West Bromwich Albion

The Hawthorns

Capacity: 26,500 (all seated)
Address: Halfords Lane, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 4LF
Telephone: 0871 271 1100
Fax: 0871 271 9861
Ticket Office: 0121 227 2227
Pitch Size: 115 x 74 yards
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Baggies
Year Ground Opened: 1900
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Shirt Sponsors: PALM
Kit Manufacturer: Adidas
Home Kit: White and Navy
Away Kit: White and Red

External View
External View
Looking Towards The Brummie Road End
Looking Towards The Brummie Road End
East Stand
East Stand
Halfords Lane Stand
Halfords Lane Stand
Birmingham Road End
Birmingham Road End
Smethwick End
Smethwick End
The Hawthorns West Bromwich Albion FC
Jeff Astle Gates
Jeff Astle Gates
Tony "Bomber" Brown Statue
Hawthorns West Brom Tour

East Stand External ViewWith the completion of the East Stand in 2001, the Club achieved its objective in completely re-building the Hawthorns and making it a modern stadium. Not only has the ground received a much needed face lift, but it is now totally enclosed and all seated. The East Stand is an impressive, large single tiered stand, which has been well integrated with the rest of the ground. It has a row of executive boxes running along the back, and to each side of the stand the previous open corners have been filled with corrugated sheeting. There is a thin supporting pillar on each side of the stand to support the corner structures. On the other side is the smaller Halfords Lane Stand. This stand which was opened in 1982 stretches around two corners of the ground. The home end, the Birmingham Road Stand is large, covered, and quite steep. At the other end away fans are housed in the Smethwick End. Both these ends were built in 1994/95. Two new video screens have been installed in opposite corners of the ground, one at the Smethwick End side of the East Stand and the other in the opposite corner of the Halfords Lane Stand.

An interesting feature of the ground is that in one corner of the ground (between the East Stand  & Birmingham Road End) you will notice perched up on a wall, a large Throstle standing on a football. This has been kept over from the previous stand (it used to sit above the clock on the half time scoreboard) and maintains the links with tradition. Outside the ground on the same corner are the 'Jeff Astle Memorial Gates' erected in tribute to the legendary striker. Whilst just beyond the East Stand Car Park is a Memorial Garden. 

One strange fact about the Hawthorns is that it is the highest ground in England (in terms of feet above sea level).

The Club are believed to be drawing up plans to expand the capacity of the Hawthorns to over 30,000 by either redeveloping or adding an additional tier to the Halfords Lane Stand.

Smethwick End External ViewAway fans are housed on one side of the Smethwick End, where the normal allocation is 3,000 seats. This means that this stand is shared with home supporters. For cup games, the whole of this stand can be allocated to away supporters, raising this figure to 5,200. The facilities and the view of the pitch in the Smethwick End are okay, although the leg room is a little cramped. I have been to the Hawthorns on a number of occasions and have always found it to be a fairly friendly place. The only thing against it, in terms of a day out is the lack of nearby pub for away fans, meaning that most elect to drink inside the ground instead. Considering that the concourse at the back of the Smethwick End is pretty small in comparison to its overall capacity, then it can have uncomfortable feel, especially when there is a capacity away support. Strangely I noticed that fans were not allowed to bring in take away food from the nearby McDonalds. Food available on the concourse includes; Cheeseburgers (£3.70), Burgers (£3.50), a range of Pukka Pies; Chicken Balti, Chicken & Mushroom, Cheese & Onion, Steak & Kidney (All £3.30), Sausage Rolls (£3.30) and Pasties (£3.30).

There is a Club 'Fan Zone' located just across the road from the Stadium on the corner of Halfords Lane and Birmingham Road. This area has live music entertainment, a large screen showing the early kick off, plus food and alcoholic drinks are available. Currently this is free to enter and away fans are welcome (although there may be an exception to this when it comes to Wolves and Villa fans!).

Greg Whitaker adds; 'I've been to the Hawthorns twice as an away fan and had a similar problem on both occasions. There is a huge metal gate, outside the stadium, next to the away fan section. On my first visit, this was closed before the game, meaning we had to walk in a big loop through a load of residential streets to get round to the other side of the gate.  On my most recent visit, the gate was closed after the game. There are no signs to give you directions and, with it being an evening game, I ended up wandering deserted streets in the dark trying to find my way back to Rolfe Street station'. 

