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Valley Parade
Bradford City
Gillingham
Saturday, September 18th 2010, 3pm

League Two
James Grimshaw
(Gillingham fan)

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

I have been to this ground a few times now in recent years and once again I am never failed to be impressed by the size of the two large stands there. It is well worth the 200 mile 4 hour trip up and is one of my favourite away days. I was particularly looking forward to today's visit after hearing we would now be housed in the East Stand rather than the small "Dallas" stand that was the away end on my last visits. I must say the east stand answers all the problems with the "Dallas" stand e.g leg room, facilities.

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

As ever I was on the supporters coach which handily pulled up outside the away turnstiles so there was no problems. You can spot the ground from a mile off due to the two large stands and the floodlights.

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

We arrived in plenty of time and I chose to eat in the ground but on previous occasions I have been to a pub called The Bradford Arms which is always very friendly with no problems from home fans. There are a selection of fast food places within a few minutes of the ground and a McDonalds in a retail park next to Bradford Forster Square railway station which is only about a ten minute walk from the ground, however I doubt there will be many Gills fans travelling there on the train!

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

The ground is fantastic and obviously towers over many grounds in this league however the facilities in the small Dallas Stand are very poor compared to the rest of the ground. It looks out of place however it now houses the more vocal of their supporters. The bottom tier was not open which leads to a packed top tier. The two large stands are a lot bigger than the rest of the ground and the view from our end was mixed as you could see one goal mouth very clear but the other was quite far away. We were sharing the stand with their fans with little but a line of stewards separating us but there was little to worry about as the fans in the stand were more bothered about the football.

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

Unfortunately we experienced one of the worst things in football: conceding in the last minute. The stewards were friendly and were never really called upon as both sets of fans behaved perfectly. They were very vocal but you expect that with an attendance of over 10,000 compared to our 4,000 at home but as ever we did our bit to try and make ourselves heard. I bought a burger which fortunately lived up to its high price tag! There was plenty on offer with friendly kiosk staff. The game wasn't the best and obviously the goal in the last minute stung after we had battled to what had seemed to be a deserved point. The game was perhaps marred by a few decisions by the officials against both teams and a few harsh challenges.

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

We got away fine after the game and waited about 5 minutes for the crowds to clear off the road. They gave us no trouble and were obviously relieved to get the win. The journey back was surprisingly quick and the defeat didn't spoil our mood as we were still optimistic for the season looking to bounce back.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

All in all a great day out I recommend all fans pick this as one of their away days a fantastic stadium with a great support they are ex premier league and some smaller teams may not have had many opportunities to go to stadiums as large as this so they should take the chance. (as a Gills fan I am used to bad away results take last season for example no wins away so I try to stay optimistic about every away trip!).


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