Broadhall Way - Stevenage FC
Saturday, November 6th, 2010,
V MK Dons, FA Cup 1st Round 3pm
By Michael Pala
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
Stevenage FC is a fairly local team to where I live and also a new league team since they’ve never played in the Football League before. I heard so much about them from Luton Town circles where a rivalry has built up between those two clubs and I was eager to see what Stevenage FC was really like. From an MK Dons perspective, I had mixed feelings about this match as MK Dons had selection issues ahead of the fixture and knowing that Stevenage are a good team (they must be to escape the Conference League), this had the potential to be an FA Cup upset.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
Stevenage FC was easy to find – I input the postcode into my Sat Nav and it brought me there without any trouble. The car park was clearly signposted and is very big but most of all – it was free of charge! It is literally across the road from the stadium and whilst you’ll be crossing a busy dual carriageway, there is an underpass.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
I went into the Club Shop to purchase some souvenirs. The shop is small and well stocked and the staff were friendly. Walking around the outside of the ground I passed many Stevenage fans and they were no trouble whatsoever. I did see a bar where home and away fans were happily congregated.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
Crossing the road from the car park, I passed the entrance to the home end and was pleasantly surprised when a steward said hello. I did read on this web site that Stevenage was a friendly club and this confirmed it. Other stewards were friendly and helpful when I asked for directions to the Club shop.
The stadium is quite small with lower stands, tall floodlights and open corners but is fairly modern. There is a scoreboard/mobile screen on the opposite side of the pitch, clearly visible from three sides, and an analogue clock halfway down the pitch and above the home main terrace.
Away end is all seated, situated behind the goal and there was sufficient space to move around unlike some old grounds, which can be cramped.
There are three home stands; an all-seater stand running down one side of the pitch and terrace stands behind the opposite goal and running down the opposite length of the pitch.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The stewards and staff at this club are very friendly to away fans. Once in the ground, I purchased a burger + chips + mineral water. The prices were similar to other grounds but the food, especially the chips, were nice.
Stewards inside the ground were helpful and I did see one helping a lady carry several items of hot drink and food back to her seat.
Toilets are basic but were clean, roomy and stocked up.
The Stevenage fans are passionate about their club and whilst you get the usual banter, they were very well behaved and were no danger whatsoever.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
The only drawback to having a large car park is that it can take time to exit it after the match. If you’re in a hurry then you need to arrive here early and park near the exit and consider leaving just before the end of the match. Otherwise, I left on the whistle and it took me about 20 minutes to exit the car park. Once on the main road, I didn’t have any problems with the traffic through and out of Stevenage.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Stevenage FC is a nice friendly club and if you’ve never been here before, I definitely recommend making a visit. The ground is clean and safe and definitely somewhere where it’s safe to bring your children.
You can wear your colours around the vicinity of the ground without feeling threatened and the stewards will make you feel most welcome.
Credit is also due to the Stevenage fans for helping their club to provide a safe and welcoming environment.
The match ended 0-0 with a good performance from both teams.
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