Look out for the West Brom Mascot called 'Baggie Bird', who does a good job of entertaining the away fans before the game. This even involves going in goal and challenging players to take a shot!

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The Vine Pub HawthornsThe main pub for away fans is 'The Vine' (pictured right) which is about a 15-20 minute walk from the ground. From Junction 1 of the M5 turn left towards West Bromwich town centre (opposite direction to the ground). Take the first left into Roebuck Street. The Vine is down on the left. You can also street park in this area and then walk to the ground. This pub also offers Indian food and has an indoor tandoori barbeque (from 1pm on Saturdays), plus has a beer garden with children's play area. Barbara Osborne a visiting Newcastle United fan adds; 'The Vine from the outside looked like any small corner boozer, but inside it was quite large and it was fairly easy to get served. It had a good mix of home and away fans.' Matt Wharton informs me; 'The Vine is only a few minutes walk away from Kenrick Park Metro station which can be accessed from Birmingham Snow Hill railway/metro station. Turn right out of the station and walk along Devereux Road passing through a residential area. At the end of Devereux Road turn left and the The Vine is just over the other side of the road on the right'.

Dave Wilson recommends; 'The Park Hotel which is just off junction one of the M5 and a 10 minute walk to the ground. You can park on their car park for £5 and away fans are always welcome. There are plenty of families who meet in here before games and it is a very safe environment. There is also plenty of street parking in and around the area of the hotel if you don't want to pay the £5.' 

Sean Mowat a visiting Sheffield United supporter adds; 'As you pass the ground on the right on the main Birmingham Road. Carry on about another half a mile and there is a pub on the right set back off the road called the Royal Oak. We've been in the last two times we've visited WBA. The beer is okay and they also serve Asian food (try the chicken kebabs!). It had a friendly atmosphere'. It also has the added benefit of showing televised football.

If travelling by Metro or train from Birmingham Snow Hill and you like your real ale, then it may be a good idea to stop off on the way to the Hawthorns at the Jewellery Quarter station. Within a 10 minute walk of the station are at least three pubs serving decent real ale. These are the Rose Villa Tavern, Red Lion and Lord Clifden. The Red Lion and Lord Clifden are both listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide, whilst the Brown Lion has recently opened and is effectively the brewery tap for the local Two Towers Brewery. See the Google map below for their locations (this will require you to use the arrows to move the map down and then to the to show the Jewellery Quarter and pubs).

Alcohol is also available within the ground, albeit in plastic bottles/cans, in the form of Carlsberg (£3.70), Tetleys (£3.70), Bathams Bitter (£3.80) and Somerset Cider (£3.70), plus Red and White wine (£3.90) and various Spirit Miniatures (all at £4.20).

The Hawthorns is located on the A41 (Birmingham-West Bromwich Road). If approaching from outside the area the ground is about half a mile from Junction 1 of the M5. On leaving the M5 take the A41 towards Birmingham, the ground is on your right. Beware though of speed cameras on this stretch of the A41.

Car Parking

Street parking or alternatively there are a few private matchday car parks at some local industrial units near the ground, or at Hawthorns station which costs £4. David Dougal a visiting Sunderland fan informs me; 'I parked at the Beeches Road Methodist Church (B70 6QE) at a cost of £5. It is covered by CCTV and is about a ten minute walk away from the Hawthorns. It was easy to get back on the M5 from the car park once the match is over.'  Just around the corner from the Vine pub on Roebuck Lane is a St John's Ambulance Depot that offers matchday parking for £3. There is also the option of renting a private driveway near the Hawthorns Stadium via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.

Post Code for SAT NAV: B71 4LF

The Hawthorns has its own Railway and Metro Station which are about a five minute walk from the Hawthorns ground. They can be reached from Birmingham New Street, either by first taking a train to Smethwick Galton Bridge and changing there for the Hawthorns, or by taking a Metro Tram (which run every eight minutes on Saturday afternoons) from directly outside New Street Station. Total journey time by train is around 20-25 minutes, whilst the Metro is around 13 minutes.

Alternatively the Hawthorns Station is also served by direct trains from Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill. The Metro Line also runs via Birmingham Snow Hill.

