took the train to Mansfield, going
from St. Pancras to Nottingham, and
then getting the local line to
Mansfield, from where I could see the
stadium with a very simple walk.
Upon arrival I found it was an unusual
complex in that there was a fence
around the back of the stand, and the
turnstile was in a gate on this, and
so once you were through you were not
actually in the stand. On the back
wall were loos and catering
facilities, while also a welcoming
poster which had the Southend United
logo and the message 'Thank you for
travelling 169 miles to support your
team' which was a nice touch.
Having asked whether we could sit
anywhere, the steward said that
officially he was not allowed to say
yes, although he was fairly relaxed. I
found a seat at the back of the stand
near where our drummer was, and from
this high central position the view
was very good. With a drummer we were
able to generate plenty of noise, far
more than the home fans I hasten to
add, who were very quiet throughout.
The layout of the ground with the
three very isolated stands, the
unnoticeable tunnel and the dugouts by
the empty side did give a feeling of
distance from the rest of the ground.
Furthermore it was impossible to hear
what was said on the tannoy which was
quite annoying, as we had no idea when
the injury time started, nor how much
there was (I didn't notice the fourth
official's board go up).
At half time I had a hot dog, which
was one of the cheaper hot options at
£2.50 and as football food goes, it
was very nice.
As for the game itself, it was a
horribly windy day (which was not
helped by the absence of wind shields
on the stand) which completely ruined
the spectacle. About 7 or 8 footballs
must have gone over the Bishop Street
Stand it led to us losing 2-1.
This was not one of the better away
day experiences I have had, and not
just because of the result, though if
you are looking for an away game
easily accessible by train, this is
the one you want.