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Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace v Sunderland
Premier League
Sunday 31 August 2013, 5.30pm
Rory Murphy
(Sunderland fan)

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

As soon as the fixtures came out I was looking forward to going to Crystal Palace. I thought it would be an easy 3 points but that wasn't to be the case. I also thought the ground had a lot of character and a nice blend of old and modern stands.

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

Me and my friend set off from Darlington at 10AM hoping to get to the ground at about 3-3:30PM. The journey was fine up until we hit London. As you'd expect it was mayhem. After crossing the Thames there was little traffic and we headed towards Selhurst. We parked on a street which was a 5 min walk from the ground.

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

Since we got there in good time there wasn't too many fans around but none of them seemed intimidating and the majority smiled at us even though I had my red and white stripes on. Once we got into the ground I went to buy a drink but noticed that the area was too tight and cramped so I did without.

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

The first stand I saw was the two-tiered Holmesdale Road Stand which looked quite impressive. We then followed a number of other Sunderland fans to the turnstiles. The away end is at one end of the Arthur Wait Stand which is a bit old and rundown. To the top of the stand the seats were wooden but we got lucky and got plastic seats. As I said the ground is a mixture of old and new with the Whitehorse Lane and Holmesdale Road Stands which looked quite modern and the Arthur Wait and Main Stands looking a bit tired.

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

The game was quite poor from a Sunderland point of view with Palace taking an early lead. Sunderland came back with a brilliant header from Steven Fletcher on his return from injury. After that the 2,000 or so Mackems were definitely in full voice. A silly mistake from John O'Shea resulted in a penalty and a sending off and to put the nail in the coffin Stuart O'Keefe scored an absolute screamer in the last minute. Palace fans were brilliant behind the goal but only really got behind their team when they scored. Sunderland fans were great as well. If only the team were as good as their support. The stewards were fine and didn't tell us to sit down throughout the game.

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

There was a lot of traffic getting away from the ground and it didn't help with a few Palace fans shouting 3-1 at us. They weren't intimidating though. It took us about four and a half hours to get back to the North-East after a disappointing performance from the Black Cats.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out: going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

It was a great day out. Friendly fans, great atmosphere and a unique stadium. The result wasn't too good though!

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