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Blundell Park
Grimsby Town v Mansfield Town
Monday 27th August 2012, 3pm
Blue Square Premier
By Jeff Beastall

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

Mixed feelings really. Stags have been hyped somewhat as favorites to do well this season and in previous years this self same fixture has been played in the depths of winter on a cold damp Tuesday or Friday night. Last year we capitulated and lost badly with shocking 7-2 defeat here so we were looking for a turn of fortune and a better day out - for a change!

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

We've been here before and the ground is easy to find on the A180.  Unfortunately for us we didn't leave Mansfielduntil almost 1 pm and with an 80 odd mile journey do in a mini bus, the timing was always going to be tight. Fortunately we made good time and were allowed to park with the other away supporters' buses at the back of the
ground - thanks to a kindly steward who tweaked the area the Police had coned off for getting their horses out of their transporter!

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

Hobsons Choice for a pint was the Imperial at the end of Blundell Avenue as there wasn't time for much else of a customer survey. A warm welcome was promised and Carling Extra cold at £2.30 seemed a deal albeit in the obligatory plastic pot. This is a huge pub with only about a third of itspotential bar space being used and the majority of mainly home supporters had spilled out into the car park in the hope of developing hypothermia. Didn't see any food outlet on site. Perhaps they cite the old security chestnut as being an issue although I do recall as similar set up at Oxford FC when we played them and yes, they did have discreet security - but they welcomed everyone and most probably took a small fortune on the day. I wasn't in colours so I just ventured in and out with question or comment and minded my own business.

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

A virtual coliseum of asbestos and crinkly tin; the ideal venue for a film maker hoping to do a grim sixties football movie and who doesn't have a lot of cash to spend on a set. Queued for a concession as I am a mature student but they don't do concessions for students, only the young and the old. Are there no students in Grimsby or is everyone on such a fantastic income that they can all afford the full £18?

Last time we came here they tried to corral us into a small corner of the Osmond Stand but this time left us away fans to sit where we liked. A magnanimous gesture indeed.

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

The game was OK, a game of 3 halves and despite us losing yet once again and going down to 10 men shortly before the final whistle, it was almost a relief when the ref did the decent thing and eventually put the game to death. Stewarding was surprisingly OK, facilities no change since last time Henry Kissinger was here. But the catering, oh man, the catering. Not so much as deserving a cordon bleu, more like worthy of imposing a cordon off.

Service was slow and the teams were about to come back on when I eventually got to the front of the queue. Chap in front of me orders a chicken pie, I order a hot chocolate. £1.80 she says to me, despite a colorful menu on the side of the bar clearly stating it to be £1.50. When I point this out, she snaps back "don't ask me luv. I don't fix the prices, I just serve here." Sorree. The chocolate is lukewarm and with made with a sufficiently miniscule amount - almost a wrap - of chocolate to barely colour the water. The trade descriptions act is clearly not recognised here then and the point is not lost on me that just five minutes away outside the ground I can pay an extra 50p and have a pint of lager instead - albeit in the obligatory plastic pot!

Meanwhile Pie Man has returned to the counter. "Its cold" he says. I await the kiosk attendants return killer serve of quit wit and innuendo but it doesn't come. Instead 3 of them gather round the pie and insert temperature probes into it from various directions - it looks almost painful -presumably looking for a hot spot or even signs of life. There isn't any. "I can do you a Balti!" she yells from the operating theatre.

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

Mercifully quick

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

If this day out had been a stick of Cleethorpes rock, you could have broken it anywhere along its length and it would have revealed [something crude and nasty] written all they way through it.



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