Abbey Business Stadium (Whaddon Road)
Cheltenham Town v Gillingham
Saturday 3pm, March 17th 2012
By Maryn Beadle
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case maybe):
I was really looking forward to going to this ground. We had booked our train tickets six weeks before the game to get a good deal. Me and a couple of friends were really looking forward to a boys day out and we decided to do Cheltenham because compared to most other teams in the League it is not that far to travel. Also it was a play-off six pointer really so the atmosphere was gonna be great!
2. How easy was your journey/ finding the ground/ car parking.
The journey was pretty easy we got the 9:00am train from Orpington and we arrived in Cheltenham by 11:50am and as we had a few hours to kill we went to the local bookies to have a little flutter on the match and mixed in with the locals in the bookies and had a bit of banter.
3. What did you do before the game pub/chippy....Home fans friendly
We arrived at the station and opposite is the Midland Hotel. So as we had a couple of hours to kill we thought we would try a few bevvies in this hotel and despite a couple of dirty looks because we walked in with our Gillingham shirts on the locals seemed friendly enough. We left the Midland Hotel around 1ish and decided to take a walk up to the ground and passed a few more pubs along the way until we came to a pub called The Hop Pole which was surprisingly very quiet considering it was the same weekend as Cheltenham Gold Cup and St Patricks day. After we left The Hop Pole it was still about 20 minutes walk to the ground.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.
The ground looked small from the outside and it was quite small on the inside too, but looked very smart. We got in the ground about 20 minutes before kick-off and the only disappointment was that no alcohol was served inside. I thought our away stand was the best stand in the stadium, plenty of leg room and a fantastic view of the playing action.
5. Comments on the game itself, Atmosphere, Stewards, Pies, Facilities etc
The game was brilliant and has a fantastic atmosphere. Considering we won 3-0 on the day, us Gillingham fans were making loads of noise as we do when we travel away from home every week. Had a bit of banter with some Cheltenham fans who were giving as good as they got. The stewards were a bit strange we arrived at the ground singing some Gills songs and then couple of stewards stopped me and my mate asking us to be quiet while walking into the ground and asking us how much had we had to drink. We said only a few and they said ok they will be watching us through-out the game and they did exactly that, but shook hands with them at the end and they seemed ok. We got out 3 points to put us in the play-off places so i was bound to be happy. I didn't taste none of the food but my friend said it is better than what we get at a home game and i said they aint that hard to beat is it. The toilets were nice and clean and there wasnt that much queing up to do.
6. Comments on getting away from the ground after the game
It was pretty straight forward getting away from the ground the ony down pointer was while we were walking back down to the station it had started chucking it down with rain but when you win 3-0 I couldn't of cared if it was snowing. I was in a really happy mood, it was a safe journey back to the Midland Hotel where we waited and had a few more beers because our train didn't leave until 7pm so we then got a few cans from the local Co-Op for the train journey home.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day.
A really fantastic day out in all, a brilliant atmosphere a few beers, a bit of banter, plus my friend won £102 on predicting Gillingham beating Cheltenham 3-0. I would recommend Cheltenham as a fantastic day out.
Come On You Gills!
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