The Den - Millwall
Saturday 18th October 2008
V Leeds United, League One, 3pm
By Matt Georgi
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
In honesty I wasn't overly looking forward to visiting Millwall this season having heard some horror stories. However I got on the train with an open mind and looking forward to what promised to be a great game given both sides league positions.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
The journey was reasonably straight forward as I travelled by tube from North London to London Bridge station and then boarded the over ground train for two stops to Bermondsey Station. The New Den is signposted all the way from the station. When you get off the train you are led down a path surrounded by very tall metal railings which run all the way to the ground making it impossible to get lost or stray into potentially dangerous situations with the locals. So far so good.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Under no circumstances should you drink around the ground so I chose to have a couple of swift pints at a small pub outside London Bridge station. This is a nice area with little threat of coming across any home fans. Most pubs are away fan friendly so you should have no trouble finding somewhere for a pint.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
The Den is a new ground so is relatively clean and tidy and consists of four separate stands with no adjoining corners for crowd control. We were given part of the North Stand which is at one end of the pitch as there were approximately 2,000 Leeds fans. Again in the interests of crowd control only the upper tier of the stand was used so that there was no risk of the pitch being invaded. The other three stands were all pretty much full, upper and lower tiers.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game was a little bit of a let down on the pitch but the atmosphere was incredible, not one for the faint hearted though as not exactly a warm welcome from the home fans. Food in the ground was pretty par for the course and enough toilets as you would come to expect from a new stadium. Stewards were a real let down, although a feeble search was done on entry to the stadium the game was still interrupted by sections of both fans throwing an assortment of missiles at each other.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Unless you were travelling on one of the supporters buses you were forced to wait in a pen outside the East Stand for approx 20mins after the game for a police escort. All Leeds fans were then escorted all the way to Kings Cross station where the London to Leeds Service is ready and waiting. I just about managed to persuade a policeman that I was genuinely going back to North London and so was not forced on to a train to Leeds. The Police escort were fairly heavy handed and there were a few minor scuffles on the tube. The tube was very claustrophobic due to sheer weight of numbers.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Overall a really good day out which was only ruined by the fact Leeds lost and the actions of a few thugs. I would recommend a trip to Millwall for any adults but definitely not suitable for children. The New Den is designed fantastically well so that Home and Away fans are kept separate at all times however if you do stray I cannot stress enough how important it is not to drink in the pubs around the ground.
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