Tuesday, 6 November 2012


QPR v Reading
Barclays Premier League
Loftus Road
Sunday 4th November 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 3 hours 15 minutes.  We left home at around 10:30am and walked to Winnersh Triangle station.  Unfortunately we missed the 11:01am train due to the people in front of us struggling to use the ticket machine.  This meant a half hour wait for the next train.  Due to engineering works, we had to get off the train at Twickenham and get a bus to Richmond station.  At Richmond station we were again delayed as the tube was delayed.  We caught the District Line to Hammersmith, then crossed over the road to catch the Circle Line to Shepherd's Bush Market. 

The ground is about a five minute walk away from the tube station, turning right as you come out.  The ground is signed posted when walking down Uxbridge Road. 
We ended up missing the first fifteen minutes of the game, but luckily it was still 0-0 by the time we got in, so we hadn't missed much!

Ticket Price: £35

Programme Price: £3.

I have lost count of the number of times I have been to Loftus Road, as it has always been a relatively easy away game to get to, and also because my boyfriend supports QPR.  We had tickets in the West Paddock as these are the cheapest tickets in the ground.  The West Paddock is on one side of the ground.  We were in row D, which was actually only two rows back, as the first two rows are used for the disabled, of which there were none.  We were in line with the goal-line and only really about 10 foot away from the corner flag.  The seat is advertised as uncovered as the roof doesn't quite extend over the front few rows, but luckily, despite it raining all night, and for a lot of the journey there, we remained dry throughout the game.  The view from the West Paddock was good and unrestricted, and we could see everything that was going on.  The Paddock is about seven or eight rows deep.  Behind this is a row of executive boxes.  Above this is the South Africa Road stand.  This is the main stand and contains more executive seating.

To the left of the West Paddock on the other side of the dugouts, is the East Paddock, which is again below the executive boxes and the South Africa Road Stand.  The the left of this stand is the Loftus Road End.  It is a small two-tiered stand and both tiers appear to be around the same size.  Opposite the Paddock is the Ellerslie Road Stand which is a single tiered stand running the whole length of the pitch.  To the right of the Paddock is the School End.  This is an identical two-tiered stand to the Loftus Road End at the other end of the pitch.  The away fans were in the School End upper tier.  This was our first visit to Loftus Road since QPR had been promoted, and both my boyfriend and myself noticed had the ground seems to have been smarted up a little.

Having missed the first 15 minutes of the game, it wasn't too long after we took our seats that Reading took the lead.  A corner was met by Sean Morrison, whose header was tipped onto the bar by Julio Ceasar.  The first player to react was Kaspars Gorkss who volleyed into the far corner of the net from six yards.  As I was sat in the home end, I managed to keep myself quiet, but thought that I might actually get to see Reading win a game!  The rest of the first half was quite scrappy, Reading sat back and QPR looked like a group of individuals, rather than a team.  We were in line to see the save of the game though, when Alex McCarthy tipped Esteban Granero's free-kick onto the bar.  In the second half, QPR played more like a team and had the majority of the play.  They equalised with 25 minutes to go when Djibril Cisse slotted passed McCarthy from six yards out.  The last fifteen minutes of the game was frenetic and end to end, with both sides pressing for a winner.  Ultimately neither side could find the breakthrough and a draw was probably the right result.

Attendance: 16,797 with 965 Reading fans.

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was quite quiet.  The Reading fans in the School End upper tier made some noise throughout the game, but the QPR fans only really made any noise when they got themselves back into the game.  The actual West Paddock was very quiet, with most people talking about the game amongst themselves.

Journey Time home: 2 hours 45 minutes.  We stopped to get some food at a Syrian restaurant on Uxbridge Road, so didn't start travelling home til about 5pm.  We got the tube from Shepherd's Bush Market to Hammersmith, then jumped on a bus to Twickenham.  From Twickenham we caught the train to Winnersh Triangle and then finished by walking home.  We got back at around 7:45pm.

