Crawley Town

Checkatrade.com Stadium

Capacity: 5,996 (3,295 Seated)
Address: Winfield Way, Crawley, RH11 9RX
Telephone: 01293 410 000
Fax: 01293 410 002
Ticket Office: 01293 410 005
Pitch Size: 110 x 72 yards
Club Nickname: The Red Devils
Year Ground Opened: 1997
Shirt Sponsors: Checkatrade
Kit Manufacturer: Puma
Home Kit: Red and White
Away Kit: Black With Red Trim

Main Stand External View
Main Stand External View
Main Stand
Main Stand
KR-L Away Terrace
KR-L Away Terrace
Bruce Winfield Stand
Bruce Winfield Stand
East Stand
East Stand

This relatively new stadium was opened in 1997, the Club moving there from their old Town Mead ground. The stadium looks to be a quality one in terms of standard of build. It is dominated by the good sized West Stand on one side. This smart looking stand, is covered, all seated and runs for about two thirds the length of the pitch. It is raised above pitch level meaning that fans have to climb a small flight of stairs at the front to enter the seated area. The stand also has windshields to either side, plus three unusual looking floodlight pylons on its roof. It has a capacity of 1,150 seats. Opposite is the new East Stand which was opened in April 2012. This semi-permanent all seated stand, accommodates 2,145 spectators in 12 rows of seating. The stand does though have a fair few supporting pillars running across the front of it, that could impede your view. A pair of new floodlight pylons have also been erected to either side of the stand. Both ends are virtually identical, being small covered terraces that extend around both corners of the ground towards the West Stand, enclosing the stadium at those points. The stadium perimeter is surrounded on two sides by a number of trees, giving a rural look.

Still known to many fans as the Broadfield Stadium, it was renamed the Checkatrade.com Stadium in 2013, as part of a corporate sponsorship deal.

Away fans are primarily housed in the KR-L Stand at one end of the ground. This mostly covered terrace can accommodate up to 1,600 fans. A small number of seats are also available to away supporters in the West Stand. The segregation of the terrace can be adjusted depending on the size of the away following. For example clubs will a small following will be given only the North West corner up to the corner flag, whilst the largest will be allocated that corner plus the whole of that end. The facilities at the stadium are pretty good and it is normally a relaxed and enjoyable day out. 

Food on offer inside includes a range of Pies from the local supplier 'The Real Pie Company'. Priced at £3, they include a Chicken Balti Pie, Steak & Guinness Pie and a 'Monthly special' pie. There are also Meat Pasties (£2.50), plus Cheese and Onion Pasties (£2.50). Also there are Bacon Burgers (£4), Double Burgers (£4), Burgers (£3), Veggie Burgers (£3), Hot Dogs (£2.50), Sausage Rols (£2.50), Bacon Rolls (£2.50) and Chips (£2.50). 

There is a bar at the stadium at the back of the Bruce Winfield Stand called the 'Redz Bar', which allows in away fans. Entrance to this bar is gained from outside the stadium. Peter Bellamy informs me, 'The closest pub to the stadium is the Half Moon on Brighton Road (A2219). This is about a five minute walk away going towards the town centre. Another pub close by is The Downsman, which is on Wakehurst Drive, just off Southgate Avenue'.

To find these pubs, come out of the stadium car park entrance and turn right and go back up to the main roundabout. Cross the dual carriageway using the underpass and go straight on into Southgate Avenue (A2004). For the Half Moon take the first left off Southgate Avenue into Brighton Road (A2219) and the pub is further up the road on the right. For the Downsman also go to Brighton Road, then take the first right in to Wakehurst Drive. Continue along Wakehurst Drive to find the pub on the left. Otherwise alcohol is available to away fans inside the ground, albeit in a small area where a maximum of 60 fans are allowed in at any one time.

From the M25 take the M23 Southbound towards Gatwick Airport and Brighton. At the end of the M23 (before it becomes the A23) leave the motorway at the last exit, Junction 11 (sign posted A264 Horsham, Pease Pottage Services). At the roundabout at the end of the motorway slip road turn right onto the A23 going towards Crawley. The ground is down on the left just before the next roundabout. It is a little obscured by trees, so look for the large red and white football on the roundabout itself and you will see the stadium entrance. Turn left at the roundabout and then left again for the stadium car park.

Car Parking
The car park at the stadium which costs £5. Peter Bellamy adds; 'There is an overflow car park in the offices at Broadfield Park, accessible from the A23 as you come down the hill from the motorway'. Otherwise street parking. 

Please note that after the end of the game it can take quite a while to exit the stadium car park. So if you are looking for a quick getaway after the game, then it may be an idea to street park instead.

Post Code for SAT NAV: RH11 9RX

Crawley station is just over a mile away from the stadium. You can either take a taxi (about £6), or from the bus station across the road, you can take a Fastway number 10 bus to the ground (this runs every ten minutes). Otherwise it is about a twenty minute walk. 

As you come out of the station turn left and walk down to the T-junction. At the junction turn left into Brighton Road. Keep walking straight down Brighton Road for just under a mile and at its end turn right. You should now be able to see the stadium in the distance behind the traffic island. Use the underpass to cross the A23 to the ground.

Remember if travelling by train then you can save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.

Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can normally save.

Click on the trainline logo below:

Seating

West Stand: Adults £22, Over 65's/Under 22's £18, Under 18's £10, Under 16's £8, Under 11's £6
East Stand (Centre): Adults £20, Over 65's £16, Under 18's £10, Under 16's £8, Under 11's £6  
East Stand (Wings): Adults £18, Over 65's £14, Under 18's £10, Under 16's £8, Under 11's £6 

Terrace

Adults £16, Over 65's £12, Under 18's £10, Under 16's £8, Under 11's £6

Please note that ID showing date of birth may be required to purchase Under 22's tickets.

Crawley Town FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

Official Programme: £3

Aldershot, Woking & Brighton.

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the  Level Playing Field website.

Record Attendance

5,880 v Reading FA Cup 3rd Round, January 5th 2013.

Average Attendance

2014-2015: 2,709 (League One)
2013-2014: 3,486 (League One)
2012-2013: 3,408 (League One)

If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They have a huge choice of places to stay and their booking facility is straightforward to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going. 

Access their Crawley Hotels and Guest Houses page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.

Crawley Town v Leyton Orient
League One
Saturday, 21st March 2015, 3pm
Sam Needham (Leyton Orient fan)

Why you were looking forward to going to the Broadfield Stadium?

This was to be my first trip to Crawley, and as one of Orient's more local away trips this season it was time to tick the ground off the list. As one of seemingly many six pointers that Orient have had in recent weeks, two struggling teams both in apparent good form coming into the game meant there was potential for a high scoring game. Admittedly though with most Orient games this season, I was pretty skeptical to them gaining the three points.

