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New Stadium
Shrewsbury Town v Chesterfield
League Two

Saturday, January 22nd 2011, 3pm
By Chris Connolly

Gay Meadow was one of my favourite grounds, being right next to the river in an interesting and  picturesque town, so it's a shame that the new ground is away in the middle of nowhere, meaning there is no longer any need to visit the town of Shrewsbury itself. Having said that, the new place is very easy to reach by car, since it is situated just off the main A5 road to North Wales. Parking for the football is officially not allowed in the nearby Meole Brace Park & Ride but you'd never know, and at the end of the match a slow-motion procession made the road out of the Park &Ride, which looked like a scene from Exodus.
 
Chesterfield fans are inevitably going to make comparisons with our own new stadium when we visit other new or newish gounds. I'd say the New Meadow is a decent ground with a good view for away supporters, but it needs to have some buildings around it to provide some atmosphere. Football grounds always benefit from having streets and houses around them in my opinion. The view of the pitch may well be excellent but all is bleak behind and outside, which would be a pity anywhere but particularly so when Shrewsbury is such a nice place.
 
The match itself was forgettable in the extreme but in any case the experience on the away end was affected by the constant stream of foul-mouthed abuse towards the home fans from a section of the visiting support , some of whom were old enough to know much better. It's hard to concentrate when someone is bellowing in your ear all afternoon and this game was not interesting enough to be diverting, although a point for the Spireites was enough to keep us nicely clear at the top of the table.
 
No problem with stewarding nor with the home supporters. The concourse inside the away stand is a home from home for Chesterfield fans as it is exactly like our own ground. Warm water and dryers in the lavvy illustrate that the 21st century has arrived here but being a vegetarian I can't offer any opinion on the pies, I'm afraid. I didn't see any pubs nearby but the usual dismal crop of fast food outlets are all close by. The stadium's close proximity to a retail park does make it a tad reminiscent of Scunthorpe's Glanford Park (which isn't meant as a compliment) but if you like McDonald's burgers then this is the place for you.
 
In summary, pick up the new stadium and pop it into the space vacated on the riverbank by Gay Meadow and you'd have a pretty good place to watch football.

 

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