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Roots Hall, Southend United
Championship League v Preston North End
Saturday November 11th 2006, 3pm

James Mercer

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

My ambition is to eventually do all 92 football grounds and as I follow Preston around the country and I have never been to Southend, I saw this as a perfect opportunity. Also with Preston doing well at the moment, I didn't want to miss a minute of the season.

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

I travelled on the club coach, so I didn't have to worry about directions. However, the ground seemed relatively easy to find as its just off the A127, which runs straight from the M25. The coaches parked just behind the away end so it was very easy to get back to your coach after the game, as they all park in a line down 1 side of a road. 

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

Upon arrival, I went to a chippy 0.25 miles from the ground on Fairfax Drive called "The Fishy Flyer." Its on the same road as the entrance to the away end and in the opposite direction to the ground (away from the traffic lights) Chips were good and priced at 1.10 for a portion. The home fans we met on our walk were very friendly and were very upbeat as they had just beaten Man Utd. The club shop was also very impressive on the inside, even though it looks like a portakabin from the outside. 

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

Seeing the ground reminded me of the old Deepdale, the only difference being converted terraces but the pillars, barrel roof and lack of facilities makes the ground show real character. The away end's refreshments were situated in a little room with tables and chairs, so it felt like you were in a cafe. The other sides of the ground seemed in better condition than the away end but overall I thought the ground oozed character that is slowly being lost from the game with all these new "bowl" stadiums.

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

The game itself was a scrappy one, with Southend defending most of the time but they did have a few good shots. Preston didn't play as well as I have seen previously but it was a well earned point. It is very easy to create an atmosphere in the away end. We took 1,000 fans but it sounded like we had a lot more. Southend fans hardly sung, but when they did, they were audible. Stewards were fine, no complaints. Didn't sample the pies but the toilets could do with refurbishment!


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

Took us a while to get away from the ground, as it seems all traffic has to go one way, which resulted in queues, but only for 30 mins or so. As soon as we hit the A127 we were away.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall, I really enjoyed my day in Southend, though I wouldn't say the journey was worth it for the match! I would recommend Southend away for any set of fans who want to have a good time on their travels.

 

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