

To tell the truth, the ground took me by surprise. We walked along a street and down an alleyway to emerge right in front of the away entrance to the ground. Right in the middle of the residential area. Entering the ground was preceded by a swift bag check. We saw the seated home stand ahead and the main stand running along one side, to our right. Behind us was the away seated area, which looked more like a temporary stand, and another terrace for the home supporters. We found a spot our terrace, and our initial reaction was that we couldn’t see the corner away to our left through pillars and people. But this was only a very minor drawback.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The game typified Oxford’s season in many ways. Strong going forward, but simple mistakes allowed teams in. Having gone behind twice, and lucky not to be more, I was happy with the 2-2 draw. The home fans made some real noise, although things did go quiet when we equalised both times. Understandable given their need for points at this point in the season. Their fans really got behind the team, and the impression was that they were passionate about their clubs' Football League status being kept intact. The atmosphere was helped in the away end by the news of Swindon's demise in League One meaning a local derby against us for the 2011-2012 season. The stewards were professional, friendly and helpful and the catering services were good as you could get, being able to queue for food, and still be able to watch the game.

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

Leaving the ground was simple, but leaving the car park was another matter. One exit from the car park meant a long tailback and an awkward right hand turn in busy traffic would have made it tricky, but with a Sat Nav, turning left and doubling back through side streets is not difficult. A lasting memory was while queuing in traffic, I had my window down, a young Barnet fan walked past, stopped, shook my hand and wished us a safe trip home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Great day, and very happy Barnet FC managed to avoid relegation as I can look forward to another trip to Underhill this season. 

 

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