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The New Lawn
Forest Green Rovers v Luton Town
Conference Premier League
Saturday, August 24th, 2013, 3pm

 
Michael Pala
(Luton Town fan)

This was my second visit to Forest Green Rovers and I was looking forward to a day out in this picturesque part of the Cotswolds. Prior to going to the stadium, we stopped in the centre of Nailsworth to visit the chip shop. When we pulled up, someone came out of the pub and said we could take our chips into the pub as they donít serve their own food. The people in the village were very friendly and would welcome us and provide any help with directions (in my case, I needed an ATM).

Reaching the stadium, the car park attendants were very helpful and directed us to a disabled space next to the stand as two of the people in our group are disabled.

Since our last visit, the stadium has become very high tech for a club in that league. Taking pride in the environment, the club is aiming to reduce their carbon footprint and impact on the environment by having a fleet of electric vehicles with electric charging points in the stadium car park, solar panels, sourcing food from local providers, collecting rainwater and also recycling wherever possible. Your ticket has a QR code on it and you enter the stadium by scanning your ticket into the QR reader Ė again, very impressive for a club outside the football league.

Inside the stadium, the stewards, catering and other staff were very welcoming and friendly. I had a friendly conversation with a steward comparing the set-up of our two clubs and she was amazed to hear that Luton have an average attendance of 6,500.

As we were travelling with disabled supporters, we were allocated the limited amount of seats for disabled in a part of the home stand. This meant that when going to the toilet or food outlets, we came into contact with home supporters. Despite wearing our colours, the home supporters were very friendly to us and in no way did we ever feel intimidated.

Due to visiting the chip shop before the match, I didnít need any hot food in the stadium but I purchased a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate at prices similar to other grounds.

The atmosphere in the ground was fairly quiet from the home supporters since they only have a small average attendance and a significant percentage of the crowd were the visiting Luton supporters who made all the noise. For a club in the middle of nowhere and non-league, you donít expect a large number of supporters. Donít let this put you off visiting Forest Green Rovers because the friendliness and welcoming nature of the staff and fans provides a welcome change from visiting other grounds. I recommend visiting the centre of Nailsworth and sampling the chip shop as this alone also makes the trip worthwhile.

Final result was a draw and given Lutonís recent poor performances, most Luton fans would have taken the point away at Forest Green Rovers Ė who are also challenging for promotion.

Getting away from the ground after the match can be quite slow since the bulk of the traffic is heading back down the hill towards the centre of Nailsworth to connect onto the roads leading away from the area. Please allow an extra 15-30 minutes if attending a match with a bigger attendance.

Overall, a trip to Forest Green Rovers is a lovely day out in a picturesque part of the Cotswolds in the company of what is probably the most friendliest club Iíve ever visited. If we (Luton) get promoted, I hope Forest Green Rovers joins us so we can look forward to another trip to this lovely and friendly club next season.  


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