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Home Park
Plymouth Argyle v Southend United
League Two
Saturday, January 11th, 2014, 3pm

John and Stephen Spooner
(Southend United fans)

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

We had not been to this ground before, plus both teams were in good form having not lost in the last four games, so it would be an interesting contest.

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

My son and I travel to games from North Wales as exiled fans so it was about 285 miles each way and over 5 hours along M6, M5, A38, and A386 but easier than many of our away travels as over 200 miles of the journey were on motorways. We used trusted satnav, but could have done without as the ground is clearly signposted. The weather was cold but sunny and roads were free of any delays. We arrived early and parked in the free car park at the ground.

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

We ensured a top up of fuel for the long journey home and decided to visit Plymouth Hoe a few miles away after following signs for the town centre and then the Hoe. It was well worth visiting the broad esplanade which has great views of Plymouth Sound and various statues dedicated to Francis Drake and the Air Force. The light house was being used for a wedding service so we were unable to climb for even better views. A Royal Navy gun boat was at anchor in The Sound too. It was bright and sunny so plenty of youngsters using their Christmas bikes and scooters made for a pleasant atmosphere. We took up conversation with a few locals who were happy to discuss football. We then returned to the football ground and had a pre packed picnic in car whilst reading the match programme.

External View

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

The ground came into sight on our left as we arrived and appears smaller than it actually is. There is a steel structure to the outside of one stand which at first glance appears to be scaffolding but it may be modern architecture. On entering the ground it is quite impressive in size. The Main Stand is old and has a terrace in front which is out of use giving a somewhat lop-sided appearance as a new stand sweeps continuously from the home end of the pitch down the side and round to the away end covering three sides of the ground with mostly green coloured seating. The view from the away end is superb and seating was comfortable. The Southend fans were confined to a section from the corner flag to the goal which was ample for the 200+ and you could sit in any seat. The pitch looked good considering the floods that had affected so much of the country during December and January, and particularly the Plymouth region.

View From The Away End

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

The game was always going to be a tight affair with both teams keen to stay unbeaten. It was 0-0 at half-time and Plymouth took the lead after 65 minutes but within 3 minutes Southend drew level and it stayed that way with few clear shots on goal. Home Park provides for a good atmosphere and both sets of fans could be heard cheering their sides on. I found the stewards helpful and friendly, although they did take exception to a youngster verbally teasing the Plymouth goalkeeper. They marched him out of the stand but within 10 minutes he was allowed to resume his seat. The food on offer was varied and not too expensive and I can vouch for the pasties at 2-60 which were delicious. The match program of 60+ pages cost 3 and was okay. The food area was interesting as Plymouth had A4 sheets of paper thanking us for making the long journey and showing how many miles from Roots Hall our fans had travelled. Another feature not seen before by me was small ice cream cartons with the Southend United logo. They cost 2 and apparently they do this for all clubs visiting Home Park. They are a little expensive, but a welcome innovation. The sunny weather at the start of the game justified an ice cream but by half-time with the sun behind the stands, the pasty was more welcome.

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

The only delay in getting away was from the car park, which was a mad scramble for the one exit, no stewards to direct traffic. Plenty of horn blasting and 2 cars did manage to collide which added to the congestion but after 10 to 15 minutes we exited via traffic lights on to the main road and away for our long journey northwards. The roads were clear, well signposted to the Motorways.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The result usually determines our thoughts so a hard earned draw was satisfactory, but the glorious sunny weather despite being cold and the visit to Plymouth Hoe ensured a memorable day. Plymouth is a long way from most clubs, I guess, and work commitments prevented an overnight stay, but Plymouth is well worth visiting.  

Attendance: 7,088 (249 away fans)

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