Bournemouth v Crawley Town Saturday, December 29th 2012, League One, 3pm. By Matthew Cowdrey
1. Why you were looking forward to
going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
Since Crawley’s rise to the heady heights of League
One the average journey to an away game is now 185
miles. This made Bournemouth a veritable local
derby. That combined with the helpful timing of the
game between Boxing Day and New Year and the fact
that I have family in the area meant that it was an
easy game to pencil in.
The family visit took place in the morning and I
realised that the family members I was visiting only
lived three quarters of a mile from the ground. With
hindsight I should have walked…!
Crawley had been in a good run of form recently with
two good away wins (Including Portsmouth on Boxing
Day) so expectation was high.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car
The drive to and From Bournemouth was extremely
easy. Despite warnings of localised flooding near
Chichester, there were no delays to speak of. Heavy
rain on the way home made the drive hard work, but
at no stage was it difficult or painfully long. Door
to door was easily under two hours.
Finding the ground was simple enough and car parking
was ample despite the warnings the day before.
Having said that, we arrived early (12:20) with a
view to having lunch before the game. Car parking
cost a pound and our early arrival secured us a
space within 20 feet of the exit and pointing in the
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home
On a normal home game as an away fan you have the
choice of lunch at the pavilion in the park or the
Legends Café and Bistro at the ground. The
1910 Supporters Bar at the ground is for home fans
only. Sadly as the game fell during the holiday
period the Pavilion was not open. We made our way to
the Legends Café and Bistro at 12:20 and
attempted to order some food. At this point we were
told we couldn’t order food because they stopped
serving at 1pm on a match day. When I pointed out
that it was only 12:20 I was told that “well we’re
stopping early today. You can get a burger in the
ground later if you want”. It wasn’t exactly the
warm welcome I was expecting to a Café and
Bistro on match day. Stopping food at 1pm on a
normal Saturday seems a bit odd. The bar itself was
somewhat lifeless and a little clinical. The bar ran
out of draft bitter by 1pm and keg bitter by 1:15.
The bar was poorly understaffed and when the Crawley
support arrived (all 380 of us) they seemed woefully
The few home fans in the Legends Bar weren’t
particularly friendly or talkative and most seemed
to resent the presence of away fans in their bar.
Whilst not hostile I wouldn’t class the atmosphere
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first
impressions of away end then other sides of the
Three sides of the ground look very impressive, but
without a South Stand of any sort it looks a bit
odd. The away fans are put on the South end of the
East Stand next to the open end of the ground which
gave you the added pleasure of feeling detached from
the main atmosphere whilst at the same time being
blasted in the face by a strong South Westerly wind
coming straight in off the channel. This is
definitely a ground to wrap up for as an away fan.
Seating was comfortable enough and being well over
six foot myself this made a welcome change to most
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards,
pies, facilities etc..
Despite the promise of burgers in the ground, no
food was available. There is a bar though which is
great if you’re 40 but not so good for my 8 year old
son. The stewards were clearly embarrassed by the
lack of food and one of the female stewards even let
us back out of the ground and walked us round to the
outside of the North Stand in the middle of the home
fans so we could buy a couple of hot dogs. She then
walked us back round to the away end and let us in
through a side door. All of the stewards were
welcoming, polite and friendly.
Prior to the game the referee Lee Probert who was
the referee when Crawley played Man Utd at Old
Trafford came over to speak to the Crawley
fans during his warm-up. A nice, unexpected and
A few of the slightly more inebriated Crawley fans
(clearly too much Christmas cheer) gave some of the
stewards a fair bit of stick until the other Crawley
fans told them to shut up, but not once were they
greeted with anything but a smile from the Stewards.
The game itself was something of a damp squib.
Crawley captain Gary Alexander won possibly his
first header of the season to score after 16
minutes, sadly however in the wrong net. A sleepy
defence at a free kick towards of the end of the
first half sealed our fate and the lacklustre
performance continued throughout the second half to
tee up the inevitable third goal.
The biggest round of applause all day from the
Crawley fans was for former Crawley talisman Matt
Tubbs as he came on as a late substitute for
Bournemouth. Crawley were well beaten by a
revitalised team that surely must be favourites for
promotion to the Championship now. The speed of play
(and thought) left Crawley in their wake and Crawley
simply didn’t have the ability to deal with them.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the
Although only 20 feet from the exit of the car park
and not hanging around once the final whistle went,
it still took nearly 30 minutes to get as far as the
main road. The ground is down a single road and
there would appear to be many who saved the £1
car parking fee to park in side roads as the exit
did seem to take a while.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Whilst easily accessible on the way in, the exit
wasn’t smooth and the lack of any food matched with
surly service and a breezy, three-quarter stadium
didn’t exactly get us in the mood for a happy day
out. The performance of Crawley was the final nail
in the coffin, but Bournemouth in their current form
are a delight to watch. I’m sure that once the new
South Stand is completed and somebody works out how
to order food that the experience will improve
Are you an away or general football fan
who has visited Dean Court recently?
If so why not submit your own review of the ground and
general day out? Click here to find out more.