All in all, it was quite a difficult day.  The engineering works made the travel more difficult than it should have been, and it was a very cold day.  The game, although quite enjoyable, was played between two poor teams and I honestly believe that both sides will struggle to stay up this season.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


Chelsea v Reading
Barclays Premier League
Stamford Bridge
Wednesday 22nd August 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 15 minutes.  As I was on a work placement in Wimbledon for the week, I was lucky to be able to jump on the District Line at Wimbledon station and get the tube to Fulham Broadway.  We left at about 6:30pm and were off the tube at 6:45pm.

The ground is about a five minute walk away from the tube station, turning right as you come out.  The away end entrance is about a 10 minute walk from the station. 

Ticket Price: £47

Programme Price: £3.

This was my first visit to Stamford Bridge and I was very excited to be visiting one of the most well known grounds in the country.  We had stopped outside the magnificent West Stand to take a couple of pictures, along with all the Chelsea tourists!  I managed to get a picture of myself with Sir John Madejski as he was going into the ground.  We walked from here, to the away side of the Shed End, passed Marco Piere White's restaurant and the hotel.  We had tickets in the Shed End lower and made our way passed lines and lines of stewards to get to the turnstiles.  My boyfriend said that it was like being in Gladiators having to battle passed row after row of stewards, showing them the same ticket and proving where you were going!  After going through the turnstiles we were sent through a door to the left, which felt like we were being sent into a cupboard.  We had tickets in row 16, which I assumed would be near the front, how wrong was I!  We were in the back row of the lower tier, beneath the overhanging upper tier.  This meant that if we stood up, we could only see the penalty box closest to us, and no more of the pitch, but we could just about see the whole length of the pitch when sat down.  We were in line with the right hand edge of the penalty box as we looked at it.  The Shed End is split between home and away fans.

To the left of the Shed End is the West Stand.  This is a three tiered stand and is quite impressive, unfortunately I could only see the lower tier.  Opposite the Shed End is the Matthew Harding stand, which is two-tiered and exactly the same as the Shed End but houses home fans only.  To the right of the Shed End is the East Stand.  This is another three tiered stand similar to the West Stand that hosues the dug outs, again I could only see the lower tier.  The ground is all seater with a capacity of just under 42,000.

The game started with Chelsea dominating, and after 18 minutes new signing Eden Hazard tricked Chris Gunter into tripping him in the box and a penalty was given.  Although Hazard was caught, he did got down quite easily.  Up stepped Frank Lampard to smash the ball passed Adam Federici in goal and I had visions of us being hammered 6-0 and was wondering how long the night was going to become.  But fortunately for us Reading fans, going behind seem to spur us on.  A nice one-two between Gareth McCleary and Danny Guthrie resulted in McCleary whipping a lovely cross into the box that was met by Pavel Pogrebniak who planted a powerful header beyond the outstretched Petr Cech.  The away end erupted, but things were about to get better.  Five minutes later, Jobi McAnuff was up-ended by John Terry about 25 yards out from goal.  Guthrie took the free-kick, which was pretty tame to be honest, but somehow Cech only managed to divert the ball into his own net and we were 2-1 up.  Reading dominated the rest of the first half, with Chelsea looking a little shell-shocked.  After half time, Chelsea inevitably had more of the play, and equalised on 69 minutes, when a shot from Gary Cahill was palmed into his own net by Federici, the second mistake he had made in two games.  Ten minues later, Chelsea took the lead, Fernando Torres tapping in an Ashley Cole cross, although he did appear to be offside.  Still Reading didn't give up, and in stoppage time Federici went up for a corner to try and salvage a point, unfortunately Chelsea broke clear, and with no goalkeeper in place, Hazard centred for Branislav Ivanovic to tap in and the game finished 4-2.

Attendance: 41,733 with 2,857 Reading fans.

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was amazing, especially when we were winning and were top of the league for about half an hour.  The fans didn't stop singing all game, and the low roof we were under allowed us to make a lot of noise  The Chelsea fans were quite quiet and only really made any noise when they were winning.

