Shrewsbury Town v Stockport County
Wednesday, December 26th 2007, 3pm
By Tim Robinson
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be)
It was my first visit to Shrewsbury Town's new stadium, I hadn't seen them since they won the Old Division 3 back in 1994. I had heard quite good reports that the stadium was improving week by week and with it being the Christmas period I thought I'd check it out.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking
I was advised to use one of the park and ride services as the was going to be a record crowd for a Shrewsbury Town game. I parked at Oxon park and Ride paid £2 for the bus which then took a 10-15 minute journey to the stadium and drop me off outside what is the home end (South stand).
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
I had a walk around the stadium where I noticed there was a almost perfect training ground surface, reasonable size car park, the club shop seemed very busy and rather small considering its a new stadium. There where 2 ticket offices one for home fans and one on the away end for away fans. Behind the away they were building a 5 aside power league football complex with changing facilities and a sports bar which will probably get very busy on a matchday as there are only two pubs within a 10 minute walk of the stadium so I was told. the home fans and away fans mixed with each other outside the ground without any problems.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground.
All of the stands were of similar size, all seated and covered and design similar to that of Darlington but without the corners filled but not as big. To me the stadium looks larger than the actual 9,875 capacity. Underneath the stands they had widescreen plasma screens which were showing sky sports live football this gets you in the mood for football straight away as you enter the stadium. Alcohol was served under the stands and the food was one of the best I have encountered at any game I have been to, although the prices were the same as most grounds.
On making my way to my seat the atmosphere was building nicely , the home fans were loud as were the away fans, the sound of a crowd seems to echo, probably because the ground isn't totally enclosed. On the down side there is a reasonable size scoreboard above the away end, this however only shows the score and counts down which is a bit disappointing as the tannoy system wasn't the best to be heard from where I was sitting. the seats themselves where quite spacious, I'm 6ft tall and the only place with more leg room I have been too is the new Wembley.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The atmosphere was good as you would expect with the ground well over 3/4 full, the game was high tempo end to end stuff, with the home side edging out the 10 man opponents 3-1. the stewards seemed very picky telling people to sit down all the time. toilet facilities were far better than I witnessed at Gay Meadow although only one hand dryer? As mentioned before the food was one of the best I have had inside a stadium.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game
After the game I caught the bus back to Oxon park and Ride this took a little long on the way back around 20 minutes. The police close off the road allowing fans to walk down the middle of it over a railway bridge which as I looked out of the bus window reminded me of Wembley way a bit. All cars parked in the car park wait while spectators on foot and by bus are allowed to leave first. this allows the stadium to empty quite quickly and seems an efficient way to exit a stadium this day and age.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out
Good game, good ground, good food, good organisation but poor tannoy system and scoreboard. 8/10 worth a visit.
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