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Vale Park
Port Vale v Grimsby Town
Saturday November 12th, 2011, 3pm
FA Cup 1st Round
Duanne Mitchell

(Grimsby Town fan)

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

I was looking forward to going to Vale Park as it is one of a few grounds that I hadn't visited yet, plus the reviews that I read on the website, were good.

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

As we came on the supporters coach then it was fairly straight forward. However on nearing Vale Park, the clutch on the coach broke as we were struggling to get up a nearby hill. So our coach was replaced whilst we were watching the match.

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

We arrived a couple of hours prior to kick off, so we first bought our tickets from the very friendly staff in the ticket booth.
As we didn't feel like looking further afield for a pub we made our way into a bar called Tommys which was situated in the away end car park.  This place was very friendly. We got our drinks and made our way over to a family of Port Vale fans, with whom we shared some banter and had a game of table football.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

My first thoughts on seeing the ground were okay from the outside, although there is not a lot that you can see. From inside the away end I thought it was pleasing. We were in easily the best stand although the size of it made it seem an age to get from top to bottom.  The other stands looked okay, although one stand to our right looked half finished as a number of seating blocks were missing.  On the whole a good  looking ground even though is was a bit of a mish mash.

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

The game was actually quite open and an end to end game. We nearly scored in the first minute and really should have been in the lead by half time. The atmosphere from the Vale fans was almost non existant as we out sang them the entire match. Second half started much as the first half ended. Then in the final 15 minutes Port Vale finally put on the pressure and bombarded our defence, but we stood firm and held out for a 0-0 draw. This was more like a win to us, as with the difference in divisions most expected Port Vale to win the match.

The stewards at the turnstiles did refuse to let in the supporters drum, which didn't go down too well. There were a couple of stewards that looked like they didn't want to be there otherwise they were okay. As I did not decide to buy any food, I cannot comment but did notice that the prices were a bit steep. I did however buy a couple of 500ml bottles of lager which cost 3.10 each, which was to be expected. Toilets were not very clean but were big. Just bog standard toilets (pardon the pun) for a football ground.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

There was about a half hour slow journey getting away from the ground but once about a mile clear is was plain sailing all the way home.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall a good day out and would definitely visit again. The only draw back was that the drum was not permitted. Just one more thing that may be of interest to some fans you may want to take a camera, as you literally pass the Britannia Stadium on the way in although this may not apply to fans coming from down from the North. 

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