Journey Time home: 1 hour.  We walked towards Kensington to let the numbers at Fulham Broadway station die down and got some food at KFC.  We didn't get on a tube until almost 11pm, a good hour after the game had finished.  We got the tube back to Wimbledon, then a bus from Wimbledon to New Malden, where we were staying with relatives.  We got back just before midnight.

Again an amazing experience.  The ground is well worth a visit, even at the price, but I might try and get upper tier seats next time to get a better view.  We were very unlucky to come away with nothing, I think even a draw would have been a little harsh on us, but I never thought I would see the day that Reading outplayed the European Champions on their own turf!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


Reading v Nottingham Forest
Madejski Stadium
Tuesday 17th April 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 35 minutes.  Left the house at 6:45pm and parked up at 7:20pm.  The closest league ground to home, would have been quicker but had to make two stops to pick up people and tickets!

Parked 25 minutes walk from the ground.  Plently of street parking available a little way up from the ground.  We parked in Hartlands Road and there are normally spaces available here, although there is a 20-25 minute walk to the ground.

Ticket Price: £23 advance member price.  Paid £25 for my non-member boyfriend's ticket.

Programme Price: £3.

I have lost count of the number of times I have been to the Madejski, having been a ball girl here for two seasons and owning a season ticket for eight seasons.  Unfortunately I now have to pick and choose my games as I can no longer afford or commit to a season ticket.  This was my third visit to the Madejski this season and I had yet to see us win, the previous two games being the 2-2 draw with Millwall on the first day of the season and the 2-1 defeat by Barnsley in the next home game.  I had ordered tickets in the South Stand.  This would be the first time I had properly sat in the South Stand, as the last time was when I was a ball girl and the stand was empty!  We entered via turnstiles at the back of the stand.  I had my member card read and my boyfriend the barcode on his ticket, as there are no turnstile operators.  Inside the ground we passed through the concourse, passing the toilets and food outlets.    The stand is split between home and away fans and we were in the home end.  The stand is fully covered and as the game was a sell out, arriving five minutes before kick off we easily had time to get to our seats.  Our seats were in row T, about half way up the stand, in line with the left hand edge of the six year box.  The stand is single tiered and consists of around 40 rows of seats with excellent pitch and leg room between rows, so much so that you do not need to stand up when someone walks passed, you simply just turn to one side.  With the game being a sell out, there were no empty seats in the home stands.  I could see the whole of the pitch as the views from all seats at the Madejski are excellent.
To the left of the South Stand is the West Stand.  This is the main stand and is two tiered with a row of executive boxes running across the middle of it.  Opposite the South Stand is the North Stand, which is exactly the same as the South Stand but houses home fans only.  To the right of the South Stand is the East Stand.  This is where the most vociferous Reading fans tend to congregate and is again a single tiered stand.  The ground is all seater with a capacity of just over 24,000.

To the game now and the first half was pretty even and scrappy with Reading having a Jason Roberts goal disallowed for a foul on goalkeeper Lee Camp by Noel Hunt.  Reading started the second half with a faster tempo, but gradually Nottingham Forest came back into the game, and George Elokobi should have done better then hitting the bar when he found himself unmarked at the back post.  This was an important game for Reading, knowing that if West Ham dropped points against Bristol City, then a Reading win would take them back to the promised land of the Premier League.  West Ham kicked off their game against Bristol City at 7:45pm, and with around 10 minutes of the game remaining, it began to filter through that West Ham had drawn 1-1.  This spurred the Reading fans into a chorus of "One goal and we're going up," and within a minute we had our winning goal.  A free kick from Ian Harte was met by Mikele Leigertwood, and made it's way into the back of the net.  The stadium erupted and the next ten minutes consisted of constanting singing of "We are going up" and "The Royals are going up."  There was a scare with a couple of minutes remaining as Alex Pearce cleared a goal-bound shot off the line, but Reading held out for the win to take them back to the Premier League after a four year absence.
The final whistle was greeted by a gleeful pitch invasion, myself included, and we were treated to the players celebrating with the fans from the Director's box.  I stayed on the pitch for around 15 minutes before deciding to leave.