Please note though that rail tickets to the Hawthorns are not valid on the Metro line. A separate Metro journey ticket will need to be purchased..A one day saver ticket can be purchased for £5 (per Adult ticket), which covers the journey to the Hawthorns and back from either New Street or Snow Hill.

Travelling Down From The North West?

Matt Wharton informs me; 'If you are travelling down from the North West and your train calls at Wolverhampton, Then it is a lot easier to get to Hawthorns using the Midland Metro from Wolverhampton. The tram leaves from Bilston Street. You can either off at the Kenrick Park stop for the Vine pub or the Hawthorns for stadium. Continuing by train from Wolverhampton into Birmingham New Street and then taking wither a train or Metro back out to the Hawthorns will add 45 minutes to one hour to your journey time.'

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

Common with most Clubs, West Bromwich Albion operate a category system (A & B) for matches whereby tickets cost more for the most popular matches.

Home Fans
Category A Matches:
Adults £39 Over 60's £29 Students/Under 23's £25 Under 17's £15

Category B Matches:
Adults £25, Over 60's £20, Students/Under 23's £15, Under 17's £10

Away Fans
As per an agreement with all Premier League Clubs, away fans will be charged a maximum price of those shown below for all Category A League games:

Adults £30
Over 60's £20
Students/Under 23's £20
Under 17's £15

Category B games: as per home fans ticket prices as above.

Category A Matches
Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur.

Official Programme £3.50

West Bromwich Albion FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website).

Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Aston Villa.

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website. You may also wish to check out the West Brom Disabled Supporters Club website.

Record Attendance

64,815 v Arsenal FA Cup 6th Round, March 6th, 1937.

Modern All Seated Attendance Record

27,751 v Portsmouth Premier League, May 15th, 2005.

Average Attendance

2016-2017: 23,876 (Premier League)
2015-2016: 24,631 (Premier League)
2014-2015: 25,064 (Premier League)

If you require hotel accommodation in the local or Birmingham area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Booking.com. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will help towards the running costs of keeping this Guide going. 

Access their Birmingham Hotels 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, at home or abroad.

Booking.com Booking.com

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgroundguide.com and I'll update the guide.

Special thanks to:

Owen Pavey for providing the ground layout diagram 

Haydn Gleed for providing the YouTube video of the Hawthorns. The Hawthorns West Bromwich Albion Tour video was produced by IT10 Soccer and made publicly available via YouTube.

West Bromwich Albion v Watford
Premier League
Saturday 30th September 2017, 3pm
Dave (Watford fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Hawthorns Ground?
Another away day with the Hornets! Watford had been in fine form this season on the road and was hoping for another good result at the Hawthorns.
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
I took the train from London Euston to Birmingham New Street. The journey time was one hour 25 minutes. I then changed at New Street for the London Midland service to Smethwick Galton Bridge, and then took the Midland from there one stop to The Hawthorns. A straightforward journey, and I was there in just under two hours.
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
I visited the fan park before the game and went to the renowned Greggs Bakery. There were long queues but it was decently priced food and this was better and cheaper than relying on grub on offer inside the stadium. The fan park was lively and the lunchtime game was being shown on a big screen. Home and away fans were mingling nicely and there was nothing untoward. Once the away supporters gates opened I went into the ground and grabbed a Carling beer and then made my way to my seat.
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Hawthorns Stadium?
This was my second visit to the Hawthorns and the stadium is nice. The away end is decent and the views were brilliant. The limited leg room wasn't really an issue as we were allowed to stand for the whole game.
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
The West Brom fans were in fine voice throughout and really got behind their team- their singing section is right by the away end and the atmosphere was rocking- until West Brom raced into a 2-0 lead. We pulled one back before half time and it was all Watford in the second half. We got our reward in the 90 (+5) minute as we equalised from a set piece. Cue pandemonium in the away end and some unsavoury scenes between us and the Baggies fans who had generally behaved themselves throughout.
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Due to some of the scenes mentioned above, certain blocks in the away end were directed straight to the train station and the gate that leads fans to Halfords Lane was closed to avoid further scuffles. I had a later train and so waited for some of our players to get pictures and then made my way back to New Street. I was back home by 10pm.
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
It was a brilliant away day at the Hawthorns and one I will do again due to the cheap transport cost and matchday ticket price.

