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Fratton Park
Portsmouth v Swindon Town
Tuesday September 18th, 2012, 7.45pm
League One

By Ronan Howard
(Swindon Town fan)

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

Evening kick off under the floodlights of a fine old historic ground, along with yet another near capacity away crowd, and the closest away game I was going to get this season!

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

Another one I’d gone to on the train, which from Basingstoke was a direct journey taking around an hour. A mate of mine who’d driven down from Swindon did say parking was horrendous but couldn’t comment personally. The ground being a ten minute walk from Fratton train station and easily identifiable by those grand old floodlights made the journey very straightforward.

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

Having passed the ground and gotten my bearings, I made a beeline for the Brewers Arms, an away-friendly Fullers pub a short walk from the ground. Portsmouth and Swindon fans mixed well and the pompey fans were a credit to their club. I found the area around the ground far more welcoming than some less high profile games, none of the pubs seemed to be asking fans if they were home/away supporters, and certainly didn’t go so far as to ask for proof in the form of match tickets (I’ve had this at Southampton and Aldershot before). The general impression was one of passionate but welcoming supporters.

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

Completely iconic, and so nice to see in contrast to many modern stadiums. The floodlights are a fantastic thing to see, especially when they’re used for an evening kick off.

The away end which was fully occupied by Swindon fans was a bit of a throwback – once through the turnstiles the stand looks like a former terrace, and is very open. Both side stands are fairly small and basic looking, but the home end is fairly large and impressive. Can’t comment on the quality of the seating as the stewards allowed us to stand for the whole game.

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

Pompey had been on a poor run of form and as visitors we dominated the game from the off – some great passing moves and reasonably clinical finishing had put us 2-0 up and coasting, however town did their best to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and Portsmouth were well worth their consolation towards the end of the game. Thankfully we held on for a deserved 2-1 win. The facilities were fairly basic but functional, and the stewards were helpful but not intrusive, always a good sign.

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

A short walk back to the train station and a fairly quick return journey capped off a good evening – also had the opportunity to have a friendly chat with some Portsmouth fans on the way home, who were very gracious in defeat. Logistically one of the easier away trips in the league.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Good game, good win, home support vocal and passionate without being intimidating. A classic football ground and a great club, unfortunately which have had happier times. Best of luck to Portsmouth for the rest of the season, definitely a ground I’d like to return to.

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