Globe Arena, Morecambe
v Sheffield Wednesday, FA Cup 1st Round
Sunday, November 13th 2011, 3.15pm
By Dan Brennan
This one was truly a spur of the moment trip. Having drawn what could be a potential banana skin game, I thought it would be a good battle. Plus with the Globe Arena being new and not probably having too many opportunities to go there in the future, we set off for Morecambe.
The journey up was simple. Morecambe is a remarkably easy place to find, it's motorway all the way there. Once there though, we parked about 15 minutes away from the ground due to the absolute lack of anything that resembled civilisation around the stadium.
We got there about 1.20pm and went straight to a burger van turned chip shop that is set up outside the ground. The prices were a little hefty for a 'chip shop', for a tight-fisted Yorkshireman particularly, but the food itself was nice. Then we went across the road into the Regents Hotel, which I would recommend to any travelling fan. A remarkable mix of Wednesday and Morecambe fans, coupled with a simply fantastic comedian and the cheap ale, meant that it was an hour well spent. It really did help add to the carnival atmosphere created my many Morecambe fans who were clearly looking forward to a historic tie for the club.
The Peter McGuigan Stand is very, very nice looking from the outside. It is clear that the ground is modern and is really nice to look at. Because of the smallish ends though, this is really all you can see as you would have to go for a walk around the ground in order to see the other stands. Underneath there is a small but nice club shop (although I found the merchandise to be extortinate for a League Two club!) and a bar which is to home fans only. The man on the door, however, did let me and friend run through to the toilet as there are none whatsoever in the surrounding areas.
Also outside the ground I met arguably the most friendly woman I've ever met at a football ground, who showed us where to eat after the match and even drove us there to show us the way. Thumbs up to the woman, and she was representative of Morecambe's people in general. Once inside, the Main Stand is equally nice looking and compliments the ground and the club well, with both terraces perfectly tidy and nice enough. One complaint about the away terrace is that there seems to be a dire lack of crush barriers to hold on to, which got frustrating in the second half. The other stand, however, cannot be ignored as it's a real eye-sore and brings down the whole look of the arena. It looks as if the architect either run out of money or run out of ideas, because it's simply a brick wall with a couple of steps in front. Once the club put something on that side of the ground, it'll bring the look of it as an overall stadium up dramatically.
The match was a typical David vs Goliath cup tie, with Wednesday playing the pantomine villan and winning 2-1. The Owls, buoyed by a fantastic away support as ever, controlled the first half and even a poor penalty decision in Morecambe's favour from the referee couldn't help save them from being knocked out.
The concourse at the back of the terrace was simply too small. People struggled to get down it in opposite directions and although this would be perfectly adequate for smaller League Two followings, it was simply not big enough for a larger one. Queues went quickly though, and the food was a lot cheaper than at Hillsborough! The stewards were fine, allowed us to stand all game! The atmosphere was good although I don't think it would be as good for a normal league game - Morecambe had a bumper crowd for the tie and coupled with free plastic hammers people were whacking together, I think this was a bit of a one-off atmosphere.
After the match we were away very quick, very simple, was back on the way down south looking forward to a tie against Aldershot Town or Maidenhead United within 15 minutes.
Really enjoyed my day out at Morecambe. Nice to finally see the Owls win on the road at the fourth attempt this season, and I found Morecambe to be a nice place. The ground was good, although the 'brick wall stand' as the Wednesdayite's called it was very disappointing and needs addressing, the rest of the ground is nice. I found the time spent before the game to be fantastic, with Morecambe's people being wholly friendly and are a credit to their club. Good luck to Morecambe this season but on the day, as was beautifully summed up by Chris Waddle, 'the big fish ate the little shrimp.
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