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Britannia Stadium
Stoke City v
Portsmouth
Premier League
Saturday, February 21st 2009, 3pm
Kevin Griggs
(Portsmouth fan)

Having visited 76 clubs (some grounds have changed) I was looking forward to adding Stoke to my list.  Amazingly, not only had I not visited the Britannia before, I hadnít made it to the Victoria Ground either.  Now living near Lincoln in the East Midlands, the drive to meet fellow Pompey fan Gary, travelling from Redcar, was plain sailing. 

We met up about 4-5 miles short of the ground on the A50 at a Tescoís Superstore. This was easy to find as about 6-7 miles short of Stoke itself you have to turn left at a major 3 junction roundabout. The next roundabout, which has a flyover if you want to carry straight on, takes you to an industrial site and Tescoís. This was a great place to stop and water the kids. The locals were friendly and we were able to top up with supplies and have a drink in the cafe. Had we been so inclined we could have treated the kids to MacDonaldís but werenít so didnít. One of the benefits of meeting at Tescoís was that there is unlimited parking. This now meant that we could decant into one car, leaving the other behind for collection on the way home.
 

Parking at the Ground is surprisingly easy, and by using the car parks on the left (furthest from the ground) most of the congestion was easily dealt with on exit. This tactic probably saved around half an hour against some of the other car parks. The parking cost £5.  

Walking to the ground found friendly locals, stewards, and police. The view from the away end was great although on a windier day I could imagine the draft would not be too appealing. The game itself is best forgotten as is the disappointing atmosphere. For 2 sets of fans with noisy reputations the lack of singing left me incredulous. The reverse fixture at Fratton Park was much noisier where both sets of fans let go with full voice.  

The toilets were a little cramped, and a request for 1 tea, 1 coffee, and 2 muffins was met with the delivery of 2 bovrils, but other than that the stadium experience was satisfactory.  

Unfortunately, on the way back to the car a small group of drunken Stoke idiots tried to provoke a fight with anything in blue. Their pathetic posturing would have been laughable had it not been for the children with us.  However, this should not attract from a most agreeable day out. They were the sort of morons that can be come across any time day or night at almost any place in the UK. I always think that a resolve to return even when a match has been that dire always speaks volumes.

 


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