Spotland  - Rochdale
Saturday, April 17th, 2010,
V Northampton Town, League Two, 3pm
By Tyler Jason

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

I was lookinng forward to this one, a proper ground! One of those long distance games where we wouldn't take a great deal, in terms of travelling support. Towards the end of the season, with us needing points to stay in the play off hunt and Rochdale needing a draw to seal promotion for the first time in 40 years. After Rochdale’s stumble in form it was more or less a given they’d wrap it up against us!

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

Went on a coach, set off at 9.30am and straight up the M1 and M62. Was easy enough to get up there, only slight hindrance was minor roadworks on the M62. Was there for 12.30pm in time for the Manchester derby. Ground situated in a residential area so somewhere to walk around pre match.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Booked a pub stop in the Ratcliffe Arms behind the Sandy Lane end to watch the derby. Very spacious and a good mix of home and away fans. The chippy outside the away end was fantastic but long queues! The home fans were very friendly and were in a very good mood, I suppose the prospect of finally being promoted helped!

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
Circled the ground a few times out of boredom and time killing. Smallish ground but very homely, unlike some of the out of town places that pop up everywhere now. The away end along the side of the ground was quite nice. Seemed a bit eerie with about 200 of us in a 4,000 stand however! Prices were a bit excessive also. £12 for a junior to watch League 2 football was by far the most expensive in the division, luckily we bumped into someone who had some complimentary tickets for free so it wasnt a problem! The TDS stand, which was the seated stand to our left was bigger than I expected from seeing it on the TV and fullish, the most imposing stand in the ground and made the most noise. I thought for a terrace the Sandy Lane end was very quiet.

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

The game had a tinge of excitement and anticipation to it, with Rochdale expecting to wrap up promotion at Spotland. We were without the talismanic Bayo Akinfenwa through injury (Was asked about four times before the game by Rochdale if he was playing, think they seemed a bit worried!) We started the better and had a couple of good half chances but midway through the first half we failed to clear a corner and Chris O’Grady rifled in a goal. Both sides had chances after that but neither could make them count and Rochdale won, and got their promotion, which was fully deserved as they were the best side I saw us play throughout the season. The stewards were fantastic throughout and we made some good atmosphere, as did they although surprisingly there wasn’t much of it flying between the two sets of supporters. Didn't eat inside the ground or use the toilets so couldnt comment.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
Getting away was a bit tricky at first with the obvious promotion party but once we were out of Rochdale and a pub stop later, we were back home by 9.30pm finishing off a thoroughly enjoyable away day

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Was fantastic and would love to go back at some point. Only downside was the result but after whats been made of Rochdale and their lack of promotions in recent (and not so recent!) years it was nice to be there when they finally did it


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