New Bucks Head
Telford United v Luton Town
Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Blue Square Premier 7.45pm
In a similar vein to an earlier fixture at Newport this season, I had real concerns that cold weather would claim this match. Nonetheless, all the relevant websites were confirming that the game would still be going ahead, so I duly set off by car from East Kent in early afternoon and enjoyed a steady drive up to the Midlands arriving in the Telford area well ahead of schedule.
As per the directions, I left the M54 motorway at Junction 6 and headed north, and soon found the ground to be well sign-posted and easy to find. Being early also gave me the advantage of picking the very best of the on-street parking to be had so that my vehicle was facing the motorway and provided I didn't dilly-dally upon the final whistle I reasoned that I would make a prompt getaway after the match.
Despite the bitterly cold temperatures, I went for a meander around what upon first seemed to be a very tidy stadium that wouldn't look out of place in the lower reaches of the league structure. Taking a cheeky peep through an open gate my first impressions were confirmed with a fine looking all-seater stand opposite my viewpoint, 2 modern terraces behind each goal with quite eye-catching gently curved roofs and on the terrace from where I was taking my look there was a building housing club facilities.
I chanced my arm on being allowed inside the afore-mentioned facilities and found the AFC Telford staff most welcoming and ushered me into the bar where I took some liquid refreshment and enjoyed a look at some of the nostalgic pictures from Telford's past. Of particular interest I found two aerial shots of the ground in a "before & after" redevelopment theme.
After I had thawed out somewhat I ventured round to the away end, the "Frank Nagington" terrace, and enjoyed some football chat with the stewards who that night were all from neighbours Shrewsbury Town. Apparently to swell the numbers stewarding for higher-profile matches, this is an arrandement that works quite well with the Shrews loaning stewards to manage the "away" end.
Once inside the ground, I found more very chatty and friendly stewards, a couple of very friendly police officers, and a smashing little kiosk selling the most gorgeous burgers that were well worth the couple of quid being charged (so much so I returned for a second burger ). Even the matchday programme at £2-50 is one of the cheapest , although I would comment that its content was however not the most riveting I've come across.
The match itself was perhaps not the best; although the pitch held up reasonable well under the conditions, and once again full marks to the ground staff at Telford for actually keeping the pitch playable. A 0-0 draw was etched on the score-sheet long before the final whistle, and good chances were rare at either end.
As I had planned, my getaway after the match worked perfectly , although it was a good while before my feet thawed out. I would have to say that I found my visit to The New Bucks Head one of the friendliest and welcoming I have experienced. I hope they stay up in the conference come the end-of-season shakedown, and if Luton have to travel here again, I will happily contemplate another journey up to Shropshire.
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