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American Express Community Stadium
Brighton & Hove Albion v Millwall
Championship League
Tuesday, February 14th 2012, 7.45pm
By Bob Asprey

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground:

I was looking forward to the trip as it is a new ground, but concerned about getting in and out of the stadium due to the well documented (here and elsewhere) transport issues.  Could it really be as bad as they say?


2. How easy was your journey:

We took the Mill Road park and ride option and before the match it was quite well organised although the journey to the stadium took 25 minutes due to traffic congestion.


3. What you did before the game:

We went straight to the ground.  They have made a big thing of the local pies and real ale.


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

The ground is impressive on the outside but strangely unfinished looking on the inside.  We had sold out the away end and the concourse is too small.  At half time it was rammed and everyone was trying to queue for something but it was difficult to know what.  The three tier stand to the left looks very good but why are the ends so small?


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

The game was very good from our perspective, we played well but unfortunately allowed them an equaliser 3 minutes from the end.  The atmosphere was average despite a good crowd and a decent performance by the Millwall faithful!  Stewards were generally fine but the police were antagonistic and unhelpful.  The pies were nice but the most expensive I’ve ever seen (£3.50).  As well as the Harveys real ale they also had a ‘Millwall special beer’ available – London Pride (a very nice touch, along with the pictures of our players).  However, the service was terribly slow so it was hard to buy.  If it had not been an evening game it would have been a very good option to stay a while in the ground afterwards. 


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

Yes, it really is as bad as they say.  The queue for the buses was enormous, unbelievably slow moving, the whole operation is chaotic, badly organised and woefully inadequate.  There were nowhere near enough buses, and the whole thing moved in slow motion.  The locals were suggesting it has actually got worse in the course of the season.  Many queued for over an hour, at least it wasn’t raining.  I take my hat off to those with the stamina to endure it every other week.


7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The promise of a shiny new state-of-the-art stadium was unfulfilled and the lasting memory is of the chaos inside and out.  Building a stadium in a location like this surely requires better thought-out and better delivered travel options.  And they are talking of expanding the stadium by 8,000 seats.  Good luck!

 

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