I had not been to Blackburn for
a number of years. My last visit was some time ago in the late 70’s,
therefore I was looking forward to seeing the ground as this could be said
to be a new tick for me. On my last visit I remember that the old Ewood
Park was a reasonably good stadium, but a bit ram-shackled in some parts
and in need of a new coat of paint. Having seen the revamped stadium only
on TV I was looking forward to enjoying a game in comfortable
We came off the M62 at Junction 18 and headed north
onto the M66, then onto the M56 and travelled west for about ten miles or
so. Before we knew it Blackburn was looming up on the horizon and the
steel girders holding up the Ewood Park stands were visible to the right
in amongst the relatively low spread of roof tops. We came off at Junction
4 and seemed to double back on ourselves for a quarter of a mile or so,
then the football signs on a brown background soon appeared and we knew we
were on the right road.
The police were out in force directing the
traffic and were stopping traffic from another direction so the long
column of vehicles carrying the City fans was giving precedence. Along the
road going into Blackburn are a number of unofficial car parks. We parked
in the first one, a school car park costing £3. We were told by the
attendant, a very pleasant lady, that the ground was about 15 minutes
walk, which I must say was about right; though it was all down hill. This
means coming back after the game was going to be a bit of a hike.
It was interesting to note that car parks nearer to the ground
increased in price the nearer you got to it. There was even a small amount
of parking in the forecourt of a petrol station; which is something I had
never seen before. We passed the first pub (The Golden Cup) on the left,
which is just on the other side of the underpass holding up the motorway.
We also went passed the ‘Bear Hotel’ to the right. Both pubs were crammed
with Hull fans. Within a matter of another five to ten minutes walk we
came to ’The Fernhurst’. Both sides of the pub were open to away fans. I
was impressed to see the sign above the main entrance welcoming the Hull
fans with some witty comments about Tigers, ‘showing teeth’ and
There was plenty of room in the pub. The service was
good and the staff friendly. We were served within a matter of a minute or
two and settled to watch the early kick off on the TV screen. There was a
party atmosphere in the pub car park with hundreds of City fans enjoying
the atmosphere and the warm sunshine. The ubiquitous beach ball was been
tossed into the air. There were a good number of police around the pub,
but it was not over the top and they were relaxed and even engaged in some
friendly banter. After a couple of beers we departed and headed for the
ground which is literally fifty yards up the road.
The first thing
that struck me when getting inside was that three sides of the ground were
new and impressive with their shiny blue seats and glass, but the fourth
side was the original design I recall from my previous visits to Ewood.
Although I don’t have the longest legs in the world the seating space was
tight with my knees grating along the back of the seat in front. This
could be why so many fans decided to stand for long periods before and
even during the game, which I guess is not supposed to be the idea of all
seater stadiums! That said the view was excellent.
entertainment was limited. The PA system was deafeningly loud and they
just seemed to reply over and over the MOTD highlights of the previous
Blackburn game on a big screen to the right of the away supporters with
in-house commentary added. The commentary was a little partisan in tone.
Although I very infrequently purchase food at games there appeared
to be plenty of outlets, some selling beer, and pies, burgers and whatnot.
I did note that the toilets were clean, well maintained, plentiful and
well lit. The stewards were laid back as were the police who maintained a
high visible presence but were not over bearing.
Before and during
the game the home fans were quiet, but the atmosphere in the away end was
excellent. It was a decent game between two equally matched sides on the
day. City came back from a goal down to take a well deserved point.
After the game we all got out of the ground fairly easily. The
only down side was the hike back up the hill to the school where the car
was parked. Getting out was easy as the police had stopped the traffic
coming into Blackburn, which made getting out all the easier. All in all
it was a good day. Which was no doubt helped by the fact that we took a
point in our first ever premier league away game.
are that there is decent, big pub just a long throwing from the away end.
There is plenty of parking to be had if you arrive early enough and it’s a
very easy ground to find. I would highly recommend a trip to Ewood Park.