Watford v Charlton Athletic
Saturday August 16th, 2008, 3pm.
(Charlton Athletic fan)
1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):
I've been to a few away games before and enjoy the matchday experience of them, and with Vicarage Road being a ground I'd never been to before, this made it a more exciting proposition. The fact that it was an important early season clash, and a local London team helped to enhance the anticipation.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
The Journey was easy enough to Watford, taking the M25 clockwise. When we got into the town centre we got a little lost, but ended up finding a place to park in one of the side streets about 15 minutes walk away from the ground. I didn't actually see Vicarage Road from the car, but considering I was with others who had been there before, it was quite easy to walk there.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Prior to Kick off we went to a chippy about a minutes walk from the away entrance, which was of good quality and reasonably priced. We had a small walk around the ground, past many of the Watford fans, who seemed quite friendly, and there was no obvious trouble between the two sets of fans.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?
Vicarage Road has a certain traditional feel about it, but it's not one of the best grounds I've been to. The away end was nice enough, though the concourse was a little cramped and our seats were unfortunately quite near the front, which didn't give us as good a view as other Charlton fans. The stand opposite is very similar in design, and the stand to the right is a neat, two tiered stand, which was the most impressive of the stands. The stadium is let down though by the complete mess of the stand to the left, which just doesn't appear to have any conventional design. If Watford were to improve this side, then they would have a very good championship stadium.
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game itself was pretty poor, with a goal from Tommy Smith winning it for a Watford side that is likely to fitness mid table, unfortunately like Charlton. Both teams seem to have been hit hard by their Premiership relegation, and the financial situation at both clubs seems quite insecure currently. The atmosphere in the Charlton end was increased by a number of poor refereeing and linesmen decisions, most notably the sending off of Kelly Youga just before half time, despite seemingly having played the ball, and arguably having a covering defender, which would rule out the "last man" sending off decision.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game
Getting away from the ground was pretty quick, and we were back at the car within half an hour of the final whistle. The car ride home also passed quite quickly.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out
An average game, an average stadium, and two average teams says it all. Hopefully this will have changed by the next time these two sides face each other again.
Are you an away or general football fan who has visited Vicarage Road recently?
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