West Bromwich Albion v AFC Bournemouth
Premier League
Saturday 12th August 2017, 3pm
Paul Sheppard (AFC Bournemouth fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Hawthorns?
It was the first match of the season. The weather was decent weather and I felt we could get something out of the game. I was looking forward to seeing our new signings Begovic, Ake and Jermain Defoe playing for us again. (although Defoe didn't start). I was also looking forward to having a curry at the Vine Pub near the Hawthorns ground.
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
I had previously been to the Hawthorns a couple of seasons again and decided to head for the Vine pub beforehand and park around there. Although this time I couldn't get parked as close to the pub or ground as before. Roadworks on the M5/M6 meant a normal  90 minute journey took over two hours.
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
I went into the Vine pub, but unfortunately, they were not serving curry by the time we arrived and just had the barbecue going, which as a non meat eater meant I had to have chips and naan bread for lunch with a couple of pints.
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Hawthorns?
It was the same as last time. A decent view in a decent ground. As we were about half way up the view was excellent. The Baggies fans were friendly as usual.
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
Awful. Once Hegazi scored for West Brom from a set piece the home side just shut up shop. We huffed and puffed but mainly in a sideways fashion and never really looked like scoring. I felt sorry for Baggies fans if they have to watch this on a regular basis.I don't mind losing as much if I have been at least entertained.
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
As mentioned in the summary of the Hawthorns ground on this website there is a gate outside the away end and this is kept locked for at least ten minutes after the match. We were about to find the long way round but just as we were mulling it over the gates opened. Walked the 10-15 minute back to near the pub and then traffic heavy until we got to the M6 but then straightforward back north to Manchester (where I live as an exiled Cherry).
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
In a word 'disappointing'. Getting held up in roadworks on the way to the game, couldn't get a curry in the pub and then had to watch a match that got worse as it went on with very little entertainment on offer. Home fans and stewards always friendly at the Hawthorns though: I'm just glad Pulis doesn't manage us anymore.

West Bromwich Albion v Peterborough United
FA Cup 4th Round
Saturday 30th January 2016, 3pm
Darren Gilbert (Peterborough United fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Hawthorns Football Ground?    

As a Posh fan i was looking forward to this game as we don't go to many Premier League grounds or get to the FA fourth round too often!

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

Our journey was very easy. The Hawthorns is located just off Junction 1 on the M5. We found a St Johns ambulance depot that was offering car parking, which was about a ten minute walk away from the ground. It was just around the corner from the Vine pub and cost £3.

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

We popped into the Vine pub which welcomed away fans. Inside both home and visiting supporters mixed freely. The home fans who all seemed friendly. The pub was excellent and even offered an indoor BBQ and selection of curries!

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

The Hawthorns ground and surrounding training academy is excellent. Inside the away end there were plenty of food and drink outlets.  The only grumble was the leg room when seated. I am 6'4" so it was cramped!

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

The game itself was a belter and ended with the Posh getting a 2 2 draw the atmosphere was fantastic.Stewarding and policing seemed fine on the whole.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting out was easy a ten minute walk to the car and home by 6 30pm.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall I would describe my day as a 'proper' away day; great pub, great ground and a good result for the posh in a superb atmosphere!

West Bromwich Albion v Bristol City 
FA Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 9th January 2016, 3pm
Steve (Bristol City fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Hawthorns Football Ground?

The Hawthorns was a ground that I had not been to before. Plus it is great in the FA Cup to watch your team pit their wits against those from higher or lower leagues, depending on the draw. In our case we were up against a Premiership side.

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

The Hawthorns is very easy to find as it is literally just off Junction 1 of the M5. We parked at Beeches Road Methodist church (B70 6QE) as recommended by another contributor to this website. It is easy to locate, off the main roundabout at Junction 1 and then right onto Beeches Road. The staff there are very friendly and the parking is secure with cctv. It cost £5 to park there. The ground was then about a 15 minute walk away. 

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

We went to The Vine Pub for drinks before the game. I'ts about a 10 minute walk to the ground from there. There is a good mix of home and away fans, a good selection of lagers but minimal cider. The West Brom fans were very friendly here, we had a good chat with a couple of fans next to us. The pub looks very small from outside but is surprisingly big inside. There is even a BBQ / Kebab room!

