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Victoria Park
Hartlepool United v Southend United
League Two
Saturday, August 10th 2013, 3pm
John & Stephen Spooner

(Southend United fans)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground:

First visit to Victoria Park, Hartlepool.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We drove from North Wales (exiled Southend fans) via M56, M62, M1, A19, 320 miles round trip, clear roads taking three hours journey each way. We stopped at Wetherby Services enroute, which was busy but clean and efficient.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We took a packed meal with us and sat in car after walk round outside of ground. Home fans we met whilst collecting tickets from their office were particularly friendly, talking of Hartlepool's relegation last season and discussing merits of Southend's manager Phil Brown who did play for Hartlepool in his younger days and pointing out pubs worth visiting.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground was easy to find by following Town Centre signs and then the floodlights came into view. We found a small car park at the rear of the Niramax Stand. The ground is clean neat and compact, the away end is standing with barriers to lean on which I feel is better than cramped seats particularly when weather is cold.

The popular Niramax Stand has a seated top part with no backs to the seats and a standing paddock room in front. The away end is all seated and with only 200 or so Southend fans it was easy to find a seat with a fair view to avoid the stand supports. The electronic scoreboard between the home and and Niramax sSand counted down the minutes and is easily viewed by away supporters, which is not always the case at other grounds. The pitch was like a bowling green, being the opening game of this new season 2013/14.

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

The Hartlepool mascot “Angus” the monkey climbed into the away end to meet the Southend fans before kick off. A welcome gesture and he was greeted with friendly handshakes from kids and adults alike. Southend took the lead after 5 minutes so home fans enthusiasm was dampened and then just before half time Southend's Barry Corr was sent off to ensure a tense 2nd half for us away fans. The away stand was noisy for the last few minutes as we survived the sending off, to gain a 2nd successive win.

The stewards were good and allowed some standing at the back of the stand. There was a cold breeze from the North Sea blowing in to the back of the stand.

The chips were the biggest I have seen at any football ground and the hot dogs appeared to be a foot long!

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

It was easy to get away from the ground and main roads were clearly sign posted.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A good day and winning our 1st away game of the season. The weather was pleasantly warm except for the breeze at the back of the away stand.

Attendance 3,479
Result: Hartlepool United 0-1 Southend United

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