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St Mary's Stadium
Southampton v  Ipswich Town
FA Cup 4th Round
Saturday 23rd January 2010, 3pm
Ben The Tractorboy
(Ipswich Town fan)

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

As an Ipswich Town fan I had never been to Southampton. The FA cup is always well supported by the Ipswich fans and I felt it was an ideal opportunity to go to the game. Having beaten Blackpool away in the last round I was slightly optimistic prior to the game.

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

As I travelled to the game via the clubs coaches the journey was smooth. We stopped at South Mimms service station and there was a friendly banter with a few Saints fans. The coaches were parked at the back of the Northam Stand – the away end.  Without any delays it was a great start to the day.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

Before the game I bought a match programme, then had a decent Cornish pasty inside the ground. The home fans were very friendly, making the whole experience a lot easier. The stewards were fine and entrance to the ground was quick and easy. The stewards did search through the bags upon entrance through the turnstiles. There was no severe delay.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground was certainly very smart and modern both on the outside and inside of the stadium but in my opinion lacked character, it looked more like a bowl than a football ground! St Marys is certainly very similar in appearance to Middlesbrough’s’ stadium. The view from the away end was excellent, positioned behind the goal. As it was a cup game extra seats were provided to make the away end even larger.

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

The game itself was very frustrating from an Ipswich point of view. The atmosphere was great with all Ipswich fans in full voice. Southampton fans were surprisingly quieter than I thought they were going to be. Losing 2-1 was a little embarrassing... but losing 1-4 at home to Portsmouth in the next round is worse! Toilets were clean; it makes a change from some grounds! Pies were good according to those around us.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

The away fans were not held behind after the game which is always good for a quick exit The coaches parked behind the back of the stand making which guaranteed a fast exit. Although I heard Park and Ride was easy and cheap as well I would recommend travelling to the ground by coach. More banter was shared between the fans as the coaches departed!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The Southampton ground is very impressive and well worth visiting. On the whole it was a very enjoyable day, pity about the result but in all honesty Southampton did deserve the win. Everything was first class apart from the result. I would certainly return if the sides were to meet again.

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