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

The ground was smaller than I expected. But it was well maintained and alsthough compact it was enclosed. 

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

I would recommend (if a large away following) to eat and drink before entering the stadium as there are only a couple of food and drink servers either side of the gangway. The queue for this was horrendous. I spent the best part of 45 minutes waiting (it didn't help that a number of people pushed in) and then when eventually I got to the front I found that they'd sold out of what I wanted!

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

The methodist church is in a great location for leaving the game. Once you've walked back (10 to 15 mins) it's 100 yards and 1 roundabout away from the motorway. Very easy access. 

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It's a nice ground, easy to get to and easy to get away from. The fans are friendly the staff are friendly and the prices are very reasonable, especially the ticket price, only £10 per ticket (for FA cup) which I'm sure was a major contribution to a 5500 away following. Other clubs should take note.

West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland
Premier League
Saturday 17th October 2015, 3pm
David Dougal (Sunderland fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Hawthorns Football Ground?

I go to all away games but as this was "Big Sams" first game in charge of Sunderland, it was one that I was very much looking forward to.

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

Easy. I have been many a time before. I parked in the Beeches Road Methodist Church Car Park, which is just off Junction 1 of the M5. It cost £5 and all the money goes to the church. The two car park attendants were a a laugh and your car is safe there, as they have CCTV cameras in operation 24/7. It's then about a ten minute walk to the Hawthorns ground.

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

I went on my own and visited the new fans zone located next to the Hawthorns. The West Brom fans I met and talked to were friendly, I watched the Spurs v Liverpool match on the big screen there. Then I made my way into the ground.

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

As I said I have been here a few times before. It's a nice enclosed ground, a lot smaller than the Stadium of Light but nice all the same.

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

I was disappointed with the result as West Brom won 1-0, but there were some positives for Sunderland from the game. I bought a cheese burger and a bovril for about £6. Stewards were a canny bunch.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As always after the game, the Police seal off the exit onto Halford Lane, meaning that in my case having parked by the M5, that I had to walk around the entire outside of the ground to get back towards where I was parked which took about 25 minutes. It took me five minutes to get back on the M5. 

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Good day out apart from the result. West Bromwich Albion is one of the better grounds to visit and no bother for single travelers or families.

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea
Premier League
Monday 18th May 2015, 8pm
Kevin Gallagher (Neutral fan)

Why you were looking forward to going to the Hawthorns ground?
It was a visit to a new ground - Father and son on an overnight trip from Scotland.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
Very easy to locate ground by train. We took a London Midland train from Birmingham Moor Street to The Hawthorns. The ground is in full view when you reach station and is only a five minute walk away.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
There is a McDonalds on Birmingham Road End straight across from the ground which is ideal for families visiting The Hawthorns. Very busy as you can imagine but service is swift. The away team bus arrives at Halfords Lane and offers a decent view of arriving players for young fans.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?
The Hawthorns is an impressive ground with three imposing stands towering above the smaller West Stand. We were in the East Stand near the away section. It was ideal for watching the game and taking in the atmosphere. The ground is fully enclosed which is another positive feature.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    
Chelsea arrived as Premier League Champions and West Brom's Premier League status had already been secured, so there wasn't much for either side to play for. However, as end of season encounters go this was a very entertaining game. Both sets of fans were in good spirits which made for a lively atmosphere especially the Chelsea fans who sang and chanted throughout. Toilet facilities were good and keeping in line with other Premiership grounds the water is warm for washing your hands.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
We were in the East Stand which meant after the game we had to walk all the way round the ground into to get back to train/metro station so if you are looking for a quick get away towards the station then the West Stand or the Smethwick End Stand would be advisable.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Very enjoyable match day experience. Hassle free by train. If the chance arose I would certainly make another visit to The Hawthorns.

West Bromwich Albion v Aston Villa
Premier League
Monday November 25th 2013, 8pm
John Rogers (Neutral fan)

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

Changes to the areas in which I work are providing opportunities to tick off a few grounds around the country whilst away on business. Completing the 92 is a secret ambition but I suspect I'm more likely to be aged 92 before I join that exclusive club. 