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

The journey is a pretty easy one and in fact took us a lot less time than first thought. We managed to park in what looked like an abandoned school car park (signposted free match day parking and stewarded). This also gave a nice little scenic route from the car park to the ground via a pathway that led over a stream and straight the ground itself in about two minutes.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly? 

As we were quite early, we ended up hanging around outside the ground for the turnstiles to open. There had been some debate as to where the away fans would be located, as an initial allocation had been given in the seated West Stand with potential for the terrace to be open as well. Eventually we were allowed on to the terrace, with just over 800 O's fans making the trip.

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

Unfortunately this is one of the few grounds in the league this year that makes Orient's stadium look good. It has a very non league feel about it, which is obviously understandable, given Crawley's recent rise up the football league. The home and away terrace are virtually identical, curving round the corner flag to the right of each stand. Their Main Stand looks like the newest addition and gives the ground a bit more appeal, but to the left of the away fans is what can only be described as a gazebo covering temporary seating. What also seemed strange was that the away support was divided between this gazebo and the terrace behind the goal. Personally I would much rather stand at a football ground, but this divide meant that the away support was divided virtually in half. One home supporters flag read 'Tin pot and proud', which was a pretty nice touch but also very true.

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

The game itself had, on paper, promised to be a goal fest, with both teams scoring and conceding goals in past weeks. As it happened, both teams lived up to their league positions and struggled from the first whistle. Crawley took the lead midway through the first half after converting what looked like a pretty silly penalty to concede. Apart from this, Orient offered a greater attacking threat, although they were unable to convert three pretty good chances and the game finished 1-0. The atmosphere was pretty flat throughout. I think the division of away fans into two stands made it difficult to generate much noise and the home fans generated little noise until the final whistle. It is also worth noting the burger I had pre-game was one of the worst I have had at a ground, with the burnt taste probably making it a little better (although the woman did inform me they had nine staff off ill, so it probably wasn't the best time to judge). The stewards seemed friendly enough and kept to themselves.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was as simple as getting to the ground. I would definitely recommending parking in this car park as it was close to the ground and easy to escape, unlike most match day parking. I've also heard it can take a long time to get away from the official car park next to the ground.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A pretty drab affair and probably my least favorite away ground this season. This was probably influenced heavily by the result, but I think it does offer a nice change to the larger championship-esque style grounds that are more common place in League One in recent times.

Crawley v MK Dons League One Saturday 10th January 2015, 3pm Martin (MK Dons fan)

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

Having supported MK for many years, I felt it about the time to do my first away match. I had been on holiday when we had played our local derbies, so Crawley became the target game to get to. Having been used to watching football at the modern Stadium:MK I was really looking forward to visiting an old fashioned ground that still had terracing. Crawley were also one of the few clubs we seemed to get along with, so I wasn't worried about trouble etc.

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

We travelled by train and arrived at Crawley station at 1:30pm. We got outside to find a a taxi rank on the right hand side of the station entrance and we decided to take a cab to the ground. It was a steep £5 for the 4 of us to travel 5 minutes down the road, but it saved any hassle of trying to find the stadium.

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

The taxi driver we had was a Crawley fan, and the bloke seemed nice enough. The town itself looked quite sparse at first and this reminded me of the Grand Theft Auto 'V' map. We ended up deciding to get our food in the ground itself, as we hadn't received any advice on where to avoid etc. We met a couple of Crawley fans outside the ground who were happy enough to talk about their thoughts on then match, although they didn't seem too confident about getting a good result.

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

The ground itself was very well organised. The ticket office was conveniently right outside our end; ending the need for us to awkwardly ask for away tickets at the home end. The away end is split into standing and seating areas, but the queuing outside struggled to move quickly with the 450 MK Dons in attendance.

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

We got into the ground at 2pm and immediately got food from the only outlet in the terracing area. The cooking staff managed to get my order completely wrong, but  were very apologetic. The overall game itself was dull. We were on a bad spell, and conceded a 12th minute penalty to one of our ex-players and Crawley doubled their lead just before half time. The atmosphere was very poor from the Crawley fans, and we easily outsang them throughout the majority of the match. The terracing end had a low roof, so we could easily make a lot of noise right behind our goal. The steward in charge of the away end was very good and we had some good banter.  However we had a bit of good fortune when the Crawley goalkeeper went off injured and had to be replaced by an out-field player as they had no substitute keeper on the bench. We managed to pull a goal back and then unfortunately, it appeared during the match that one of the home fans had thrown a cup of tea over one of our players, and for some reason wasn't thrown out. This as you would expect heightened tension between the fans.  Towards the end of the match, the stewards were okay with us gathering outside the exit which was conveniently meters away from the home end. Needless to say, we scored a 90+6th minute equaliser and we told the home fans what we thought of them!

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

Because of the late drama, we got away as soon as the final whistle blew. Unfortunately, though we had a bit of hassle from some of the Crawley fans on the way back to the railway station. That was probably the only low part of the day, (aside from not taking 3 points).

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A fantastic day out, and if our promotion campaign was to fail, I will definitely be returning to Crawley.

Crawley Town v MK Dons
League One
Saturday, January 10th 2015, 3pm
Syed Ahmad (MK Dons Fan)

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

I had been looking forward to my visit to the checkatrade.com stadium ever since my friend invited me to go along with him. I had already been to one away game this season at Leyton Orient, so I was looking forward to travelling again down south to see dons. Although Dons had just come back off two losses, (One against Walsall and one in a not wanted FA Cup replay to Chesterfield after they fielded an ineligible player first game) I was still quite confident we would come away with 3 points with some ease.

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

We decided that we would go by train for this game. We  parked up at Bletchley station and caught a train at 11am to Clapham junction. Our cheaper tickets allowed us to get there as long as we went through Kensington Olympia and we didn’t go through Central London so after a 1 hour and a bit trip we arrived at Clapham Junction. In the 20 minutes that we had spare before catching the next train, we got some lunch and then went straight on to our relevant platform. 20 minutes later we were in Crawley. We somehow ended up exiting the station through its back entrance, so we had a little difficulty at first getting our bearings and finding the Brighton Road. But as soon as we did we started to see other fans and then in the distance we could see the stadium in sight.

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

Whilst walking on Brighton Road we all needed a drink so we went in to the Half Moon pub that we saw on the way and we were felt welcomed very quickly. They didn’t mind away fans (or them wearing their colours) and they were actually encouraging away fans to come in. We sat in a corner where other Dons fans seemed to be. For the 45 minutes that we stayed, we watched the Premier League early kick off game and had a drink for a reasonable price. The only negative, were that rumours started floating around the Dons fans that our top loanee striker was not in the squad. We were all expecting him to be on the bench for his usual rotation with other loanee striker Will Grigg, but the only thing that his absence probably meant, was that Arsenal had recalled him. We were left to wonder would our season again to pot like last season with Patrick Bamford.

