Home Park, Plymouth
v Exeter City, League One
Saturday, December 11th, 2010 3pm

By Gary Parker

Due to Exeter's spell in the Conference and the Argyle residing in the Championship we had not met in a league fixture for eight years. So without doubt once the fixtures came out, this was “the one”. Especially as Argyle had boasted long and hard when we slipped into the Conference that “We’ll never play you again...”. 

I no longer live in Exeter so it wasn’t the short hop down the A38 for me, but generally Home Park is a doddle to get to by train or road. Travelling with a group of us from Bristol, we decided to take the train.

There is no love lost between City & Argyle and after quite a bit of trouble last month when we beat them in the Johnston’s Paint Trophy at theirs, then the Police were more than ready for this one. The away end was sold out with over 2,200 Exeter fans in attendance.

 We had checked the message boards and been told that The St James Vaults was a safe bet for city fans and was only a 5 min walk from the station. It is a great little pub with a cracking jukebox and a good pool table.  The atmosphere was very friendly with no idiots about, plenty of banter and both sets of fans intent of having a laugh without any hostilities.  We spent a few quid on the jukebox and a few rounds of killer pool before deciding to get to the ground to avoid any trouble at the last minute. I would recommend this pub to any away fans and much more so than the Britannia (although as an Exeter fan I doubt that I would have been welcome there anyway).

The ground is ok on three sides and was very noisy as it was a local derby, sadly Plymouth have a lot of youths that are intent on getting into the block nearest the away section and enjoyed throwing coins for much of the game, the police did have a big empty section in-between though and this helped.  I suspect this is not the case when other teams visit.  If they ever find the cash to complete the ground it will vastly improve the feel of the place. 

Getting away was a slow slow process, but the police did a very good job in moving away those Plymouth that wanted to stay and get involved and then provided a very efficient escort through the park to the train station, although it was gone 6pm by the time we got there. The Police had a heavy presence on the train until it had arrived in Exeter. 

We lost 2-0 and sadly although 2,200 fans turned up the team didn’t.  I am no fan of Plymouth and as an Exeter fan wont ever feel able to wear colours down there, but overall we had a good day out apart from the 90 minutes of football and for fans of other teams I suspect you will have a good day out too.


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