The Hawthorns was a ground I last visited in 1979, so I was interested to see whether there was anything to remind me of my last visit. A free ticket came courtesy of a work colleague, who was supporting Albion.

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

As a passenger in a car driven by a 'native' of West Bromwich, finding the ground was straight forward. The Hawthorns is situated right next to the M5. The big draw back to the motorway proximity is the awful congestion around the Birmingham area and the ubiquitous road works. The recommendation would be to allow plenty of time for the journey if travelling by road.

The Park Inn, a hotel just off the A41, is a ten minute walk from the ground and is a safe place to park the car. It cost £5 and registration numbers are recorded at reception.

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

The Park Inn - welcoming; extensive bar area and no trouble.

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

The Hawthorns is quite small but has a modern appearance. Unfortunately there was insufficient time to wander round the ground before kick-off. We were seated in the Halfords Lane stand, opposite the big Rainbow East stand seen on tv. Away fans shared the segregated Smethwick End.

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

As a Leeds supporter I am generally disappointed by the atmosphere generated by the home support at other grounds, which is often drowned out by Leeds fans' efforts. This occasion was very much an exception, no doubt partly because it was a west Midlands derby - the West Brom and Villa fans were at it from the first minute to the last, with an inventive and vociferous repartee.

Albion got off to a great start, with two quality Shane Long goals, but Villa were allowed back into the game and equalised with a screamer from Ashley Westwood. Cue mass hysteria among the claret and blue army. 

The stewards had little to do in the stand I was in, where I think it was fair to say most of the supporters were of a more mature profile. 

Refreshments were not sampled, but the big minus for the Halfords Lane Stand was the woefully inadequate leg room - not a problem if under 5' 6" or a contortionist; otherwise very uncomfortable.

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

Exiting the ground was easy, but knowing that the traffic would be horrendous we returned to the bar at the Park Inn for a couple of drinks.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It's never the same going to a game that doesn't involve your own team, but this was a good way to spend an evening away from home. The main memories of the evening will be the fantastic atmosphere and the home fans' rendition of 'Popov the Albion Man', to the tune of 'Popeye the Sailor Man'.

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea
Premier League
Saturday November 17th 2012, 3pm
Joe Fowler (Chelsea fan)

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

I always enjoy a trip to West Brom. Nice stadium, good team, and friendly supporters. Plus, relatively cheap tickets.

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

Me and my mate got a train into Birmingham, then walked through the city (stopping for food at McDonalds) before getting on the metro to The Hawthorns. The walk took about 10 minutes, but it would have been longer if a fellow blue hadn’t of pointed us in the right direction! 

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

We asked a couple of home fans where a good pub was with a T.V (so we could watch Arsenal destroy Spurs). We were told of an away friendly pub, so we followed them there. We got there to find that half of the furniture was broken/damaged, and that there was one tiny T.V. We left straight away. We then found a pub called the Royal Oak, which was on the main road. We managed to get a couple of seats, and sat down with some drinks and watched the match. There was a good mix if home and away supporters, and plenty of chanting. The bloke next to us had a lovely mixed grill, which smelled heavenly! We then headed to the ground, placing a cheeky bet en route. 

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

We got to our seats just before kick off. Very good seats too. The away end is good, with a large concourse, and good views of the pitch. The rest of the ground is really tidy. There is a giant stand to your right, and a really small stand to your left. This gives the stadium a uniqueness that you don’t get at a lot of modern day stadia (City, Arsenal etc..).

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

The game itself wasn’t a classic. They took an early lead through Shane Long, but we equalised just before half time through Hazard. Spent the entire half time break queuing up for a beer. They were serving all sorts, but I stuck to Carlsberg (£3.20). Just as we were exiting the concourse, we heard a giant cheer. We polished off our drinks, and ran up the stairs to see the West Brom fans celebrating. Odemwingie had just put them 2-1 up. For the rest of the game, we dominated, with Sturridge missing chance after chance. Stewards were laid back, and I saw no trouble. We were stood for the full match, and received no hassle for it. West Brom fans were okay. Loud after their goals, but silent throughout the rest of the match.