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

We had been told at the pub the ground was only a short distance away, so in what seemed no time, we soon spotted the supporting pillars of the West Stand. We had been expecting a fairly small ground and we did get what we expected but it did seem nice enough. We had been debating all the way down to Crawley whether we would stand or sit, but when we saw most of the die-hard Dons fans were standing and the terrace was covered, we decided to stand. The tickets prices were reasonable and the matchday programme was very well written. When we got into our position things began to become interesting and Dons’ chants soon rang out. I had never stood at a game before so I was interested to see how my legs would hold out. One thing I would point out was that it was quite hard to tell who the home die-hard fans were as there was no obvious stand for it.

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

The game itself was very eventful in many different ways. We started the better and quite soon looked like we were going to take the lead sooner or later. However after about 15 minutes, totally against the run of play Crawley got a penalty after former red Kyle Mcfadzean fouled former Don Izale Mcleod. Although I thought it was soft I think it was just about a penalty. This was a sign of refereeing decisions to come. Anyway, the penalty was scored and I think the Dons fans were a little disappointed to see Izale celebrate it. Even after the goal the Dons continued to dominate. The next interesting moment was when their goalkeeper went down after a collision and didn’t get up for 10 minutes. This was important because they didn’t have a keeper on the bench so their veteran striker Matt Harold went in goal. This was met by many cheers all-round the ground. After that every time he caught the ball there would be a massive cheer.

Soon another horrific refereeing decision happened, and I think every single Dons fan feels we should have had a stonewall penalty given in front of us after our wonder kid Dele Alli was hacked down by the last defender after going round the goalkeeper. To rub salt into the wounds, Crawley doubled their lead, with Izale scoring again, although he clearly looked to be offside. This enraged the Dons fans and our manager Karl Robinson even more and it looked like nothing was going to go our way.

We eventually got back into the game after will Grigg headed a loose ball into the net. This lead to a very tense ending. We left it very late to equalise and after numerous goal line scramble Dele Alli coolly slotted the ball into the net in the 6th minute of added time to send the Dons fans in to rafters. We all just hugged each other and rejoiced. Of course there were many chants from Dons’ fans of ‘you’ve only gone and messed it up’. We then left after the final whistle.

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

Getting away was very easy as there were only two and a half thousand there. We stayed on for a meal in Crawley and then soon got on the train about 2 hours after the game. Any Crawley fans we did see looked quite annoyed that they throw away their lead.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Although I still haven’t been to an away game this season and seen the dons win and the referring was once again atrocious I did have a good day out. It was value for money and I would not mind making the southern journey again. Of course I don’t want to play them again in the league I hope the Dons would be in the Championship next year.

Crawley Town v Wolverhampton Wanderers
League One
Tuesday, March 18th 2014, 7.45pm
Kevin Singleton (Wolves Fan)

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

This was my first visit to Crawley (#53/92)  Prior to our draw with Shrewsbury we had our best run in history with a 9 game win streak so was looking forward to this game.

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

Left Gloucester at 2.30pm and got to Crawley, parked (in a free car park) by 5.15. A417, A419, M4, A329(M), A322, M3, M25, M23 and finally A23.

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

Went to the half moon on the Brighton Road (10 minutes walk from the ground) which had no issues with away fans wearing colours. 2 pints £7.40 and 2 burgers from the BBQ £6.

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

Still has a "Conference" feel to it, very much like Kidderminster Harriers ground. Wolves fans were given the full terracing which is behind the goal and around part of the side. We also had 600 seats in one of the stands along the side.

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

The game itself was not what we had hoped for going down to our first defeat in 11 games. 2 . 1. Took the lead but were soon pegged back, and then behind. The performance was poor from our team but the small pitch did not help. Crawley did play well and deserved the three points as they pressed us and did not allow us to play the football that Wolves fans have been accustomed to this season. With a capacity away following the facilities were struggling to cope with the 1,960 Wolves fans that were there. Although the stewards were generally okay.

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

No trouble getting away and was back on the M23 in 10 minutes.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Only two good things came from this.... another one ticked off the 92...... and the final whistle!

Crawley Town v Swindon Town
League One
Tuesday, November 26th 2013, 7.45pm
Ronan Howard (Swindon Town Fan)

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

This would be my first trip to Crawley, having missed our most recent encounters with the relative newcomers to the Football League. A reasonably short trip for me and the last real chance for an away game before Christmas sealed the deal.

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

I decided to drive down this time. Although only an hour and a half from where I’m based, I decided to stay over at the nearby Premier Inn (driving at night in November not constituting my idea of a good time).
 
Straight forward trip – M3, M25, M23 and back into Crawley. Also no mistaking where the football ground is, as you pass a giant red and white football on the roundabout opposite, which is a nice touch.
 
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
 
Went for a few beers at the nearby Half Moon pub. Saw very few home fans before the game although the flip side of that being that there were no problems with the locals. Not much around the ground in the way of pubs/restaurants for people to amuse themselves before the game. It might possibly have a better pre-match atmosphere in the spring/summer months so will give the benefit of the doubt.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
 
Ended up getting to the away end only a few minutes before kick off so not much of a chance for a look around. The ground itself is fairly small but tidy enough. Got into the ground quickly enough and then on to find a decent spot to watch the match. This is easier said than done – I’ve seen worse terracing at grounds around the country but due to there being little height to the stand the view wasn’t great. Luckily as it would turn out, there wasn’t much to miss!

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was a bit of a non-event, certainly in the first half. “Like watching paint dry” was the expression I used at half time. Second half we managed to be a bit more adventurous  - both teams had a couple of chances, with Swindon hitting the post through Nicky Ajose, and both sides having a goal disallowed. Shortly before the final whistle town’s Nathan Byrne was dismissed for a second yellow, harsh I and many others felt, but it was typical of the evening.
 
That said we certainly didn’t deserve more than a draw, as we couldn’t seem to hit a barn door all day. Crawley may feel they deserved to sneak three points, however Wes Foderingham in the Swindon goal pulled off a couple of fine saves to deny their best chances.
 
The atmosphere throughout was muted – normally our travelling support is outstanding but this particular evening we never really got going. Crawley’s with respect was non-existent until the final few minutes, whether this was due to the time of year, the cold weather or the poor turnout (as visitors we made up around 10% of the gate that night and the overall attendance was still only around the 25,00 mark), I’m not sure. It certainly didn’t help that the quality of the football didn’t give either team much to shout about. Both looked happy enough with a point and a quick journey home.
 
Facilities were very sparse – toilets were better than I expected (and definitely better than some I’ve seen at other grounds) but nothing else in the away end. Several youngsters were walking past every so often with drinks containers mounted on their backs to much good natured ridicule – cries of “Ghostbusters” greeted their every jaunt pitchside! Stewards largely invisible which was no bad thing. Another interesting feature is that the stewards seemed to be happy to let us smokers indulge ourselves as the gates were far enough from the stand itself not to cause any legal issues.
 
