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St Mary's Stadium
Southampton
Wycombe Wanderers
League One
Tuesday 1st December 2009, 7.45pm
By Peter Radford
(Wycombe Wanderers fan)


I was looking forward to seeing Wycombe at the second of three big grounds this season against a team that were with us at the foot of the table but only because of their points deduction.

Parking was difficult and we parked a good 15 minutes walk away however once on foot the stadium was easy to find.

The ground itself is a standard “new-built” stadium and as ever it was a little soulless even with 16,000 fans inside.  It was nowhere near as bad as 2,000 at Darlington earlier in the year but these new stadiums need to be at least three-quarters full otherwise they feel hollow.  As with most new grounds the seating started well back from the playing area which is again is so different from the intimacy that you find in most old grounds.

The atmosphere was friendly both inside and outside the ground and the facilities were good. If you want a programme don’t forget to buy it outside as none were on sale inside and I had to find a steward willing to flex the rules to let me back out to pick up my souvenir.

The atmosphere was improved by the number of scoring opportunities that the home side created which made for a tough night for the visiting supporters however given that they only converted one of these the score line left us with some dignity.

I know it is their job, Health and Safety and all that, but I was disappointed as ever that the stewards felt the need to spend most of the first half trying to get some of the away fans at the back to sit down. This process is always made worse by the fact that little effort seemed to be made to get the home fans to our right to sit down.  Thank goodness for safe terracing where those who understandably want to stand can do so in peace.

Wycombe were battered and the locals departed happy. It was a safe enough walk alongside them back to the car albeit a long one.  But by the time we started the engine the traffic had died down and the journey back to the M3 easy.

It was good to have added the ground to my tally, having “lost” the Dell from my list when they switched grounds. A typical, good quality, functional stadium but not a ground to rush back to unless you are a “Saint”.

Score: Southampton 1 Wycombe 0
Attendance: 16,402
Ground No: 29 (of the 92)


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