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Sixfields - Northampton Town FC
Saturday 28th August 2004
Vs Lincoln City, Premier League, 5.15pm
By James Prentice

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

Both Lincoln and Northampton were vying for a play-off place, and as this game was right near the end of the season it would surely be an eagerly contested encounter. Also, Northampton is not too far from Lincoln, being just a short trip down the M1, and is one of the league's more accessible grounds.

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

The ground is well signposted once we left the M1 and is based on an
industrial estate just outside the centre of Northampton. Our journey was all done on the motorway and a dual carriageway so although there are about 90 miles between Lincoln and Northampton it only took us just over an hour. What is most impressive is the car parking around the ground - there is enough of it for all fans arriving in a car and it's free! Away fans have their own specially segregated car park, which is signposted from the approaching road.

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

There are no chippies around the ground and there are only or two
Harvester-style pubs in the vicinity. As the ground is away from the centre of town, most fans have to arrive by car and you get the feeling that few of them would have a drink before the game even if they had the chance. Most of the home fans were pretty quiet although Lincoln fans with colours received a few unwelcome and unprovoked gestures from the Northampton fans as we approached the ground.

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

The ground is situated at the bottom of a huge hill, so we had a good view of the stadium and half the pitch (!) as well as a walk down the hill en route! The ground is pretty tidy with three very small stands with only about eight rows of seating and a much larger main stand. The away end was small and, unfortunately, only seated just over 800 fans. The Lincoln end was sold out and despite the promise of more tickets by Northampton, the home side decided to sell them to their own supporters...although they must have rued the decision as only half of the home end was full!

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

The game didn't live up to expectations, with Northampton and Lincoln both  looking sluggish. Lincoln weren't very adventurous and paid for it late on when the Cobblers netted a winner with ten or so minutes to go. The acoustics in the ground weren't great and as a result it was hard to get any noise going. The home fans were quite quiet even after they scored. The toilets were ok and the kiosks had virtually sold out of all food before the game started and I had to settle for a tiny lukewarm hot dog in a huge, tasteless bun!

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

Unfortunately we got a number of aggressive comments from the home fans as we left the ground, again without provocation. The journey home was ok, although it took almost an hour to get out of the packed car park.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Not one of the more exciting away trips. No pubs, no chippies and little atmosphere, although the ground is a tidy little affair and was comfortable enough. I got the feeling that Northampton's fans have itchy feet and are desperate to get out of League 2, which is evident with the amount of money they have spent on players over the past couple of seasons. As a day out, it probably ranks up there with Cheltenham and Shrewsbury as a distinctly below-average trip.
 

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