Before the game I would’ve taken a point and as that’s what we got, couldn’t complain too much.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Easy enough, straight out the way we came, through an underpass and back out onto the main road.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Purely due to the relative ease of getting to Crawley I probably would go again, however certainly not much to tempt me back there for an evening kick off in winter. Not much around the ground of interest, the ground itself although relatively new seems to have had some corners cut in terms of keeping terraces and few facilities added, and one of the more subdued atmospheres I’ve seen – for 70-80 minutes you could be mistaken for thinking the home fans were watching a tennis match. The ground itself would be perfectly adequate for non-league but as Crawley seem to be consolidated in the Football League now, would think they would look at making some improvements.
 
That said certainly not the worst football ground in the world and would recommend for someone travelling a short distance and in better weather. Worth a look, if not one to go out of your way for.

Crawley Town v Oldham Athletic
League One
Saturday, September 28th 2013, 3pm
James Prentice (Doing the 92)

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

I had wanted to visit the Broadfield Stadium ever since Crawley made it into the league but had put it off until now, being one of the slightly trickier journeys to make. With my 92 count having little more than ten grounds left, however, I decided to go for it nice and early on in the season. I managed to book a cheap rail fare and sadly had to make the journey alone as my mate had other commitments to attend to. With Crawley being one of a new breed of well-run former non-league clubs that have replaced outfits that have struggled for years (such as my hometown club, Lincoln City), I was interested to see at first hand whether their ground and support reflected their meteoric rise up to the heady heights of the League 1 play-off zone.

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

I caught the 9.30 train from Lincoln direct to Kings Cross and arrived in the capital around two hours later. From there, it was a tube ride to Victoria before getting an overland train out to Crawley. I saw a few away fans on my final train and they seemed to be in good spirits despite an indifferent start to the campaign. When arriving in Crawley, I was taken aback by the amount of concrete and ‘new buildings’ that just do not seem to blend in at all. Although I understand it is a 1960s new town, it seems completely bereft of any real character and is definitely not a venue for sightseers. However, the walk of around one mile to the ground was a pleasant one, although a tree-lined main road before an underpass directed fans to the Broadfield.

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

I went straight to the ground and collected my pre-ordered ticket. I had intended to go back to the Half Moon pub on Brighton Road, which I passed on my way, but with time ticking on I decided to get a programme, go for a quick look in the club shop before having a swift pint in the Redz Bar at the back of the Bruce Winfield stand. The home and away fans seemed friendly and mixed amicably. Oldham fans had taken along their flag made in memory of the late Ernie Cooksey, which was very fitting given that he played for both the Latics and Crawley during his career. During the match there was a touching minute’s applause from all four corners of the ground.

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

I had a ticket in the aforementioned Bruce Winfield stand, which is a small covered terrace located behind the goal and, from the pictures I had seen, was expecting a drab concrete jungle. After entering the ground, however, I was pleasantly surprised and was interested to see that the facilities are of good quality. The home stand spans one end of the pitch before curving around to the size of the pitch, just before meeting the Main Stand. While the Crawley supporters were on the quiet side, this helped keep some of their chants reverberating around the ground. While the stadium does not ooze character, it was certainly built to a high standard and, despite being on the small size, offers good views of the action.

The other end, where the away fans were located, was an almost identical to the stand I was in. The main West Stand looked like it would offer a great view, offering an unobstructed view and being raised well above pitch level. Opposite was the temporary East Stand, which looks slightly like a market stall and does have a large number of thin pillars that may make is difficult when the game is in progress.

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

I grabbed a burger, chips and drink meal deal, which at £5.50 was not too badly priced. The burger was really tasty, although sadly this meant that I did not get to assess the pies! The stewards were pretty friendly and seemed to trust the home fans to behave themselves. As already mentioned, the home fans were pretty quiet throughout the game. They threatened to raise the noise levels when Crawley took the lead early on, although as this turned out to be the winner and much of the rest of the game saw Oldham miss a host of great chances, the atmosphere was pretty subdued and nervy. Sadly the game was not a classic – I don’t seem to see many on my travels! – but the home side held on to collect maximum points, although I could not help but feel sorry for Oldham, who deserved something for their efforts.

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

I headed straight back towards the station, having to catch a train at around 5.30pm. The crowd seemed to disperse pretty quickly and by the time I was on Brighton Road there was little evidence that I had just been to a match with just over 3,000 others! When I got there, however, I found out that all trains to Victoria had been cancelled, meaning I had to get one in the direction of London Bridge, which did not leave until 5.45pm. This would mean a nerve-shredding dash across the capital if I was to make my connecting train home. Thankfully, I took the advice of a helpful station conductor and changed to a faster train after reaching Three Bridges. Even so, I only just got into London Bridge on time and had a make a run for it to get the tube. Thankfully, I made it in time and managed to make the long journey home in one piece.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Whilst not a brilliant day out in my book, the Broadfield is a tidy and comfortable ground that has more about it than a lot of other ‘new generation’ grounds. It does feel very much like a former non-league venue, but if Crawley can maintain their place in League 1 and increase their fan base then they may be able to increase the capacity of the stadium. I had a relatively enjoyable day out, although I doubt that I will make the trip again unless it’s for a good reason!

Crawley Town v Coventry City
League One
Saturday, April 13th 2013, 3pm
Alex Smith (Coventry City fan)

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

After a 10 point deduction Coventry's season was pretty much over. Both sides were marooned in the middle of the table so nothing to play for apart from pride. So this is usually where some of the Academy and out of favour players get a chance. I was particularly looking forward to seeing how the Academy youngsters performed.

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

We are dedicated users of the train and it was a bit of a complicated journey to Crawley. We Left Coventry station on the 7:59 AM train to London Euston which was delayed after a long stop in Milton Keynes Central. We eventually arrived at London Euston and made our way to the tube station, only to find it busy with a lot of Wigan and Millwall fans making their way to Wembley Stadium for their FA Cup semi final. We managed to get on a Victoria line train to Victoria station and we just made our connecting train to Crawley. When we arrived at Crawley station there was a taxi rank outside the station so we just got a cab to Broadfield.

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

We arrived at Broadfield and there was a small social club in the ground they were very welcoming to us. There was also a programme shop that was a little portakabin- It was great It sold old Crawley town programmes and other clubs programmes as well. I also managed to see our team coach arrive at the stadium.

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

It wasn't that long ago that Crawley were a non-league club and Broadfield still has a non-league feel about it. The terrace opposite to us was where most of the Crawley atmosphere was coming from. It was almost impossible to have a bit of banter with Crawley fans nearer our end as they were situated quite far away from us. The temporary stand along one side was just like a Marquee and at one point I could see some rain dripping though the roof.

