Lincoln City v Torquay United
Saturday, August 14th 2010, 3pm
By Mark Horler
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
It is not often you can say you are going away because Torquay United are "top of the league", but after only one game of the new season it was true!
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
Away games in August up north are never easy for Torquay United fans. The trick is to leave early anough to avoid the 9am to 10am congestion that happens every Saturday around Bristol during the holiday period. A 7am start was a must for the 500 mile round trip. In the main the journey is easy, but do not underestimate the last 60 miles on A roads, which will take around 90 minutes as much of it is 40mph speed limits. Thankfully we saw today that much of rural Lincolnshire is being dug up to make the A46 dual carridgeway. Days like today make all the enviromental concerns pale into insignificance and the opening of the new road will make journeys to Lincoln from the South so much easier. Parking was really easy in side streets. The ground is close to the town centre and a fair few of the paultry 3,000 crowd seemed to walk to the match. Priced parking was available in a nearly field but not necessary to use.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Lincoln is a friendly town. The people are nice and genuine and true football supporters. We saw several Nottingham Forest shirts, they were playing Sunday, showing some "floating support". The ground is close to the town centre, near enough to walk and perhaps visit the impressive looking cathedral, which dominates the city centre. We found a really friendly chippy near the entrance to the ground.
It was interesting to see a couple of "posh" coffee stalls outside the ground selling more than your KwikSave instant. There were the usual host of volunteers selling 50:50 tickets, programmes etc and everyone of them bid us a cheery hello. Good to see and sadly lacking at most grounds nowadays.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
Sincil Bank is unusual for a league 2 ground in that you can walk around it's entireity. Great views of the cathedral from behind the co-op stand, and indeed to your left once inside. The club clearly have a lot of land and expansion would be very easy if necessary. However the grounds biggest fallback is that with a capacity of over 10,000 seats in 5 stands, the fans are spread thinner than Marmite.
The atmosphere is very poor. This is a pity as the Imps fans do try their best to create atmosphere, but the stands are very open and any sound generated "drifts away". We were placed in one block of the Co-op stand. Decent facilities, a good view but very much "on our own". To our right was a small seated stand with executive boxes above. Very dated with no outside seats for "the suits" and there were no more than 100 poor soles in this stand. In front of us was the main stand. Large, tall and quite impressive and of unusual structure. It appears very steep. A tiny "family" stand to the right had barely 30 people in.
Behind the other goal was where the majority of the singing Lincoln fans sat (well stood). As far as possible away from the away fans. Banners and flags decorate this stand. It was nice to see a banner dedictaed to Keith Alexander here.
Some of Lincolns singing support sat as close to us in the Co-op stand as it was possible to get, but still miles away from us.
This was a pity with so little atmosphere despite the best efforts of the two sets of fans, perhaps the club should be a little less worried about segregating fans as if they were playing Leeds or Millwall!
One point of note is that concession tickets must be purchased in the club shop before the game. If you have children in your group it is worth allowing a little more time. In addition if you are 100% sure you can make the game, tickets are £1 or £2 cheaper if purchased via the club shop in the week before the game. This includes away fans
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The stewards were a laid back bunch.
You wan't to put your flags up "no problem"
You wan't to stand up the whole match "no problem"
In fact it was the first football match I have been to where every one of the stewards I saw was actually watching the match!
Catering was far too expensive, and I noticed how little food and drinks our supporters purchased in comparison to other away days....and no pasties!
Oh the game! Torquay won 2-0. Never really got into gear and never had to as Lincoln did not really turn up. We were surprised to hear on Radio Lincoln that their managers thought they were unlucky. I have rarely seen a league two team with such little firepower and feel it will be a long hard season for the Imps.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
So easy, so very easy
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
A good day out. I will perhaps make this a weekend trip next season.
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who has visited Sincil Bank recently?
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