Tuesday, September 29th 2009
Vs Wrexham, Blue Square Premier, 7.45pm
By Philip John Williams
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)?
I moved from Birmingham to live in Bangkok, Thailand about 20 years ago, so on my annual trips back to the UK, I like to take in as many games as possible. Just to confuse matters further, I'm actually a Colchester United supporter!
I hadn't been to Aggborough since 1991 so I was looking forward to seeing how much it had changed. An added bonus was that my ex-boss (and his wife) are both Harriers season ticket holders, so it was a chance to catch up with both of them and see the game as well. They haven't missed a Kiddy home or away game for about five seasons apparently. He even made his daughter move her wedding day to the summer so it wouldn't clash with the football season.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
I was staying with my brother in Sutton Coldfield so the journey was no great hardship. A train into Birmingham New Street, a walk across the city centre to Snow Hill Station and then a thirty minute train ride to Kidderminster. Trains leave from Snow Hill for Kiddy every 20 minutes or so. The only problem was that the last train back to Birmingham left before the final whistle - at least according to the timetable - but my old boss had very kindly offered to give me a lift back. However, when I enquired at Kidderminster railway station, the kindly ticket officer told me there was a Birmingham train at 10.10pm, so I could make my own way home and probably even have time to down a quick pint as well.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
I'd arranged to meet my friends at 6.15pm in the Captain Cod fish bar near the ground (apparently this is something of a pre-match ritual) however, arriving in town a good thirty minutes early, I decided to have a walk into Kidderminster town centre to kill a bit of time. I wish I hadn't bothered. The shops were all closing up and I got accosted by every charity collector for miles around. The town centre is quite a desolate, desperate place once all the retail hustle and bustle has died down.
So it was back to the excellent Captain Cod Fish bar for the pre-match fish and chips. This was followed by a pint or two in the pub next to the station (the Severn Valley Railway one mentioned in Duncan's write-up) The pub had a good lively atmosphere and an excellent choice of ales. The walk to Aggborough takes no more than five minutes so the pub suddenly emptied at about 7.35pm as everyone made their way to the ground just in time for kick off.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
Aggborough is a tidy little ground, and much improved from my last visit. I've been to a number of Conference / Blue Square Premier grounds and this was certainly up there with the best of them.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
I suppose you might say Wrexham are one of the 'bigger' clubs in the Blue Square, but they barely managed to bring a hundred supporters. That said, it wasn't the easiest of midweek trips I suppose. There was a good atmosphere in the Kidderminster home end, where I was stood with a small but very loyal group of Harriers fans, and the 1,400 or so home fans made their voices heard on a very pleasant Autumn evening just made for watching football. It was fairly decent game all told with Kidderminster running out 2-0 winners thanks to two early second half goals. Wrexham had had a player sent off in the first twenty minutes so it could have been a very drab 'backs to the wall' type of game. Thankfully it never developed into that.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
I never did get that last train. I decided to have a couple of drinks at the station pub and get a lift back into Birmingham city centre.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Briliant! A good football match. The chance to meet up with a few old friends. A stress-free journey to and from the game. And a match played out in front of a noisy but very friendly crowd. Oh and let's not forget the ale and fish and chips.
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