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The Lamb  - Tamworth
Tuesday, January 17th 2006
V Stoke City, FA Cup 3rd Round Replay 7.45pm
Jon Byrne

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

I was looking forward to going to this ground, as it was a ground I
had never visited before. However I had the pre-conceived view that as it was a Conference Ground, it would have poor facilities and would be far below normal league standards. I was looking forward to the game as I like the FA Cup but the problem this time was that my team (stoke city) were facing a potential banana skin with this tie.

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

The journey to the ground was fairly simple mainly due to the distance and the good navigational skills of my friend. When you get into Tamworth itself there are some signs guiding you towards the ground. Parking was brilliant compared to most grounds I have visited in the past. The club car park was full so we opted for a pay and display car park not to far from the ground which is free at night time but very reasonable in the day also. From what I did see the club car park was very good too but as the game was a sell out  there was no chance for away fans to use this facility.

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

Before the match me and my friends went to the KFC on the retail park not to far away from the ground. After this near to the pay and display where we parked we went to a bar called the 'Q Lounge' which is a bar/pool hall. The lounge offered a brilliant range of drinks including offers on a match day and even happy hour when we were there. The pool was unavailable at the time presumably because of security reasons. The home fans were a friendly bunch and apart from some banter between both sets,  there were no serious incidents inside or outside the ground.

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

My first thought of the ground was exactly what I expected it to be... basic. The ground seemed very small and compact to other grounds I have visited but in all fairness it is all that a Conference Club would require really. The away end was a very standard affair and that is being kind really. I was told beforehand if segregation isn't in force which I presume is for most league matches, bar derbies, the home facilities can be used i.e. club bar & refreshment area. The terraced away stand accommodated the 900 travelling Stoke Fans pretty well. The other sides of the ground apart from the Main Stand were all terracing and could well do with a face lift. Especially the one adjacent to the away end which is terracing and has no covering. The seated Main Stand seemed very respectable for a club at this level.

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

The game itself was a fairly scrappy affair for my side as we only beat a team who were 3 leagues below us and most importantly non-league on a penalty shoot out after falling behind in normal time. The atmosphere from both sets of fans was very good. Both sets of fans were in good voice and even though the match really did not mean too much to Stoke the way in which myself and many other Stoke fans celebrated, showed what the cup was all about.

The stewarding was very friendly and efficient for the match and there were no incidents in which fans had problems with them. I did not try out the food facilities at the ground (burger bar) but they seemed to be adequate. The toilets were okay, but with such a large away following they struggled to cope and large queues quickly formed for them.

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

Getting away was simple really yet I would advise caution with the muddy hill that you have to get up to get up to make it to the pay and display area or around there. Many people slipped, in the wet and the dark!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a good night out and it would be a brilliant ground for that level of football, but to my knowledge it would not meet current Football League standards. But on the whole it provided a nice little break from the expensive, lifeless and money grabbing grounds in the Championship.

 

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