1. Why you were
looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)
Pride park had recently been voted as
one of the finest sporting venues in Britain, and I was keen to find out what it
had on offer for myself. It would be the first time that my team (Wolves) would
have played at the stadium, so it would be a new experience for pretty much
everyone. The only concern I had was whether there would be a decent crowd, due
to Derby’s recent relegation from the Premiership and the financial
difficulties which come with it.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking
From Wolverhampton, Derby is around an
hour away once you get motoring, so with us starting out at 10.30am we were
pretty certain to hit the pub for around 12 noon. The journey was uneventful,
not much traffic and no major problems finding our way to a pub we were
recommended just on the outskirts of Derby called the Broadway. This was a
lovely pub and as it was a good 10 minute drive from Pride Park and hence was
very quiet (normal Saturday lunch time feel). Leaving the pub at 2.00pm we
thought that we would make it to the ground in plenty of time to take in the
sights and just have a general nose around, wrong! Traffic was horrendous and a
journey which would have taken 10 minutes in normal traffic took around 40. We
parked on the official Derby car park (the further of the two away where passes
are not required and where you can pay on the day). This is about a 5/10 minute
walk from the ground. Luckily, the game had been delayed for 15minutes due to
the traffic problems, which made our walk to the ground less hurried. All the
home fans that we encountered were very friendly and you feel in no danger at
all around the outside of the ground.
3. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then
other sides of the ground
On first seeing the ground, I was more
than impressed, I always like the look of the newer stadium, and this did not
disappoint. Inside the concourse area is well laid out with separate food and
beer points, which causes a bit of a problem (having to queue up twice), but the
queues were generally fast moving. They have a machine in the beer bar, which
fills up a pint cup in about 10seconds and does 6 at a time, which greatly
reduced waiting times. The concourse area is very large but was also very
crowded, and a superb atmosphere was created with all the singing in there. The
ground is smaller than I imagined when we got inside with the stands very close
to the pitch, and I think with the ground being fully enclosed added to this.
However there is plenty of leg room in the seats and plenty of space all around.
4. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The atmosphere in the away end was
electric, however Derby fans were on the whole very quiet with only one small
section of fans in the corner next to the away fans making any real noise. In
fact they were so quiet that when Derby scored in first half injury time, those
of us inside the stand enjoying a drink did not even realise that they had
indeed scored! The doors were opened at half time to let the away fans outside
the stands where there is another burger van waiting for you. This was an
excellent move by the very friendly stewards, as it meant a lot more space for
everyone and with it being a warm August day, let you get some fresh air. I had
a cheese burger which was good, but what did however come in a stoke city bag,
which was surprising, this and the beer was pretty much standard fare.
5. Comment on getting away from the ground
Getting away from the ground was a
nightmare and took us a full 45minutes to leave the car park and a further
30mins to leave the main derby area, I thought these out of town purpose built
stadiums were supposed to help you get to and from the ground more quickly!
6. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out.
Excellent day out, very enjoyable
and the result also helped the celebrations (Wolves won 4-1). I would recommend
a visit to Pride Park just to witness one of the best if not the best ground in
the nationwide first division and a ground, which is certain premiership
standard. Well worth a visit.