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Preston North End v Newcastle United
Championship League
Monday, November 23rd 2009, 7.45pm

David Kemp
(Newcastle United fan)

I drove there from Carlisle and met up with friends in Sumners beforehand. It was our first visit to Deepdale. Came off M6 at M55 Junction 32 then down A6 into Preston. Never saw a signpost yet to the ground off the A6, but guessed right and got there without any trouble. Parked in an 'official' car park behind Sainsbury's for 2.00  Sumners was heaving and seemed to be chock full of Toon supporters. If there were any Preston supporters they were not in evidence. Friendly pub with decent service considering how busy it was.
Ground was only a couple of minutes away. Looks different and attractive from outside in the same way that the Reebok looks a bit different. No trouble in getting in. Police/stewards all very friendly and ready for a bit of crack. Saw the police looking after at least one member of the Toon Army who had lost his bearings; not to mention his marbles, or ability to stand. Concourse for away fans wasn't bad - obviously very crowded, but better than say Wigan. Usual pies and drinks on sale, although we didn't have time to indulge. Toilets  weren't bad at all although the cubicles looked a bit fragile. We all thought that the ground inside was very good, just that bit different and excellent provision for away fans. You really feel in touch with the play, and as the sides are quite steep, you can see every blade of grass. As we all sit/stand in Level 7 at the Shrine of St James' we did appreciate being so close to the action. Stood for the whole match and stewards never bothered anyone. You couldn't say that about the Away section at St James' Park.
The game was very ordinary, rescued by Kevin Nolan's well taken goal in front of the Geordie hordes, who duly went mental.
Two disappointments:

1. The poor turn-out by Preston North End fans. I know it was on Sky but on a wet Monday night we took 3400 supporters to a crowd of just under 17,000. Aren't they quiet? What is it about Lancashire supporters?

2. The journey out of Preston back up the A6 to the M55 was horrific. Walking or even crawling would have been quicker.
All in all a really canny trip for the lads.

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