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

We left the stadium, and took one of the most long winded detours of my life. We had to walk around the entire stadium, to avoid clashing with home fans. This took at least 10 minutes. Got to the station, and jumped aboard an over-crowded metro train back to Birmingham station. Had a quick drink, then got on the train home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I found it to be a great day out, definitely one of the best this season. All pubs are away friendly, and not overly pricey! West Brom are a really good team and I wish them the best for the rest of the season. Would love to get them in the cup (away), but if not, I will just have to wait until next season to come back!

West Bromwich Albion v Blackburn Rovers
Premier League
Saturday April 7th 2012, 3pm
Robert Bury (Blackburn Rovers fan)

Being the second trip I had ever made to The Hawthorns and previously enjoying the first trip a few years back I was looking forward to a tightly contested match and maybe.. just maybe 3 points to help in Rovers relegation battle. Instead of going with my mates though as done previously this trip would be with my two brothers.

The journey for me and my brothers was made by car straight down the M6, jumping on to the M5 for a short stint to Junction 1 where on exiting the motorway the ground becomes clearly signposted and then becomes visible within minutes of leaving the motorway. All in all a very easy trip from Lancashire, the only bit then was a bit of tactical parking trying to find a spot we could quickly escape from after the game. We decided to drive just past the stadium and park down a side street but there are many car parks directly around the stadium charging the usual fees of £5 etc.

Before the game we needed to firstly purchase our tickets from the away end ticket office which is just beside the away turnstiles as we had only decided to come down to the game the night before! Once we had done this we saw no point in trying to find a pub so entered the stadium for a pie and beer… or two. 

The stadium itself is a mismatch of different shaped stands but which try to retain the same style and doesn’t look too shabby considering. Inside it is completely enclosed in all corners even if these corners are not filled with seating. The away end has ample room even though we stood for most of the game. An interesting look about the away end is that it seems to curve upwards rather than go straight up like most stands, this leads to a good feeling when you are stood at the back as you can better see and feel the entire atmosphere in front of you. 

The beers were what you would expect at most grounds serving plastic bottles of beer and cider and the pies although tasted good but fell apart very easily, I even remember one of my brothers dropping most of his on the floor. The toilets are quite small but for our following that day were not a problem, although I could see a bit of queuing with some pushing and shoving should a bigger team with more of a following visit. The stewards are one part of the day on both occasions that has let The Hawthorns down, this may be because the Blackburn fans can sometimes get rowdy but mainly a bit of over the top stewarding. This is seen on my first visit were the stewards closed in on the Rovers supporters and (in some cases) actually pushed them out the door. I do think this kind of strict stewarding creates more problems than it solves, usually resulting in the away supporters becoming restless. 

The game itself started and West Brom quickly took charge dictating the tempo of the game, we knew we would be in for a long game and this was confirmed as West Brom took the lead to go 1-0 up. This was the case for most of the first half and Rovers didn’t seem to be able to get a foothold in the game going in still 1-0 down at half time. After the break we started very brightly and things were looking up with us testing the West Brom keeper on several occasions before disaster struck and West Brom pounced on the break to nick a second. This was later followed by a third and a Rovers sending off to compact a miserable display from Rovers, all in all not the best of games and a big nail in our Premier League coffin.

We left 5 minutes early due to a pathetic Rovers display and thinking it would be best to get away before the heavy traffic hit. Even though we did this the traffic outside the stadium was still fairly busy and I know from my previous experience that it can be very slow getting back to the motorway. Once we got there though it was plain sailing all the way back home thankfully with no motorway hold ups.

Overall not the best day out due to the result but I would definitely go again should the opportunity arise. There is something more appealing to me about older mis-matched stadiums that have a real feeling of history about them rather than many of the soulless new concrete bowls being built these days.

West Bromwich Albion v Norwich City
Premier League & FA Cup 4th Round Saturday 14th & Saturday 28th January 2012, 3pm
Mark Knowles  (Norwich City fan)

Due to the luck of the FA Cup draw, Norwich had ended up with two trips to the Hawthorns in the space of a fortnight – in both cases we made the trip feeling pretty positive about our prospects of a win. The fact that West Brom is one of the easier away journeys from Norwich (though still a 300 mile round trip!) also meant that there was a big away following. 

