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Britannia Stadium
Stoke City v Sunderland
Premier League
Saturday, November 23rd 2013, 3pm
Rory Murphy
(Sunderland fan)

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

I read that the Britannia was a very vocal stadium and a neat and tidy ground. After home wins against Newcastle and Man City I thought that Stoke was a winnable game judging by the confidence under Poyet (in the end I was to be wrong about the result).

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

Me and my friends left Darlington at 10am hoping to get to Stoke at 12:30. The journey down was fine and there were no problems. There was car parking at a warehouse which was a 10 min walk from the stadium which only cost us 6. I'd recommend this ahead of the stadium parking which was 10.

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

Since we got there two and a half hours before kick-off we needed something to pass time. There was only one pub around the ground which I wouldn't recommend going to because the queue was out into the car park 2 hours before kick-off so I couldn't imagine what it would be like nearer to the match.  We settled for a burger van where the prices were ridiculous but the food was great. After walking round the stadium we headed to the away section where we had to wait in a compound until 1:45 for the gates to open. We got searched on the way in which is normal in most away grounds.
I did though have plastic bottle of tango on me and and the lid was taken off me which was rather inconvenient. The home fans were quite friendly and didn't bother us.

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

The ground stands out on top of a hill although looks tiny compared to the Stadium of Light which is nearly twice it's size. It was good-looking with three stands of the same size and the Main Stand was slightly bigger.  We took our seats, comfortable leg room and a good view.

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

Well this has to be one of the worst refereeing displays in the history of the premier league and even a neutral would admit that. After Sunderland dominated the first half hour playing Poyet's slick passing football but Stoke scored a well taken goal through Charlie Adam. Five minutes later, the most stupid red card I've ever seen was given to Wes Brown for a clean tackle which was later rescinded. This made the Mackems go ballistic. The Stoke fans were surprisingly disappointing and 1,300 Sunderland fans outsang them the whole game. Sunderland gave a good go after the break and should have been given a penalty for a challenge on Fletcher. Steven N'Zonzi scored in the final few minutes to really ruin our day. The stewards were fine and didn't mind us standing up. The toilets were a bit to small though and were cramped after the game

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

Stoke fans weren't rubbing in the defeat and just minded their own business. The traffic out wasn't to bad and when we hit the motorway the two and a half hour journey back to the North-East was trouble-free.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Stoke was a great away day and the Sunderland fans made a great atmosphere. The ref was a joke and cost us the game. I would go again (that's if we stay up).

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