Swindon Town v
Saturday March 30th
By Pete Callan (Oldham Athletic fan)
It's been a few years
since I have been to the County Ground but due to
where I live its one of the easier fixtures to get
to. Being just a couple of hours easy drive from
the Isle of Wight ferry terminal in Portsmouth
The County ground is a very easy place to find.
Easily reached from the motorway network. The
famous "Magic Roundabout" fills drivers with fear
but as long as you follow the arrows then its easy
to negotiate. The ground is next to it so its a
case of aiming for the right roundabout exits. Car
parking at the ground itself is a shocking £10,
but if you are sensible then you will set off
early and park on Shrivenham Road next to the
stadium which is residential. All the houses have
garages/driveways so they don't seem to mind you
parking on street -Best of all its FREE and no
more than two minutes walk from the County Ground.
I travelled to this game with my grandson and we
stopped at a service area just outside Newbury.
There does not seem to be much in the way of cafes
near the ground altho there are one or two pubs
around. Around the ground there are the usual
trailer snack cabins serving burgers and chips at
a moderate price.
What I do love about Swindon is the fact that the
fans are so welcoming. Several smiled at us,
chatted and debated everything from De Canio's
departure to the prospects of their promotion and
our relegation. What was really nice was a lady
who almost dragged us into the "Robins Nest" which
is a great little club for junior Swindon fans
which is open prior to the game and welcomes
junior away fans. My grandson had a great time
playing the Wii, table tennis, table football etc.
That allowed me more time to drink coffee at £1
ago and banter with older Swindon fans.
The County ground is a good old traditional box
ground that is very visible as soon as you come
anywhere near it. The floodlights stand tall,
there is a lot of open space. While the County
ground may well not have become one of the many
goldfish bowl grounds of the modern era it is well
maintained. It's quite smart and spacious and
access to all parts of the ground is very easy -
Away fans do have to walk through a little park
and along a path but its really not hard work.
views are un
restricted and as away fans are somewhat elevated
above what was at one time terracing below -The
views really are excellent all over the pitch.
This was Lee Johnsons first real challenge since
taking over as Manager. Being in the bottom four
and playing against a team lying second in the
table ould not get much tougher. However for the
first hour we played very well, a little bit of
luck, good defending and a new found spirit and
desire lead to Lee Barnard putting us ahead in the
second half. The lead didn't last long and after
sustained pressure Swindon equalised with an
overhead kick that Bouzanis never even saw.
Swindon had enough to wrap it up in the closing
stages but it was an excellent hard fought point
With over 10,000 in the ground including around
500 of us Oldham fans who were located in the
Arkells stand. Reasonable seats with good leg room
and excellent views of the action. There was a
good solid atmosphere generated by both sets of
fans all the way through the game. Stewards were
friendly and chatty and when we did stand used
common sense by just ensuring there was no danger
or people blocking gangways.
If I had one real gripe it was that were not
anywhere enough refreshment kiosks. The queues
were so long that it was clear the game would be
well into the second half if we waited in line.
The loos were fine, clean and better than i have
seen at many grounds.
Getting away from the ground after was a
doddle...2/3 mins walk along Shrivenham Road and
within 5 mins we were heading towards the M4/A34
This is a really friendly club whose fans are
welcoming, hospitable and feel part of Swindon
Town FC. Without doubt one of the nicest places I
have been too in forty years of watching Oldham.
Nice touches such as Swindon players joking and
chatting to stewards and programme sellers. This
is a family club and you do feel like an invited
guest. My third visit with hopefully several more
to come in the years ahead...