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Highbury Stadium
Fleetwood Town
v York City
  League Two
Saturday, December 29th 2012, 3pm

By James Prentice

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

I had originally been looking at going to either Stevenage or Colchester on my next step towards completing the 92, but a combination of postponements and a hastily-arranged family gathering in the evening meant it would be easier to go somewhere in the north of the country. This really only left me with Fleetwood Town so I set off for the long drive to the Fylde cost.

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

My journey up from Lincoln seemed pretty effortless once I had hit the M62, and despite the rain lashing down Radio 5 Live confirmed that the game was on. I used directions from this website to find the ground and managed to park up barely five minutes’ walk away. There is lots of on-street parking, although upon entering Fleetwood I had to go past a tram line, cross it at the traffic lights and then drive past it as if I was going back on myself, which one of the stranger things I have seen on my travels.

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

I went and purchased my ticket from a booth just outside the shiny new Main Stand. I could not see that there were any cash-only turnstiles and fans might like to note that tickets are also available from outside the Memorial Terrace (home end) and the away fans’ entrance to the Percy Ronson Terrace. After having a quick look around I realised how hungry I was and went for a fish supper at the Highbury Chippy (a mentioned on this website). The fish was excellent, although how they can claim to serve ‘traditional fish and chips’ yet in turn provide customers with American-style fries is beyond me! I was going to go for a quick pint in Jim’s Sports Bar but with the game about to start I made my way into the ground. A lot of the home, and away, fans seemed pretty friendly, with both seemingly still on a high after winning promotion from the Conference in May.

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

I took my place on the Memorial Terrace, which offered a really good view of the action, just in time for kick off. This is the home fans’ stronghold and opposite us was the smaller Percy Ronson Terrace, which housed the York fans who to their great credit had travelled in numbers for the clash. The side of the ground to my right housed a small family stand one side of the halfway line and a clubhouse with a small flat standing area on the other, which is a real reminder of Fleetwood’s non-league history. The new Main Stand on the other side is not particularly large but is sleek in design and houses a large selection of hospitality boxes for a League Two club!

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

The atmosphere was quite subdued given that York started bullishly and had some good chances throughout the game. Fleetwood on the other hand managed little and seemed out of sorts – just one of those days I guess with some perhaps suffering from post-Christmas malaise. The stewards themselves were very friendly, although upon entering I was jokingly asked whether I was a York fan – I think I immediately put on a completely duff Lancashire accent and probably sounded Indian! Fans on the Memorial Terrace have use of the toilets and facilities in Jim’s Sports Bar throughout the game, which meant a long procession of people just before half time and surely lots of cash in the till for Fleetwood. The food on offer was some of the most reasonable I have seen and there was a ‘drinks only’ queue as well as one for food, which helped serve people quickly, while the staff seemed helpful and switched on unlike at many other venues. The only grumble I have was that some of the Fleetwood fans seem to forget that they were playing in the North West Counties’ League just a few years ago, as some of their whinging at a disappointing performance was uncalled for. Sadly, many fans in Leagues One and Two these days seem to expect Premier League-standard football from lower league players.

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

I made a run for it as soon as the game ended so I could beat the traffic, a plan which came off brilliantly as I was back on the main road and speeding home in no time. The streets around the ground are pretty cramped so I would recommend a hasty retreat unless you fancy hanging around afterwards until the traffic dies down.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall, a good day out and nice to complete another league ground. The football was disappointing but Fleetwood seems like a nice enough little place and is doing well to hold their own in League Two, especially with bigger clubs not far away. Having only been there for a few hours on a grey December day, however, I don’t think I have seen the best of the town so if I do return at any point I will aim for an August game so I can stay for the weekend by the seaside.

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