Stockport County v Leeds United
Monday, December 28th, 2009, 3pm
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
Living in liverpool, the Stockport fixture was instantly on the calendar when the fixtures had come out, not wanting to miss the opportunity of an away visit with a shorter journey than the usual trip to leeds. There's usually an extra bit of feeling to any matches played against the teams around Manchester as well due to the well-known rivalry that we possess with Man Utd.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
The journey was straightforward, popped down the M62 and then followed the advice of the trusty sat nav from there. No problems with finding the ground either, although we did struggle to find a parking space. I might be missing a trick but I couldn't seem to find any large car parks and although there were several smaller ones around, they were all already full about 2 hours prior to kick off so we eventually settled down a quiet street we stumbled upon about a 10 minute walk from the ground.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Due to the 12 noon kick off, all surrounding pubs were closed and as the fixture was also a bank holiday, the nearby town which had a few small cafe's were also closed so we had no other option than to head straight into the ground and get used to our surroundings before kick off. Outside the ground the Leeds and Stockport fans were mixed together and the atmosphere was relaxed, with no tension to speak of between the two sets of supporters. There were a large number of police hovering around and no trouble was seen.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The ground was practically empty when we got in as it was still about an hour until kick off. It seemed perfectly acceptable from the inside, although the pitch had clearly seen better days, but fair play to the ground staff for getting the game to go ahead at all. The Leeds fans had been given two stands, a side and an end. This year I sat behind the goal and have no complaints about the view, however the previous season I was sat in the side and there were a number of pillars supporting the balcony that obstructed my view which was a bit of a pain. We were standing up the entire game but when I had a sit down at half time there was very limited leg room which would no doubt prove uncomfortable if you were seated for the duration of the game.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game itself didn't go quite to plan, but it was certainly a decent match as we came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 in the end. The atmosphere however was desperately disappointing, Leeds fans included, and from that point of view it was the worst I can remember at an away match. No doubt this was due in part to the early kick off and the lack of alcohol that had been consumed but neither set of supporters ever really got going. The home stands were also half empty which was surprising seeing as they were playing Leeds. There weren't many stewards around in front of the stand, they were mainly gathered in the corners of the stand but this didn't affect me anyway. The food was disappointing, the ovens had obviously only just been started and the sausage rolls and pies were lukewarm at best, which was a shame as when i'd been the previous year the food was excellent.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
It takes a while to leave the gorund itself if you're at the far end of the side stand at they insist on having all away fans leave form the same exit, but this would only be relevant to teams with larger away followings. No problems getting away from the ground afterwards, little bit of traffic closer to the ground but that's all you can expect at a football match and there's a train station nearby for anyone who it would be more practical to get the train
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Just your average league one away day really, nothing out of the ordinary but a ground that does the job it's supposed to. Would go again the next time leeds are pitted against stockport.
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