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

I brought a Burger and Chips from the refreshment bar and they were lovely; some of the best food I have had a football ground, The stewards were extremely friendly some of the best I Have encountered. Crawley started of the brighter side and they took the lead from a Billy Clarke free kick, with a bit of help from a Billy Daniels deflection. With the rain pouring down it was hard for us to play football and Crawley made it 2-0 through Conner Essam after a bit of schoolboy defending from the Sky Blues. We left before the final whistle and headed back to the railway station.

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

Easy enough lots of taxis waiting outside the ground.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Good day out, on the whole a friendly club. I'll look forward to next seasons game.

Crawley Town v Notts County
League One
Saturday, March 9th 2013, 3pm
James Spring (Notts County fan)

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

As a lot of people who read this site are probably aware, I only get to see my beloved Notts County when they play down south due to living in Weymouth. Crawley was a fixture  that I had earmarked when the fixtures first came out. I do a lot of non-league grounds with Weymouth so I was interested to see if the Broadfield had a non-league feel to it. Plus you can’t beat a bit of terracing!

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

On paper at least, the journey looked fairly straightforward. Train from Upwey to Southampton, then Southampton to Crawley for 1pm. Only trouble was, the train we were meant to get from Southampton to Crawley was initially delayed by just over half an hour, before being cancelled completely due to a broken down freight train further down the line. We therefore had to get a train to Clapham Junction to get a train to Crawley.

We managed it and got into Crawley for about quarter past two. There is a map of the local area outside Crawley station, but it’s not particularly clear –didn’t have any of the usual points of interest or tell you where you are, which isn’t particularly helpful.

We asked a Police officer outside the station for directions to the ground, which he gave us, and told us it was about a ten minute walk. HA! Ten minutes in his car maybe, but at least half an hour by foot. The route we took was right out of the station onto Station Way, then right when we got to Southgate Avenue. Then it was a good twenty minute walk down Southgate Avenue (or the A2004 as it’s called on Google maps) until we reached Southgate Roundabout. There’s a giant football in the middle of the roundabout so that’s something to look for when visiting. There’s a network of subways under the roundabout that bring you into the stadium car park, and conveniently for us – outside the away end.

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

We had arrived in Crawley late so could only go straight to the ground. There is a McDonalds practically straight ahead of you at the end of Friary Way if you need a pre-match meal (post match in our case). That’s in the town centre so I would be surprised if there weren’t more food outlets or a few pubs around the place.

Brought a match day programme outside the ground for £3. The sellers were some of the friendliest I’ve come across it must be said. The programme itself wasn’t bad. Once I’d done that it was straight into the ground and onto the terrace behind the goal. We’d made it with about five minutes to spare!

The few home fans we did come across before and after the game seemed friendly enough, although I didn’t get talking to anyone properly.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground. First impressions of the away end and other sides of the stadium?

The first thing I saw on the way to the ground was the rather strange floodlights perched on top of the Main Stand. Not seen any like that before!

The ground itself is fairly smart to say they’ve only been in the football league two years. The two terraces behind the two goals are identical and the one end accommodated about 400 Notts fans fairly comfortably. Plenty of room and views of the playing action are fairly good, at least better than I had expected.

To the right of the away terrace (KR-L stand) is the pretty smart West Stand -  the Club's Main Stand, and to the left is a makeshift covered seated stand which was almost full of home fans. Part of this stand is also given to away fans, although only about half our seats were taken. There are however quite a few supporting pillars along the front of the stand so I would expected a fairly restricted view. On the whole, I was impressed with the ground but I had a feeling I would be. I always prefer smaller grounds to those modern soulless bowls.

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

The game itself seemed to have draw written all over it given both sides recent form and positions on the table, although both kept telling themselves they had an outside chance of the play-offs. A 0-0 draw was a fair result although both sides had their chances, and as scoreless draws go it wasn’t that bad a game. The atmosphere from the away end was pretty good throughout although I didn’t hear much from the home fans. The stewards seemed fine, didn’t seem to have anything to do all game. Didn’t sample the food for myself but from what people brought it seemed to have the usual selection of Pies, sausage rolls, pasties, and drinks.

The toilets are basically right in front of you as you enter the away end. I was surprised at how clean they were for a football ground.

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

We went back the way we came. It was fairly busy immediately outside the ground as you’d expect but as soon as we got back onto Southgate Avenue, all football pedestrians seemed to disappear completely! Got back to the station in about half an hour.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of day out:

Overall not a bad day out despite the panic and hectic journey getting there, although a 0-0 draw always feels like a bit of an anti-climax. Still, at least we didn’t lose. Will certainly try and return again next season if we’re both in the same league (which now looks fairly nailed on!).

Crawley Town v Brentford
League One
Tuesday, February 26th 2013, 7.45pm
Toby Maxstone-Smith (Brentford fan)

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

This was Brentford’s first visit to the Broadfield Stadium and, as a relatively local midweek away-day, there was no way I would consider missing out. A major reason I particularly looked forward to this away game in particular is that it is one of only two grounds in League One, the other being our very own Griffin Park, where the away section is a covered terrace. At Brentford we have a proper ‘home end’, the Ealing Road terrace, and it saddens me to see clubs where the atmosphere has been lost among the seating.

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

A bit of a nightmare. I met my friend at Victoria hoping to get the 17:44 to Crawley, which would take around forty minutes. All trains to Crawley had been cancelled. Luckily, however, my friend’s Dad works at Gatwick Airport, so we hopped on the Gatwick Express and got a lift to the ground at the other end. The journey from Gatwick to the ground took around twenty minutes and we were there about three quarters of an hour before kick-off.

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

The club do not have a dedicated away ticket office, so you have to walk round to the back of the Main Stand to find the small ticket booth. The home fans seemed friendly despite the very large, and very vocal, away presence. Then we headed straight into the stadium.

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

The away fans are allocated the KRL stand behind the goal, which also extends round the corner and next to the West (Main) Stand. Teams with smaller away followings will be given around half the end. There are also around 200 seats available in the temporary East Stand. I stood almost directly behind the goal, where the best atmosphere was created by the fantastic Bees away support (around 1,100 in a crowd of 3,700). The ground is small, and still feels a bit ‘non-league’. With trees visible behind the stands the ground has something of a rural feel. The West Stand is an impressive looking stand in front of which are the dugouts. Opposite is the Bruce Winfield terrace, the home end, which is virtually identical to the away end. On the east side of the ground is a temporary stand and, while it is covered, there are around 15 supporting pillars.

