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Fratton Park
Championship League
Saturday September 24th
 2011, 3pm
Dean Williamson
(Blackpool fan)

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

Fratton Park was to be my 40th away ground. It was also the first time I'd watch football on the South Coast.

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

We drove down and found the best option was to park at nearby Hilsea train station and get the train to Fratton. The car park is free all weekend and the trains are every 10 minutes. We didn't pay a fare there or on the way back but it would normally be 2.30 for adults and 1.10 for children. The train takes approx 5 minutes and follows a reasonably scenic route. However, if you want to discover all of Portsmouth (I.e Spinnaker Tower) I would suggest parking in the City Centre as the football ground is a couple of miles from the sea front.

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

We went to The Red White And Blue pub before the game which was away fan friendly and had two cask ales on for real ale fans. The pub is situated on Fawcett Road and is a 10minute walk from the train station or 20minute walk to the football ground. They also serves a selection of bar snacks such as hot rolls. The home fans were friendly and were quick to assist with directions. Being a naval town they were quite boisterous throughout the day.

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

Fratton Park is an old school ground in every sense. To get to the away end there is a very small alley you have to walk along, if coming from the city centre, this could cause chaos on a busy day. The away end also backs onto residential gardens and the stadium almost appears to have sprung up in the middle of a housing estate. Aside from this, the  South Stand is fairly modern, but the rest of the stands are a lot older and some bits are basically terraces with seats bolted in. There is lots of leg room and you can create a great atmosphere in the away end. With most of the ground corners being open (apart from one corner beside the away section), the stadium does have an open feel to it and it is a great sun trap on a hot day as it was for us. The three older stands could really do with a lick of paint and the sound equipment updating as there was no music at half time.

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

This was the first time the sides had in seven years so there is little rivalry between the fans and resulted in a low attendance. The game itself was fairly uneventful and I experienced the very definition of being 'robbed' at a football match as Portsmouth scored with literally the last kick of the game after, what I felt was, a dominating performance from us.

I was most looking forward to hearing the 'Pompey Chimes' and this did surface in the second half. Although I couldn't see where 'John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood' was sat, I could hear his bell! The travelling seasiders did their part in creating lots of noise but the game was a little lacklustre and so this mellowed the atmosphere. There were no incidents to speak of with the stewards, which is how it should be at a match. I had a steak and Kidney pie and bottle of water combo at 5 and there was other meal deals of this kind. I would advise to eat away from the ground as there are many eateries around Fratton Park. Finally, the toilets were of a good standard and there was no queues when gaining access.

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

We caught the train back to Hilsea but do not be put off my the large queues as many different trains go through Fratton and therefore not all will be going on the same train as you. There was little traffic when exiting the city. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out: 

I had a good day out in Portsmouth mixing with their friendly fans. Even a few Blackpool sailors turned up who had just docked in the bay. This is a ground to tick off the list for anyone but be warned it is a huge journey from the North! 

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