Alfreton Town FC
Saturday January 7th, 2012
V Grimsby Town,
Blue Square Premier League, 3pm
By Glynn Sharkey
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
This was my first visit to Alfreton and having passed it many a time on the M1 going to various places, I was looking forward to exploring a new ground and town.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking
The hour and a bit drive plus a £12 bargain Travelodge room left me and the better half in a good mood and looking forward to the day ahead. From where we were parked on the A38 / A61 roundabout it was a simple 15mins walk into town and the ground was maybe a further 10mins from the town centre.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
The Wagon and Horses Wetherspoons looks a bit ropey from the outside but looks are very deceiving and at 10am they serve maybe the best spoons brekky I have had the pleasure of tasting, the same is said for the Sunday lunch we had the next day. This was a good meet up place for arriving mates and we headed off to the King Alfred pub on the High Street, once again a decent pre game boozer.
Further along, the road seems to be named Nottingham Road and there is a cracking place called the Victoria. This did have a sign saying home fans only which I assume is because of the large numbers expected from Grimsby but we got in with no problem. What an excellent real old time pub. Everyone we saw up to now seemed very friendly.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.
Small, compact, but inviting. The big problem was getting us all in. There were only a couple of turnstiles open for the thousand odd Grimsby supporters that turned up. It did cause frayed tempers outside and it was as bad getting out of the ground as well. The away end is sectioned off in cages which seemed funny as it's Derbyshire non league football not Millwall circa South London in the 60's/70's. But saying all that it does have the feel of a proper old fashioned football ground.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
For the size of the ground and size of the crowd the atmosphere was brilliant. Alfreton need to be able to cope with crowds of 2,000 when to be fair they are only used to 700 or 800. They missed a trick as many, many people gave up trying to be served at the refreshment stall. Toilet facilities were woefully inadequate on the day too. The Police seemed very good humoured and helpful but the stewarding in my opinion was, how shall we say, not as good as could be expected. Apart from that well done Alfreton.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game
As mentioned above, getting out the ground was as much of a nightmare as getting in and thank God there were no injuries, with everyone trying to squeeze out. There were a few local idiots inside the ground who seemed to be trying to provoke trouble but they quickly melted away after the final whistle.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out
We were staying at the Travelodge so did a few pubs and a curry house after the game. We went back to the King Alfred for post match drinkies then called in the Bluebell which was quite lively, the curry house next to the Wagon and horses spoons wasn't too bad but I would give a miss the Devonshire Arms, Miners, and the Swan and Salmon which were all on the way to the Travelodge. All in all a good weekend away, it could and should have been so much better but saying that I would go back with no hesitation. Non league can be rubbish at times, but thanks to places like Alfreton, this not always so.
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