In terms of navigation, if you can fall off a log, you can probably manage to find your way to the Hawthorns. Once we came off the M5 there were plenty of options for parking – on our first visit for the league game we paid £4 to park in one of the industrial estate car parks; when we returned two weeks later in the FA cup we had more time so street parked for free a little further away from the ground. 

As recommended in the guide, we headed to the Vine on Roebuck Lane for lunch and a pre-match drink. The place is a real Tardis – poky boozer front room, then an atrium bit, then a formica-tabled back room with barbecue and finally a large covered patio out the back. It was absolutely packed with a good friendly mix of home and away fans and several TVs to watch the early kick-off. They had a couple of quaffable local ales too, if fizzy lager isn’t your thing.  The choice of food was particularly massive and deserves a mention– a normal pub menu and a blackboard full of curry specialities from the main kitchen, plus a kiosk in the back room doing pies, burgers and chips, then a separate barbecue kitchen with reasonably priced chicken tikka, naans and so on.

The ground itself is smart and modern, and the Astle gates add a touch of class for anyone who appreciates football from before the Premier League era. Entering the ground was quick and easy, with the barcode scanning turnstiles working well, although searches of away fans seemed to be routine. Once inside, the concourse is clean but a little small for the size of the stand.There were lots of TV screens scattered about inside.  Our seats had decent leg room and a good view of the pitch, although on our second visit the jumbo screen to our right was partially obscured by a girder.

Football-wise, the league and the cup game followed a similar pattern, with Norwich scoring late to run out 2-1 winners on both occasions. It must have been a bit of a Groundhog Day feeling for the Baggies fans!   During the league game, the noisiest section of home fans seemed to be in the same stand as us (to the left of the away fans), and managed to engage in a bit of banter. However, as the entire stand was given over to away fans for the cup game, this unfortunately meant these fans were displaced. As a result the atmosphere suffered, with no “core” to the home support – with 3000 loud away fans, it actually felt more like a home game in terms of atmosphere. Stewards were very hands-off and didn’t seem worried about standing.

At half time the queues for refreshments were pretty long, with only four kiosks serving the whole stand as far as I could see. For some reason they had post-office style security screens, which seemed unnecessary, and just meant you had to shout to get your order heard. The toilets were clean and spacious though, very good indeed for a football ground.

After the league game, the large gate separating home and away sides at the rear of the stand was closed, so away fans had to make a long trek down a path to the south-east of the stadium and onto Middlemore Road. This is fine if you’re travelling on the away coaches or returning to the station, but as we were heading back to our car near the M5 it added half a mile or more to our walk. Thankfully for the cup game we had the whole stand so were able to exit straight onto Halfords Lane. Once back at the car the queuing was not too bad and we were on the M5 quickly.

Obviously the fact we won both games helped, but overall we very much enjoyed our visits to the Hawthorns. The fact the ground is so easy to get to (and from) makes a real difference, so this is definitely a trip we’d be happy to make again.

West Bromwich Albion v Blackpool
Premier League
Saturday 15th January 2011, 3pm
Sean O'Neil  (Blackpool fan)

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

This was a game that the fans were waiting for. Having already beaten West Brom earlier in the season this was a chance for our second premiership double in a week. Also, proper fans!

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

Easy to get to and we parked in the 1st car park on the left as you leave the motorway.

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

First stop, pub! We walked past the ground and whilst the kids got a McDonalds we found a pub just up past Morrisons about  a five minute walk past the stadium. It was a bit of a dump, but it was friendly with mainly tangerines inside...the Guinness was good!

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

The ground looks really good, a traditional looking ground. I hate the soul less bowls we sometimes have to endure.

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

Now.. the game was a gem! We lost 3-2 in a game that could have been 9-9. Both sides went for it big time and entertained a near as dam it full house.  The atmosphere was fantastic, both sets of fans creating plenty of noise that the game deserved.

One gripe though...the stewards! The worst I have encountered in the Premier League so far and seemed to take great delight in removing people for standing!  I have no problems with sitting down but please set the same rules for fans 15 feet away! A shame really because everything else was just about perfect. So a word of caution....stay sat down even if you are only 13 years of age.

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

No probs...straight out and home in 2 hours

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out

Top day out, its rather good be a travelling tangerine at the moment!

Why not write your own review of the Hawthorns and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 9th January 2018

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