International Stadium Gateshead
Tuesday, August 25th 2009
V York City, Blue Square Premier 7.45pm
Mark Hudson

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

A new ground for me and pretty much all City fans as we hadn't played Gateshead in over 50 years! Plus its a fairly local one for us to enjoy as the Conference is made up of predominantly Southern teams.

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

Travelled up by car. Very easy. Know the area anyway but Gateshead, and the stadium itself are both very well signposted. Parking is available in the surrounding housing estate and at the ground itself. We parked down a side street round the back of the ground. No problems getting in or out.

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

Pub of course. Went to the 'Schooner' just behind the ground. Decent place overlooking the Tyne.

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

A poor mans Don Valley. Very Red! We were in the side opposite the Main Stand in a large, but open stand. Stadium seemed very much like attending a game in Poland or another Eastern European ground.

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

There were problems getting in as despite our teams poor form, 500 City fans turned up when Gateshead were only expecting around 200, thereby meaning only one turnstile was open leading many to miss the kick off. Some got in for free to as they ran out of change on the 'emergency' turnstile they quickly opened. Atmosphere- Could see the 'Heed army' trying to get behind their team, but the sound is lost with the distance involved.

Game started badly but we ended up winning 2-1 having been a goal down with ten men! the winner sparked wild scenes of celebration with up to fifty or so City fans pilling over the barriers to get to the pitch, many of whom struggled with the distance involved in making it over the long jump track then the across the running lanes to get to the pitch,  all very amusing.

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

Very easy and quick, no trouble at all.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Very good night. Nice to have a local game for once. The stadium is pretty good if not a bit surreal and there were no problems with either the Gateshead fans or police who took the said pitch invasion with good nature. Definitely recommend as an away trip especially with the opportunity to drink in Newcastle before and after if one wishes.


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