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Wembley Stadium
  Crystal Palace v Watford
Championship League Play Off Final
Monday, May 27th, 2013, 3pm
Jack Laws
(Crystal Palace fan)

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

This was to be my first visit to the new Wembley watching Crystal Palace. I had heard lots about Wembley Stadium and I was looking forward to comparing it to the old Wembley with and my last visit with Crystal Palace in 1997. Not only that, it was huge match for Palace which if they won, would have secured them promotion to the Premiership. A league that Palace had not been in since the 2004-05 season. With suffering administration and almost being liquidated 3 years previously in 2010, this match was one to show how far the club had come in 3 years.

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

We travelled via the tube to Marylebone Station. After some pre match beers we travelled on the train from Marylebone, to Wembley Stadium station. The train was only one stop so was a simple straightforward journey.

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

We stopped of in Marylebone and had some pre-match beers in The Allsop Arms on Gloucester Place. Beer was reasonable priced here, however it was really busy and generally took about 15 minutes to get served.. There was also a Tesco’s just around the corner which some fans took advantage of to buy some cans to drink outside the pub. Police didn’t hassle the fans at all and generally let everyone do their own thing. After this we headed back to Marylebone Station to et the 13.55 to Wembley.

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

At first view the ground is very impressive. Certainly very imposing and you don’t realise how big the “Wembley Arch” is until you see it up close. Once inside the stadium we went to the bar to get one more nerve-settling beer. I was impressed with the bar’s queuing system in place, which got rid of the free-for-all you see at most other grounds. I was less impressed with the price of £4.70 a pint!

Our seats were in the front row of block 531 (upper tier). Despite being up in the gods, I thought the view was fantastic. Inside the seating area itself Wembley is certainly very impressive. Great views of the stadium all round with loads of leg room. Even for the taller people such as myself.  

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

The game was tense from the start with both teams not settling into the game until about 15 minutes in. There were not too many attacking opportunities with the game being a mainly midfield battle. The Palace fans produced a great atmosphere throughout the game. This was helped by the organisation of a “singing section” behind the goal, which was led by the “Holmesdale Fanatics”. Watford on the other hand were extremely quiet and barely made any noise for the entire 120 minutes of the match.

Once the game went to extra time I had a feeling it was going to be Palace’s day. The fans and they players just seemed up for it more. Palace finally found the net in the 105th minute when former Watford man Phillips picked out the top corner from the spot after Cassetti had needlessly brought down Zaha. Once 1-0 up Palace cranked up the atmosphere even more and there was never going to be any doubt about the result.

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

After the game and post match celebrations by the team. we headed to a bar called “Metropolis” which was on “The Junction, Engineers Way”. This was right by the stadium and wasn’t too busy. This let the crowds die down and gave us a hassle free journey home back to SE25.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

All in all a great day out for obvious reasons! I really enjoyed my first new Wembley experience. Didn’t come across any trouble and experienced no transport problems at all. If travelling to Wembley for a match I would definitely recommend hanging around for a drink afterwards to let the crowds die down.

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