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Bootham Crescent
York City v Southend United
Saturday, April 20th 2013, 3pm
League Two
John & Stephen Spooner

(Southend United fans)

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

It was the first ever visit to Bootham Crescent for my son. I had been many years ago but could not remember much and I always look forward to visiting old fashioned grounds. These old grounds evoke memories of how football used to be, with small stadiums located in the heart of communities, when supporters walked to them from their homes. Southend had a mathematical chance of reaching a play off place and York were still in danger of relegation, so a competitive game was anticipated.

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

My son and I set off at 9-30am from North Wales (as exiled fans) to drive the relatively short 120 mile journey but forgot to take our Football Ground Guide directions and relied on satnav which took us through the outskirts of Leeds and right into York City via the walls instead of using the A19, although not much delayed. A glimpse of York Minster and the wheel made us regret not having an overnight stay and sampling more of this attractive old city. Parking in nearby streets was reasonably easy to find as we had arrived early, but we noticed that a number were for local residents only.

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 and lunched in the car before taking a leisurely stroll in the warm spring sunshine to the ground. Home fans were friendly and they had their best attendance of the season boosted by over 580 Southend supporters. Southend fans traditionally dress up in fancy clothes for the final away game and many had carried on this tradition dressed as sheiks, bears and monkeys etc. We met up at the ground with relatives who had travelled up from Southend and caught up with latest family news

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

First impressions of the ground were that it was indeed old fashioned, set right in the middle of a residential area. The ground looks cramped being surrounded by terraced housing and on entry it is slightly run down but the pitch looked okay and the view from behind the goal in the uncovered end was good. The opposite end for home fans was packed, as was the Main Stand to our right. Away fans are somewhat separated from the home fans, with a gap between the away terrace and the  Main Sstand and by an empty section of seating in the stand to our left. Most Southend fans opted to stand in the sun rather than sit in the covered stand.

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

An early York goal set the mood for Southend fans who were still coming to terms with a mostly disappointing season, missing out on promotion, the sacking of manager Paul Sturrock and the loss at Wembley in The Johnstones Paint Trophy a few weeks earlier. The York supporters cheered their team loudly throughout. Southend drew level with a deflected goal but York again took the lead before half time and their pace and energy on a hard pitch was enough to take 3 valuable points to give manager Nigel Worthington a realistic chance of avoiding relegation. Phil Brown was left to reflect on the hard work required if Southend are to progress any further up the Football League next season.

The atmosphere was good despite Southend playing a long ball game and struggling to make many scoring opportunities. Stewards were friendly and there is a small food outlet with bars at the window and long queues. The toilets were rather cramped and being old, were not the cleanest or hygienic

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

Traffic leaving the area was slow moving but after 20 or so minutes we found the main A19 road and made good progress via the My and M62 towards North Wales.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A good day out, the weather was fine and sunny all day I look forward to visiting York next season hopefully following a team in the race for promotion.

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