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

I bought a burger inside the ground, which was among the best I have had at any ground in the country and was a reasonable £3. The game itself was fantastic. We were awarded a penalty in the first minute and the Crawley defender was sent-off. Up stepped Clayton ‘Donaldinho’ Donaldson, to put it wide. However an excellent strike from Sam Saunders and a Donaldson tap in meant we went in 2-0 at half-time. The atmosphere in the away end in the first half was one of raucous celebration – surely even Brentford couldn’t mess up a two-goal advantage against ten men. The whole half just reinforced my opinion that terracing automatically means a better atmosphere. The Crawley fans seemed fairly subdued, but it would unfair to judge them in a match where they were up against it for so long.

The second half started in the same vein, with some terrific banter going on with the Crawley stewards. On the hour mark Adam Forshaw went over in the box. Penalty! No, second yellow card for a ‘dive’ and it was 10 versus 10. Five minutes later, they scored, so we had gone from possibly being 3-0 up against ten to being 2-1 up with the same number of players on the pitch. And there were still 25 minutes left. Luckily, we held on to secure a victory that was made even sweeter by the news of several promotion rivals dropping points.

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

1,200 West Londoners roared out into the Sussex night and, despite some fairly provocative chanting (you’re just a car park for Gatwick), there was no trouble getting away from the ground. We made the twenty-minute walk to the station where we boarded a delayed train home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of day out:

A vital three points that should have been a lot easier than it was. We didn’t play particularly well, but the atmosphere from the away fans was among the best all season. Hopefully we will go up, but that would mean missing out on this away trip next season. I would definitely go back.

Crawley Town v Reading
FA Cup 3rd Round
Saturday, January 5th, 2013, 3pm
James Busby (Reading fan)

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

The FA Cup has always been an interesting tournament over the past few years for Reading, beating the likes of Liverpool at Anfield, Everton at Goodison and two quarter final appearances. Plus Jimmy Kebe scoring one of the fastest goals in FA Cup history (9 seconds). I thought maybe this could be the start to something along the same lines,

Also Crawley isn’t very far away from Reading to travel to, plus I would  experience a match standing on a terrace like the old days, And  just to add a bit of extra spice to the fixture, we will be reunited with Steve Coppell, the first manager to ever guide us to the Premiership with a record 106 points. Lastly it’s another ground to tick off the list.

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

We travelled to Crawley by train; it was a pretty simple journey Reading to Red Hill, and then Red Hill to Crawley, and £20 for a return, you can’t go wrong. The journey took roughly an hour and half, but we had a few beers to keep us going.

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

We arrived in Crawley at around 11:30am, the first thing we did was try and find the away fans friendly pub called The Half Moon (thanks to this website), which was around a 15 minute walk from the station. Fairly simple to find, turn left when you exit the station, follow the road across the level crossing, until you reach a bridge, you can either take a side route which will take an extra 10 minutes or if you feel brave just walk on the road (like we did) and it's on the left.

It was a very nice pub inside and out, it has loads of TV’s, 6 I counted all showing the Brighton vs Newcastle game, it also has 3 pool tables and an Air Hockey table. The food was limited due to the match day menu they serve but fairly priced with burgers and Pizzas ranging from £2.95 - £5. Pub started to fill as soon as we arrived with both Reading and Crawley fans, all seemed friendly and banter was flowing freely. The staff were also friendly, even had a good chat with the Landlord and surprising enough a lot of Reading fans live in Crawley.

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

We left the pub at 2:30pm with both sets of fans walking together with no signs of trouble, when you get to the stadium it’s not much to look at if you’re not used to lower league football, but it is clean and looks fairly modern despite being 15 years old. It has two identical stands at each end which are both all terrace which meet at both corners. To your left is a small all seated stand which holds around 2,000 people, and there are a lot of supporting pillars in this stand and the roofs looks like one you’ll see on a tent, then again it is only a semi permanent stand, part of this stand was given to Reading fans, and to your right is a much bigger West Stand which looks fairly modern, the stand is above pitch level meaning supporters need to climb a small set of stairs to get to their seats and has some odd looking floodlights. The tunnel and dugouts are also located at this side.

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

The game got off to an awful start for us as Crawley scored in the first 14 seconds, Nicky Adams unleashing a thunder bolt right into the top corner giving Adam Federici no chance. The Royals started to get in the game and levelled on 13 minutes with Adam Le Fondre slotted a low ball past Jones after McCleary cushioned Harte's cross to set Le Fondre up. It was pretty even game after this with chances being created by either side until McCleary yet again crossed the ball to Noel Hunt to make it 2-1 to Reading just before half time.

The second half was all Reading and the game was well and truly over when Le Fondre converted a penalty after Hunt was brought down by Walsh, could of been 4 after Shaun Cummings was taken down in the box, but even thought it was a clear penalty, he got booked for “diving” but after that, Reading just sat back and defended until the full time whistle.

The atmosphere even though it was a record attendance (5,880) was very poor from the Crawley fans, but the Reading fans were in full voice all throughout . A few away fans got thrown out for not behaving themselves. which put a bit of a dampener on the game, but still the stewards (who were hardly noticeable) dealt with the incidents quickly. The toilets were a bit on the small side, but did the job.
 
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

After clapping our players off, we were let out the stand straight away and mixed in with the Crawley fans with no hassle, a few police cars were parked around the stadium and the surrounding streets, but it’s expected despite the old hooliganism factor hardly existent in modern day football. We went back the way we came and was back on the train home in half hour.
 
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall a good day out, I’d go again if we did play Crawley (cup or league), wish the atmosphere was a bit better but it’s still worth doing if you haven’t been and bring on Sheffield United at home in the next round!

Crawley Town v Oldham Athletic
League Two
Saturday, October 27th, 2012, 3pm
Ian Coop (Oldham Athletic fan)

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

Opportunity for a good day out on the train, a few beers and to take in a new ground as this was the first time Oldham have played Crawley.

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

Train from Manchester, tube across to Victoria then train to Crawley. Easy journey, although I was slightly behind schedule as the train from Manchester was 20 minutes late. On arriving at Crawley I got a bus to the ground which cost £2 and dropped me outside the stadium.

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

Didn’t have a beer in Crawley before the game other than a quick beer at the ground. Afterwards I went in the Half Moon which is about 5 mins walk back from the ground and heads in the direction of the town. There was about a 50/50 split of home and away fans with no trouble. Staff and bouncers were friendly.

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

Something for fans to be aware of – you have to buy a ticket from the ticket office – there are no signs telling you this – I walked up to the turnstiles and was told I had to get a ticket – It then took over 15 minutes to get a ticket as there were only 3 windows open and service was slow.

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

Scrappy game, 2 red cards and it finished a 1-1 draw. Atmosphere was lively, mainly due to the 350 travelling Oldham fans. However, there is a bar area which serves plastic bottles of beer and cider, with a covered roof – it is effectively just a corner of the ground and has breezeblock walls to prevent you being able to see the game. At half time I went to buy a couple of beers, but despite the fact this is a quite large standing area, the stewards only allow 60 people in – this caused lots of issues as many people had bought beer for friends who were not allowed in to drink them. One girl was told she could not come into the bar area as she was under 18.

