Luton Town v Crystal Palace
Saturday, November 26th 2005, 3pm
By Jack Laws
|1. Why you
were looking forward to going to the ground (or not
as the case may be)
I was really looking forward to this match, as it was fairly local, and have never been to Kenilworth Road before. I had heard that Kenilworth Road had a good match day atmosphere so that raised the excitement levels even further. Also as Palace lost to them on the opening day of the match I was really looking forward to avenge the defeat.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking
The Journey was really easy. Picked up a train from my local station (East Croydon) and it took us straight to Luton in just over an hour.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Once we arrived at the station, we were immediately approached by two police officers who wanted to know what we wanted to do. He pointed us in the direction of the "away fans" pub called George II (about 15 mins walk from the Ground). As you come out of the station go right across the bridge to your left. Go down the stairs at the end and the pub is on your left.
We was advised by the Police to NOT go into The White House (Wetherspoons) as they do not allow away fans in. Especially if you are wearing colours. A friend of mine went in, but had his top zipped up. The barman spotted his Palace colours underneath and got him thrown out!
Once in the George II, we ordered some food (a nice Lamb Rogan Curry) which was £5. Also got a pint of Carling at £2.40. Service was fast and efficient and the food was delicious! We stayed in here for a couple of hours then left about 2.30 to make our way down to the ground. We didn't encounter any home fans, so really didn't get the opportunity to judge whether or not they're friendly!
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.
As I read other reviews before travelling to the game I knew what to expect of the ground, and it certainly lived up to expectations. The ground is in quite a residential area, which made it quite hard to find. It is pretty small and only has 3 stands (one side is all executive boxes!). The away end crams in far too many fans for the size of the stand, and the food kiosk is tiny. If you are over 6 foot tall (like me) you will have an issue with legroom, and I advise you to sit in an aisle seat so you can spread your legs a little. We chose to sit to the right of the away section (right near the home fans), and was standing the whole match, therefore had no problems with the legroom. The seating is unreserved so you can sit where you like.
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies,
The game itself performance wise was dire. Definitely Palace's worst performance in a long time! The atmosphere on the other hand was excellent. The away section can make quite a bit of noise and we were easily out singing the home fans from 15 minutes before kick off until about ten minutes in. Then Luton scored. This is when the home fans started to sing. When Luton made it 2-0 on 20 minutes the Luton fans got louder and Palace got quieter. The stewards were really easy going compared to other clubs, and didn't have a problem with us standing the whole match.
As mentioned before the refreshment kiosk was pretty small, and a fairly large queue developed fairly quickly. It was a bit more expensive then Selhurst Park, and a bottle of coke and packet of crisps cost me nearly £2.50! Also they keep the lids to the bottles, which is a bit annoying as it means you have to hold your drink the whole time to save it from being spilt.
The toilets were a bit on the small side, but were a lot cleaner then I have seen before so no complaints there. I advise going just before the match, or BEFORE half time, as they do get really busy.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game
Getting away from the ground was fairly easy. Took us a while to find the station as we couldn't remember which way we came! Once at the station we had a quick beer in The George II, then jumped on a train to South East London!
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out
Overall it was a good day out, bar the result. Kenilworth Road is definitely one of the better grounds for atmosphere that i have been to, and it was nice to go to an away match that wasn't so far away. I would definitely recommend it as an away match.
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