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Wembley Stadium
  Crewe Alexandra v Southend United
Sunday, April 7th, 2013, 1.15pm
Johnstones Paint Trophy Final
By John & Stephen Spooner
(Southend United fans)

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

First ever visit to Wembley Stadium and chance to see Southend win a Trophy cup final after attending two previous losses in 2004 to Blackpool and 2005 to Wrexham, both in the LDV competition at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff 

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

My son and I set off at 5am from North Wales to drive the near 200 mile journey and had booked parking at The Green Man pub which overlooks the stadium and is within easy walking distance. We left the M1 at junction 4 and followed local directions supplied by Green Man parking services.

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

We had packed food with us which we usually do for away games so had eaten during a service station stop on the way down. The Green Man is a tremendous location and was already open as we arrived at 9am quickly followed by several coaches full of fans in good humour. Paul Sturrock who had been sacked as manager two matches earlier, travelled with supporters on a coach to the Green Man and was greeted as the idol he has become since taking over as manager. We joined in, giving his hand a shake and thanking him for getting us to a Wembley Final. At the stadium, the Crewe fans were friendly and confident having won promotion last season at Wembley, beating us on the way in the playoff semi final despite Southend wining both of the league games.

Paul Sturrock With Southend

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

Our first impressions of the ground on seeing the distinctive arch and then the magnificent size of the stadium, was brilliant. We walked round the outside and took photographs of the approaches and the Bobby Moore statue. We met up with family who had travelled the relatively short journey from Southend. The stewards were friendly and happy to guide us the correct entrances. We climbed the escalators to the 2nd level and sat in block 248 in line with the goal line and the view is brilliant. The seats were cushioned with plenty of leg room, and even glass holders on the back of seats.

                            Spooner At Wembley Stadium

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

The 31,000 Southend fans outnumbered the 11,000 Crewe but were quickly quietened as Crewe took the lead after just six minutes with a Murphy goal from a well worked corner. Southend struggled from then on as Crewe kept possession on the vast Wembley pitch. Southend forced a few corners but could not create goal chances and at the start of the 2nd half Crewe scored again after winning the ball in midfield and finding 4 against 2 Southend defenders leading to Max Clayton scoring an easy goal. I found the atmosphere subdued which I suppose is usual when your team is chasing the game against a team from a league above them. Stewards were friendly and there is ample space by bars and food outlets. Massive queues for toilets though.

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

We walked back to the Green Man pub and enjoyed the atmosphere as fans had the usual discussions of what might have been if Paul Sturrock had still been in charge. We followed directions supplied by Green Man parking and easily made our way to the M1, M6 and home by 7-30 pm.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great day out, the weather was fine after a frosty start and I look forward to another day at Wembley hopefully for a promotion play off. The only disappointment was the result of course. Overall, a memorable day, that will live long in our memories.

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