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

Walked to the pub and then walked back in Crawley to get the train at 18:00 – it is about 20/25 mins walk to the station.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Always a good day out watching an Oldham awayday, but slightly frustrated about having to queue to get tickets and then the ridiculous capacity issue in the bar area, but overall a friendly enough place to visit.

Crawley Town v Northampton Town
League Two
Tuesday, April 17th, 2012, 7.45pm
Joe Ball (Northampton Town fan)

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

I was looking forward to it as the Cobblers only needed a point to secure safety which I thought we could possibly get away at Crawley. Also it was another ground that I had not visited before.

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

The journey down wasn't brilliant as the M25 was very busy (surprisingly!) so that added a bit of time onto our journey. However, once we got to Crawley the ground was very easy to find. Their seemed to be plenty of parking. There is a business park nearby which had plenty of parking spaces but we went on a little past the ground and there was lots of street parking. This meant it was easy to park up and it wasn't that far from the stadium.

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

We got to Crawley with about 45 minutes to kick off, so we went straight into the ground and had a drink and some food in there.

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

The ground looked pretty decent considering they have just come up from non-league. The away end wasn't that great as it was right in the corner and not really a great view. If they had opened up the rest of the stand we could of moved along to behind the goal which would of been much better. At one side of the ground they have a fairly large temporary stand which wasn't bad and standard terraces behind both goals. On the other side was a relatively new Main Stand which looked quite good.

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

We started off poorly and Crawley raced to a 3-0 lead. Jake Robinson had a a clear penalty chance waved away by the referee and which was possibly the worst refereeing performance I have seen for a long time. John Johnson then it the crossbar with a header. Into the second half and the Cobblers started much brighter and deservedly got a goal from Brett Williams after a low cross from Robinson. This gave the Cobblers some momentum and they piled on the pressure. Both Williams and Clarke Carlisle had shots blocked then Toni Silva rattled the crossbar after tearing through the Crawley defence. Williams again in the action hit the post, the third time Northampton hit the woodwork. Their was one last chance which fell to Nathaniel Wedderburn and his long range strike was superbly saved by Crawley's 'keeper. Once again this was a case of Northampton not taking their chances and having another poor referee.

The food seemed to be good, and fairly reasonably priced. Stewards were fine and didn't have much to do.

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

Very easy getting away from the ground, as their wasn't much traffic due to a low attendance. The M25 was much kinder on the way home meaning the journey was much quicker.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Disappointing result, and not a great view so I wouldn't be in a rush to go back but nevertheless it isn't the worst ground in the league.

Crawley Town v Stoke City
FA Cup 5th Round
Sunday, February 19th, 2012, 12 Noon
Philip Green (Stoke City fan)

I had the pleasure of going to the Broadfield Stadium on 19th February 2012, to see Stoke City versus Crawley Town in the FA Cup 5th Round. My motivations for going were a) I have family connections with Crawley, so wanted to go back and b) I hadn't seen Stoke from a terrace in 11 years, so had this romantic notion of it being a fun way of spending an afternoon.
 
I had an easy drive around the M25 from my home in Hertfordshire, arriving in Crawley for the midday(!) kickoff at 10.30am. After popping into Pease Pottage Services, I proceeded to the ground. I was glad I had remembered the clear instructions on the Football Ground Guide as I ignored the turning for Broadfield and went along the A23 instead - the signpost for the stadium was only visible after I had left the roundabout! About half a mile off the motorway, I found a sign for free matchday parking. This was in the Broadfield Business Park, and seeing as it was adjacent to the ground, it was an offer too good to miss. There was ample, off-road parking for those arriving early, and this was easy to get out from at the end of the day. Most other cars seemed to be parked on the wide verges, although this resulted in plenty of mud everywhere!
 
As I knew there was a pretty big Stoke following for the match, I decided to enter the stadium an hour before kick-off as I wanted to secure a place at the front of the terrace. Entering the ground at this stage was easy - there were no queues and security was pretty light touch. The queues at the small foodstall were also minimal. The staff behind the counter were really friendly, and dealt pleasantly with someone who kept sending his pies back because they weren't warm enough!. Pricing of drinks and pies was definitely not Premier League; I thought it looked pretty reasonable.
 
I was stood on the side of the pitch in what I thought was an excellent position. Shortly before the game, however, a senior steward moved us all off the walkway (clearly visible in the photos of the ground) "as we had to keep a thoroughfare." I can understand this, but it would have been nice to have been told it when I first settled there. During the game, some other Stoke fans were threatened with ejection if they didn't get back behind the barrier.
 
As the ground began to fill up, there was some pretty good banter between the two sets of fans, although (inevitably) the distance between the two bodies of supporters and relative lack of numbers was too great to make this quite as exciting as I would have hoped. I am sure that the proposed full-size East Stand will improve the atmosphere for big games.
 
The match itself had banana-skin written all over it from a Potters' perspective, and the home team put our goal under constant siege - curiously, Stoke elected to choose to defend the away end in the second half. Once Delap had been controversially sent off in the 16th minute, Stoke were galvanised and went on to win pretty comfortably. I don't think the ref, Mike Oliver, will be on either manager's Christmas card list, as he missed some absolute howlers from either team as the game went on (including a last-minute goal-line clearance with an elbow from a Stoke defender!). The Crawley fans were very appreciative of their team's efforts at the end of the game and there were still plenty of fans left in the ground when the last players had left the pitch. The home fans mingled well with the Potters as we all left the game and this was something we don't tend to get in the Premiership!
 
Getting away from the ground was a doddle - a five-minute walk back to the car and then back on the open road in another five minutes. I had a very easy drive back to Potters Bar, this time continuing around the M25 anti-clockwise, so I have done the whole motorway in one day!
 
Overall, it was a great day out. It was good to get so close to the action, and if the stadium can cope with a capacity crowd so easily, it should be very straightforward on days with fewer spectators. I imagine it will be a better atmosphere altogether when the East Stand is completed.

Crawley Town v Burton Albion
League Two
Saturday, December 10th, 2011, 3pm
Iain Ferguson (Burton Albion fan)

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

Burton were on a good run and with Crawley at the top of League, a good game was expected. Plus this would be a new ground for me to visit.

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

Set off about 10am and a easy enough trip down the motorway. Got there about half one and parked in a side street across the roundabout easy enough, with a short walk under the subway to the ground.

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

Went in the large bar at the ground behind the home end. Crawley fans and staff were friendly and both sets of supporters were in the bar with no trouble at all.

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

Ground only has three sides and apart from a seated Main Stand is nothing to write home about. Still has a "Conference" feel to it. Burton fans were only given one corner of terracing, though the of the view of pitch was okay.

