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Proact Stadium
Chesterfield City v  Southend United
League Two
Saturday August 24th, 2013, 3pm
John & Stephen Spooner
(Southend United fans)

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

First visit to Chesterfields Proact Stadium.

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

We drove from North Wales (exiled Southend fans) via M56, A6, A623, A619, A61, 170 miles round trip, clear roads taking 2 hours to make the journey each way. It was misty and drizzly raining en-route, but there is superb scenery through the Derbyshire Dales, and a view of the famous twisted church spire on arrival. We checked the Chesterfield FC website and found maps indicating parking places. Arriving early ensured easy parking which is limited on match days.

The ground was easy to find although not many signs. We found street parking to the north of the stadium in Thompson Street by turning right after passing the ground.

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

We took a packed meal with us and sat in car after a walk round outside of the ground. We then waited 20 minutes at the ticket office to collect our tickets which Southend United had sent up on the coach as the office said they hadnít got any for us. The few home fans we met whilst collecting tickets from their office were friendly. The tickets were eventually traced and we entered the impressive Proact stadium relieved.

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

The stadium appears larger than the 10,400 capacity would indicate. The stadium is a modern and all seated and smart. We noticed two staff even walking amongst seats giving them a wipe clean. The away end is all seated and although the whole of the away end was available, the stewards insisted that the 360 or so Southend fans should sit in the centre section behind the goal. The view is unobstructed and there is plenty of leg room, The electronic scoreboard is above the away end on the roof and can only be seen by the home fans which was disappointing. The pitch was pristine and even though it was early season in August it appeared that it had never had football played on it.

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

In a tight game between 2 top 5 sides, Chesterfield took the lead in the 2nd half with a Gary Roberts free kick, but Southend soon levelled via a well worked Freddy Eastwood goal. 6 minutes injury time surprised everyone and in the 85th minute Chesterfield won the match from a corner.

The atmosphere was quiet until the last minute winner with both sets of expectant fans watching a tense game, even though only the 4th fixture of the new season. The stewards were ok but one seemed to delight in letting people find a seat and then waving frantically to tell them to sit only in the centre section.

If the seats had been taped off as other clubs do, it would have made life easier for all concerned. Pies looked good at £3 and there was plenty of room to stand and eat or drink on the concourse behind the seating with television showing a live game. It was a warm sunny day with little or no wind, which made for a pleasant afternoon in a new football stadium with both sides getting the ball down and attempting to play good passing football.

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

It was easy to get away from the ground and main roads were clearly sign posted.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

We had a mostly enjoyable day out, visiting a smart stadium, despite the shock of losing in injury time. The weather was pleasantly warm after a drizzly misty start to the day.

Match Attendance 5,579
Result: Chesterfield 2-1 Southend.

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