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Goldsands Stadium
AFC Bournemouth v Middlesbrough
  Saturday, March 15th, 2014, 3pm
Championship League
Alex Royal
(Middlesbrough fan)

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

Another away-day, another ground to tick off on my quest to do the 92.

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

I went with the official club coaches which left from the Riverside at 05.15am. We stopped twice on the way, once at at Leicester Forest Services on the M1 and and then at Rownhams Services on the M24. This was about 40 minutes drive from the ground where we arrived at 12.30pm. We were greeted by parking attendants who directed us to our coach park, just next to the away end.

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

As we arrived at the ground quite early, I decided to go and along and meet some of the Bournemouth players, who were arriving at the stadium. All of whom I met were quite happy to have a 'selfie' taken with me. We also to gave the 'Boro players a warm reception off the team coach, when it arrived just before 1pm. I also got chatting to quite a few of the home fans who turned out to be very friendly, I was wearing my Middlesbrough shirt so there was some good banter. My main highlight of the day was getting a warm welcome off Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn, who congratulated me on making the long trip south!

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

Dean Court is a neat little ground, and is now 'complete' with the introduction of the Ted MacDougall Stand. Away fans are housed in the East Stand, towards the Ted MacDougall Stand, where up to 1500 fans can be allocated. One of the nice features of the ground is that all the stands are the same size, one stand doesn't stand out like other away grounds I have been to.  The only real downside of where we were sat was that the sun was right in our eyes! I would recommend bringing a hat as I had to use my programme as a sun visor!

Steve Fletcher Stand

Steve Fletcher Stand

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

The game itself was pretty abysmal, Middlesbrough were abysmal, and Bournemouth deserved to win 2 or 3 nil, they wanted it more, and had 2 good chances, both of which brought the best out of our veteran goalkeeper Dimitrios Konstantopoulos! I honesty don't think Boro had one shot on target all game, that's how bad we were, a point was lucky in my opinion. The atmosphere around the ground is good, and is boosted by the presence of a drummer in the Steve Fletcher Stand, there is little segregation between home and away fans, so there was plenty of banter.

On the bright side, Middlesbrough played in a one-off third kit, after referee Fred Graham deemed both our kits to be too similar to Bournemouth's home colours of red and black. At the end of the game most of our players threw theirs into the crowd, and I was lucky enough to get Albert Adomah's!

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

It took out 45 minutes to get out of the ground after the game, it was a bit of a mad scramble to get out of the car park. We eventually got back on the motorway at about 1730, we continued along the motorway until a brief stop for a driver change at Leicester Forest services at 2045, back onto the coach at 9pm, arriving back in Teesside at quarter to midnight!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Fantastic away day, real shame about the result, Middlesbrough were absolutely dreadful, and we were lucky to come away with a point to be quite honest. Will be returning next year! 9/10!

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