Ricoh Arena
Coventry City v Crawley Town
League One
  Tuesday November 6th 2012, 7.45pm
By Geoff Day

Our visit to the Ricoh Arena was to watch Crawley Town play their first league game against Coventry City and to visit the impressive Ricoh Arena for the first time. Getting there by supporters coach was a long but pleasant journey on a Tuesday evening. We took around 300 travelling fans and found the stadium lived up to our expectations.

The Coach parking was close to the ground and after the game the coaches were waiting immediately outside the gates to save us the short walk back and allow a quick exit for the journey back home.

Before the game we sampled the ground catering facilities, which were standard fare and average priced. Service was quick and friendly. We had little contact with the home fans but never felt any hostility, apart from one youngster’s over exuberance after the game, which was quickly dealt with, the police brought him to the coach to apologise for his gestures, good old fashioned policing!

Walking up the steps into the arena itself was quite surreal, as you entered the stadium on a very dark night. It felt almost as if the stadium was isolated in a bubble.

The acoustics were excellent and even a few hundred supporters can make a lot of noise. Views of the game were much better than anticipated, despite the “track” around the pitch it did not feel too far away.

Contrary to some reviews read before our visit, we found the stewarding friendly and helpful and low key. We stood for the first twenty or so minutes of the game without any intolerance from the stewards, perhaps because we were relatively few in number or perhaps because we came without any rivalry or threatening behaviour. The facilities were as good as you would expect from a new ground.

The game itself was disappointing for us, as we lost, but we still managed to have a good game experience, as this is undoubtedly a very impressive stadium, although the crowd was only around eight and a half thousand, much less than half full, it still had a good atmosphere, with the Coventry fans woken up by their scoring and finally generating their own noise.

Getting away from the ground was easy, as the stewards and police held traffic to allow the coaches to leave together.

Overall, a worthwhile journey, although it would have been nice to visit the city whilst there, something you miss when the coach brings you straight to the ground.

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