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Memorial Ground
Bristol Rovers v  Swindon Town
Saturday, December 12th, 2009, 3pm
League One
Kristian Sundqvist
(Neutral fan)


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

Having heard about the rivalry with Rovers and Swindon Town I thought to have some fun and check it out. Despite having done some ground hopping, I had never visited Bristol. As for the ground, I was looking forward for the traditional terrace experience which is so rare nowadays.

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

As easy as it could be (if you are coming from East that is),  train from  Paddington to Bristol Temple Meads, then another 15 minutes to Bristol Parkway, hop onto Bus number 73 and thatís it. The distance from train station to the Memorial ground is not impossible to walk (two miles or so) but I invested £2.65 for 35 minutes in an overcrowded, steamy bus.
 
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Being a foreigner I still feel like a bit of a 'Borat' some times. Well, this time I ended up in some kind of a Rovers supporters club (looked and felt like a Working Menís Club) behind the Blackthorn End.  Well, I downed a pint and a whisky but didnít try to mix with the locals, it was very loud and I felt a bit out of place. No one gave me a stare or anything, but it just felt like walking into a private function (and Iím not complaining, if you want to be treated like a tourist then go to the Emirates Stadium and mix with other tourists there!).
 
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

Being a neutral I stood with home fans in the Blackthorn end, which really is the most traditional of terraces. General impression of the ground was, well, a bit weird. A total of seven stands, all totaling to a capacity of mere 12 000. Didnít bother me at all, the place has a very down to earth feel, all too rare in modern football.
 
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

Well, Rovers were 3-0 up after 30 minutes (that was the final score as well) so atmosphere in the home end was, well, you can imagine, it was great!. Stewards could not have cared less about all the profanities directed towards Swindon players, manager and fans, in fact some of them couldnít keep from laughing. And yeah, Swindon lads did get some stick.
 
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As it wasnít raining I walked to Parkway station, took no more than an hour despite having a quick pint in some watering hole along the way. From the looks of the traffic it would had taken at least the same time in a taxi or a bus.
 
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Great fun. As a neutral who has no club what so ever to support in this country I love the genuine, traditional English football experience. And yeah, the Cornish pasties were lovely!


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