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Vicarage Road
Derby County
Saturday January 15th, 2011, 3pm
Championship League
By Mark Cooper
(Neutral fan)

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

I had heard how unique in some ways Vicarage Road iss, and living in Cambridge (who were away at Alfreton) and seeing that Derby were there on the Saturday I got my brother to get some tickets for the Derby section. I was also intrigued as to how the ground was, especially the much talked about East Stand.

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

Journey was about 80 minutes from Cambridge, no problems at all even with the nightmare that is the ring road, possibly allow time if your driving is patchy! We parked in the Harlequin Shopping Centre though probably wouldn't again as it seemed a bit archaic  in there.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
Went to the Wetherspoons in town for a fry up and to soak in the previous nights excess. Home and Away fans were in there and no bother at all. Then visited the Odd Fellows pub, as recommended on this website. Good, quick and friendly service and a large space outside for smokers. The outside BBQ smelt lovely.

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

Approaching the ground I had never really seen an outside of a ground like it, we saw the half demolished East stand and therefore had a peek through one of the gaps. Its clear this ground is older then what my Brother is used too at Pride Park though I thought this had far more character. Had a good view of the game from the Vicarage Road end and the other three sides of the ground looked decent, I definitely prefer grounds like this when you see all the shiny new identigrounds cropping up. Asking staff outside for directions to the club shop and away pubs were met with polite and friendly answers.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..
The game as a neutral wasn't the best, the pitch (thanks egg chasers) made for a lack of quality in the opening 30 minutes until Derby's defending became a bit of a comedy of errors, this led to goals from Buckley, Graham and Sordell to make it 3-0 at half time. Fair play to the (long suffering) Derby support who sang throughout and were noticeably nosier then the home fans. Didn't bother going down into concourse seeing as how tight it was though the prices are no better or worse then most Championship grounds. The Stewards seemed pleasant enough and didn't seem too picky, let us stand throughout. The match petered out a bit in second half and ended 3-0 which to be fair was fair reflection on the game.  

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

Getting away was straightforward enough (despite other drivers not being able to grasp the ring road concept) and a 5.15 departure had us back just before 7 which isn't too shabby considering the usual post match traffic. 

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
Was all in all quite enjoyable, good pubs nearby, Watford seems a nice atmosphere to enjoy a game (probably gives it its reputation as a good family club). I will definitely go back every now and again. Especially worth a visit if you enjoy your grounds traditional.

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