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Britannia Stadium
Stoke City v  West Bromwich Albion
Premier League
Saturday, March 16th 2013, 3pm
By Patrick Bird
(West Bromwich Albion fan)

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

Been to Stoke a few times. Albion usually lose but the atmosphere at the ground is usually fantastic. I generally slope off a few minutes before the end with the Stoke fans in full cry giving a rendition of ‘Delilah’ bellowing in my ears. Highlight of the day for me is generally a few beers around Burslem before the match.

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

Very easy, special buses are laid on for visiting fans that run from right outside the train station direct to the Britannia. Cost £3 return. Buses drop you off and pick up from right outside the away end.

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

When we bought our train tickets we paid the extra £3 for Stoke Plus Bus tickets. After arriving in Stoke we took the number 23 bus from outside the railway station to Hanley bus station. Then took the number 20 bus to Burslem. At Burslem there is a choice of several decent pubs selling real ale. It is a bit of a trek to Burslem but there are no pubs worthy of a visit in the vicinity of the Britannia in my humble opinion. After the requisite number of pints we got the 20 and 23 buses back from Burslem to the railway station (allow 30 minutes for this journey) in time to get the special buses to the Britannia laid on for visiting fans. Note the Plus Bus ticket does not cover you for the special buses from the railway station. Can’t honestly say that I didn't come within 30 yards of a Stoke fan either before, during or after the match.

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

Much like most modern, out of town grounds. Nothing memorable other than the fact it is on the side of a hill and seems to be cold and very windy.

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

Pretty average if I am being honest. Leg room was OK, view was good but the game was awful to watch and not much atmosphere created by either set of fans. Toilet facilities and concourse areas are adequate but nothing to write home about. Didn’t try the catering.

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

Excellent, buses were waiting in the car park outside the away end after the match. They then had a police escort back to the railway station.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Highlight was definitely the beers before the match. The police operation and buses used to transfer visiting fans to/from the ground were good. Other than that the day was pretty average. I paid £30 this year for a match ticket. I refuse to pay more than 30 squid for a footie match. If Stoke increase their charges next year I will happily give the Britannia Stadium a miss.

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