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Blundell Park
Grimsby Town v Tamworth
Saturday 26th March 2011, 1pm
Blue Square Premier
By Scot Rowland

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

I was looking forward to visiting Blundell Park, firstly as it's got bags full of character unlike some of the ex-League sides in the BSBP, and the fact I live in Lincoln meant a relatively short trip up to Cleethorpes. And secondly Blundell Park is also a ground I had been yet to visit. 

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

Travelling by train the journey was easy enough. And I caught the 10:23 from Lincoln with a change at Barnetby for the connection to Cleethorpes. The ground is very easy to find taking either of the routes supplied by Duncan in the guide. On both its a straight walk to the ground and the tall floodlights are clearly visible from quite a distance away. 

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

Before the game I opted to have a few drinks in Lincoln with the game being a 1pm kick off due to England facing Wales. But arriving in Cleethorpes at 12pm I managed enough time to take in a pint at O'Neills, which is visible after you come out of the main entrance of Cleethorpes Station. Which is a spacious, well priced pub and perfect for a quick pint before the game. And the Blundell Park Hotel, directly opposite the ground, although it was very busy and quite small so was crammed to the rafters with Grimsby Fans. Didn't really speak to any Mariners fans but had no problems collecting my tickets from the ticket office in my Tamworth shirt.  

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

Blundell Park, is vastly showing it's age now which is a real shame, but is fantastic for fans of old styled football grounds, made up of lots of old cladding. I did think the ground is quite intimidating, being very dark and dull from the outside with lots of barbed wire. As is the same with the Osmond Stand which houses the away supporters, looks very unappealing from the back with loads of rusty metal supports protruding from the back of it. The Osmond Stand is set quite far back and has a low roof so fans could miss out on the action if seated in the back rows. And the supporting pillars for this stand are a pain, but not too obtrusive.

The rest of the stadium consists of the two tiered Findus Stand which stands high above the other stands which are equal in height and straddles the half way line, with a row of VIP boxes running through it. Adjacent to this is the main stand which is a very ramshackled stand and has a lots of pillars running along the front of it. Then opposite the away stand is the Pontoon Stand which in comparison to the rest of the ground looks quite new and a tidy little stand.

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

The game was a classic game of two halves. Tamworth struggled in the first half and Grimsby did all the running and deseverdly went in at half time up. The second half started much as the first had gone and The Mariners went up. Tamworth then finally started to come into the game and pulled a goal back through Kale Perry then the Tamworth pressure told and Tom Marshall smashed in the equalizer. A draw was probably a fair result in the end.

The atmosphere from both sets of fans was good, but as Tamworth started to come into the game, the Grimsby fans clearly were becoming frustrated with their side. The stewards were hardly noticeable throughout and just pretty much left us to it, which lead to a very relaxed atmosphere. Also Grimsby have changed the turnstiles away supporters enter through so instead of being at the back of the ground they now use the turnstiles the the left of the Findus Stand, but a friendly steward was kind enough to walk me through after I approached the wrong turnstile. 

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

Getting away from the ground was fine on foot although I can imagine that it's difficult due to the volume of cars and fans as it's quite hectic around the stadium at full time.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I had heard some negative stories about going to Blundell Park, but I found them completely unfounded, and I found it to be a great day out and had no problems at all. Good result for Tamworth after a bad run of form. I'd happily visit again although would hope for nicer weather in fear of braving the biting wind from the sea.



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