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

The 200 or so Burton fans were in good voice with some entertaining banter between the subs and the 2 sets of fans. Crawley fans very quiet. Notable chants included "3 sides and a motorway" referring to Crawley as not a particularly notable town. Food was slightly overpriced for the below average fair on offer. Had a burger which was tasteless. Stewarding was petty and over the top. They looked in my girlfriends bag and asked her to take the top of her plastic coke bottle, then threw it on the floor!
 
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Left 5 minutes early as Burton were comprehensively beaten three nil and we were back on the motorway within minutes.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Disappointed with Burton's performance AGAINST arguably the best team in League Two this year and stewards put a slight dampener on a cold day out..

Crawley Town v Plymouth Argyle
League Two
Saturday, October 1st, 2011, 3pm
Myles Munsey (Neutral fan)

1. Reason for visit

Having a few weeks previously covered League Two newcomers AFC Wimbledon, it made perfect sense to visit their counterparts Crawley Town. It also meant 'completing the set' for the South of England.
 
2. Getting there

A straightforward train journey from Newbury to Crawley via Reading and Redhill. On arrival at Crawley the ground was dead easy to find; I simply studied the map on the website and sauntered down Brighton Road. After 15 minutes I was outside the ground my 'GPS postition' being verified by the giant concrete red and white football in the middle of the adjacent roundabout - no SatNav required!

 Football on traffic roundabout

 3.  Before the game

On one of the hottest October days on record, the last thing I wanted was beer, so I availed myself of a sandwich and a large bottle of soft drink at the local Marks and Spencers before embarking on the walk down to the stadium.
 
Beer drinking seemed a popular pastime when I arrived at the ground, but I did my usual thing of chatting to some of the locals and Plymouth fans. Unsurprisingly they had opposing views on League Two prospects. A brief look at the club shop (very small) and the programme stand for which the enterprising owner had made a big effort to stock with Argyle memorabilia.
 
4.  First impressions.

I got a very real sense of deja vue at Crawley. The ground aspect (wooded area on the edge of town), the club colours; two new towns in Southern England and similar sounding stadium names reminded me of a recent trip to Stevenage. The ground layout was very similar too. And each club has an outside bar. The pre-match build up had a nice relaxed feel to it. 
 
5. The game

I viewed the game from the East Terrace and by chance stood next to a 92 club member complete with clipboard and do-it-yourself 'stats' sheet. He jotted down hot and sunny. It definitely was! It turned out he lived at a village about 8 miles from where I reside. Amazing!
 
The game itself was a bit of a 'curate's egg' -good in parts. The heat undoubtedly was a factor. After 32 minutes the referee stopped play for an officially sanctioned drinks break. I've never seen that before!
 
There was good football played by both sides when the ball was on the deck. It was in the air too much for my liking. Crawley won 2-0 both goals scored by Matt Tubbs on four minutes and again on the hour. Plymouth tried very hard for a side at the wrong end of the table.  They were backed all the way by 800 travelling supporters who made the long trip from Devon. I was impressed by their lively West Country banter and their all-round good humour - exactly what the game needs. They made all the noise. A credit to the club.
 
I don't like negative reporting but I feel I must mention that in contrast I overhead some distasteful comments about Plymouth players only being good enough for a pay cut. In light of the fact that player payments have been a touchy subject of late at PAFC this crass attempt at a joke was thankfully ignored.
 
6. Getting away

This was a gentle stroll back to the station to make the 17.29 train with ease.
 
7. Overall

A modern stadium certainly, and I found it bright and cheerful and in a pleasant location. It was a joy to be on the terrace with plenty of room, good sight lines and no obstructions to marr the view. The stewards were friendly.
 
A relaxed and enjoyable day. A visit to Crawley is encouraged to see a side that is now firmly on the football map. I was at a loss to understand why the atmosphere on the terraces was so subdued. Must have been the heat. 

Crawley Town v AFC Wimbledon
League Cup Preliminary Round
Friday, July 29th, 2011, 7.45pm
Martyn Stimson (92 Club Member)

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

As a member of the 92 Club I always look out for the fixtures of the teams that have either come up or moved to a new ground.  When I discovered that one of my new grounds for this season was achievable in the League Cup a week before the start of the season I couldn’t resist it.  It was also a chance to do the ground without clashing with a Colchester game.  There were three of us in our group but there was also an official 92 Club meet before the match.

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

Working about an hour out of London, on the wrong side of London for Crawley, I decided to finish work early (it was a Friday after all) and take the train. It would be tight to get back by train that night so arranged to stay with a friend in London who was also coming along.  Trains ran well and we shared a carriage from London Bridge to Crawley with some friendly but drunk Wimbledon fans, excited at a return to the league after their 9 year absence.

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

Being a bit tight for time we grabbed food at London Bridge station and ate on the train.  On arriving at Crawley we headed to the nearest Good Beer Guide pub which was The Swan on Horsham Road.  There was a choice of ales on and the staff and locals were friendly.  We sat in the beer garden with some other 92 Club members before organising taxis amongst us to take us to the ground.  It would probably have taken about 30 minutes to walk but the taxi allowed us that extra 20 minutes in the pub. 

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

It’s a tidy little ground and Wimbledon had packed the terraced behind the far goal. There was a large main stand to the left as you enter, to the right there was covered terracing that continued around the corner and behind the goal.  The opposite side was open terracing but only about six feet deep. The stands are close to the pitch ensuring a close up view of the action nearest you.  It was a dry evening so we decided to walk around to the open terracing on the far side for the first half and then swap sides for the second half – not many ground left where that’s possible anymore.

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

The game itself provided an exciting and attacking display of football from both sides.  It was an entertaining game with plenty of action and five goals.  Crawley were the better side on the night and ran out 3-2 winners.  Both sides should finish top half and Crawley will most likely be in the promotion hunt come the end of the season.

There was a reasonable atmosphere and the rivalry and close proximity between the two clubs ensured and good turn out from both sets of fans with the travelling Wombles behind the goal vocal throughout the game. 

Didn’t really notice the stewards (a good sign perhaps).  The refreshments were better than the usual football ground dross and better priced than a lot of grounds but it was still nothing to rave about.  The toilets were perfectly adequate.

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

We managed to get a lift back to Crawley station with a Crawley fan I used to work with and were able to get a train back to London in good time.  It would’ve been a push to make the same train on foot having stayed at the ground to the end but it would’ve been possible.  As it was we were back in Barnes in plenty of time for a few beers before closing time.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The ground itself is not a bad set up for an up and I’m a fan of having terracing behind the goals.  It is quite a hike from the station and there aren’t many recommended ale pubs in the town but the ground does apparently have its own supporters’ bar.  It was an entertaining game of football from two sides that are easily equipped to stay up this season and will probably be looking to finish at least top half.

Updated 26th August 2015

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