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W Stadium
Wigan Athletic  v Arsenal
Premier League  
Saturday, December 22nd 2012, 7.45pm
By Paul R
(Arsenal fan)

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

Well it it was to be my first away game and I had heard good things about the DW, so I thought I'd go. Also it was easy to get a ticket due to the large allocation and early kick-off time.
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?:
I travelled by train from Euston to Wigan North Western arriving about two hours before kick off. Thankfully I had directions, which was helpful as the stadium wasn't signposted from the station. It was about a 20 minute walk (in the rain) and through a retail park to get to the stadium. The walk was not the most aesthetically pleasing one as the road to the retail park appeared to be in the middle of an industrial estate.
3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?
I went straight to the ground to try and seek shelter from the rain. After purchasing a programme I went towards the Marquee in the North Stand. However the doors were shut and all the cover by the entrance was taken so I had to resort to wall hugging the stand wall to shelter under an outcrop. After asking a steward when it would open, he said "soon" which wasn't that helpful.
Eventually I enetered the Marquee, to find a nice civilised clubhouse style with separate bars for food and drink. In there I had a steak pie which cost £2.30, considering it's the cheapest pie in the Premier League it was very nice and very filling. Trying to buy a drink was slightly difficult due to the sheer number of people but the staff tried their best (especially since one guy ordered 6 pints of Guinniess!) I would advise using the toilets in the Marquee before the match rather than in the stadium as they were less busy.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?:

At first I saw the West Stand, which looked quite impressive a bit similar to Brighton's new stadium from the outside. However it did start to go downhill a bit when I saw a faded Wigan Warriors Rugby League sign next to an apparently new Wigan Athletic sign. The North stand was a bit flat and boring from the outside. They still use the old turnstiles which is quite nice. I had a seat under one of the disabled sections (which no-one was in) which was one block away from the end. It was good for one side as you had unrestricted views due to the steepness of the seating but you had to lean forward to see the other side when the match was underway as people stand (which I fully support).

A word of advice, though the North Stand has a roof, it's too high and at the wrong angle to be effective against the rain so you will probably either get wet or find a wet seat awaiting you if it's been raining
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc..

The game was quite drab with Arsenal winning 1-0 from a penalty. The atmosphere was great from the Arsenal fans singing all game and the Wigan fans actually tried to have a go at helping create an atmosphere with a drummer in the East Stand near us, however once Arsenal scored they went quite quiet. They did have quite an amusing thing where the Wigan fans had an angry reaction for no apparent reason until the ref blew for a free kick about 30 seconds later. O

ne point I will say though with no-one behind you and a large gap between the fans sitting higher up, I did feel a bit isolated however we still sang all game. The stewards were not needed and seen but not heard. Fair play to them for allowing some Arsenal fans to hang a tribute banner in the closed disabled section.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

I didn't experience any hassle when leaving and heading for the station in colours. It was easy as you just retrace your steps and follow the crowds.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Cheap tickets and a large away following with a great atmosphere made it very enjoyable. The game wasn't the best but the result is all that matters.

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