Ricoh Arena - Coventry City FC
Tuesday September 27th 2011
V Blackpool 3pm
By Dean Williamson
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
The Ricoh stadium was for me the penultimate Midlands ground I'd yet to visit. I'd also heard that concerts were good at the stadium so was looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere at a football match there.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
We drove down and found the best option was to park at one of the many car parks around the ground. It's standard to park for £5 at any of the sites. There is manned security throughout the game so this is a safe option. I would advise driving as no trains stop outside the stadium.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
As The Ricoh is on a business estate and some distance from the city centre the few pubs within walking distance are strictly home fans only. We went into the casino in the stadium which lets you in even if your not a member, away fan or wearing colours. The casino was novelty and a great opportunity to speak to home fans.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The Ricoh is one of the best stadiums in the football league. For both size and atmosphere this is also one of the best new all seaters. Both modern and providing great views of the pitch this is a real football experience. You can create lots of noise in the stadium and when full would enable you to have good banter with the home fans who are in the corner closest to the away fans. The stadium is fully connected at all corners and has a large screen that unlike some grounds is completely visible.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game itself was exciting and another one in which we dominated but failed to put away more of our chances. However, we did go into half time with a 1-0 lead. This wasn't to last though. There was controversy in the 78th minute when our central defender was off the pitch receiving treatment for an injury and the ref should wouldn't let us bring on a sub. Ironically from the resulting corner Coventry equalised to make it 1-1. There heads were up at this point and scored a second soon after only for us to equalise in the dying minutes!
The Blackpool fans sang all game but the same can't be said for Coventry who struggled to fill the stadium and so the spaced apart home support were not unified. The steward were very well mannered and had a hands off approach. If the away attendance is not full they will let you sit where you want. Unbelievably they ran out of pies before the game and so I had to settle for a £4 hot dog. Finally, The toilets were large and easily accessible.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Unless you want to leave the stadium quickly at the end of the game, be prepared to sit in traffic for long periods, even with a low attendance. The traffic lights around the stadium appear to have a mind of their own and this caused many cars to go through on red lights. Highly dangerous and something the local council needs to address. Aside from this the area around the stadium is a vast and open therefore the crowds are not overbearing when leaving the stadium.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
I had a good evening at Coventry and will definitely be going again. This time to hit the table in the casino before the game!
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