Attendance: 22,899 with 1,181 Nottingham Forest fans.

Atmosphere:  The atmosphere was immense.  I don't know why, but I sensed that West Ham wouldn't win tonight and that this would be a promotion party.  The last 10 minutes were non-stop noise and the atmosphere on the pitch after the game was incredible.  The Forest fans also played their part, celebrating the fact they were staying in the Championship for another season.

Journey Time home: 30 minutes.  Got back to the car at 10:45pm after spending time celebrating and arrived back home at 11:15pm, again following a couple of stops to drop people off.

All in all, amazing.  The last time we went up I couldn't get a ticket for the Leicester away game, but was part of the Champions pitch invasion following the win over Derby the following week.  This was more exciting than that, as I'm not sure that the players knew we had gone up until the fans invaded the pitch.  I am now thoroughly looking forward to reviewing more Premier League grounds next season!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Aldershot Town

Aldershot Town v Hereford United
EBB Stadium (The Recreation Ground)
Tuesday 14th February 2012

Journey Time to the ground: 1 hour.  Left the house just after 6:15pm and parked up at 7:15pm.  Didn't encounter much traffic along the way.

Parked in The Wellington Centre multi-storey car park in the centre of town.  This was a 10 minute walk from the ground and cost £1 for the whole evening.

Ticket Price: £0 on the gate.  As it was Valentine's Day, Aldershot Town had dedicated this fixture as ladies night so all ladies were admitted free of charge.  I did have to pay £17 for my boyfriend though!

Programme Price: £3.

All home stand turnstiles are situated on the High Street.  Not having a ticket we paid on the gate and decided to go through the turnstiles for the North Stand terrace (High Street End) as I knew this was on the sideline rather than behind the goal and I feel that you get a better view of the game from the side.  After entering the the ground you are greeted by a few programme sellers and signposts to each area of the ground.  We followed the signs to the North Stand terrace walking up a little slope to the left hand side.  We reached the terrace and had to show the steward on the entrance to the terrace our ticket, as you are only allowed into the area that you have bought tickets for.  The terrace was quite sparsely populated so we decided to stand by the barriers in the middle of the stand in line with the goal line.  The North Stand itself is split between seating and terracing, with seating straddling the half way line flanked by terracing either side.  The North Stand terrace (High Street End) is a covered terrace, a little reminiscent of a corrogated metal shed.  Having said this, the terrace is relatively warm as the back and side are enclosed.  The terrace consists of around ten steps of good height so that it is easy to see most of the pitch even with people stood in front of you.

To the right of the North Stand is the High Street End, an unused flat terrace which houses a score board, which is almost like an eye test as the team colours are written in neon red and neon blue, reflecting the Aldershot colours.  To the left of the North Stand is the East Bank terrace, a covered terrace split between home and away fans.  Opposite the North Stand is the South Stand, an all seated stand that straddles the half way line with uncovered terracing to either side of it.

The game itself was a largely scrappy affair with Aldershot having the majority of the play without creating too many chances and having a tendancy to use the long ball, a strategy that the tall Hereford centre backs were well equipped to deal with.  The first half ended 0-0.  The second half followed the pattern of the first half with Aldershot having most of the play again creating few clear cut chances.  After 52 minutes a cross from the Aldershot right wing wasn't dealt with by the Hereford defence and the ball was cleared to the end of the box.  The ball was headed back into the box and was turned in from the centre of the goal from about two yards out.  Any hope Hereford had of getting anything from the game was lost after 66 minutes when one of their central defenders was sent off for dragging down one of the Aldershot strikers baring down on goal.  As he was the last man, the referee had no alternative but to send him off.  The game petered out after this with Aldershot quite content to hold on to their 1-0 lead rather than extend it and the game finished 1-0.

Attendance: 1,871 with 117 from Hereford.

Atmosphere: The majority of the noise came from Aldershot fans in the middle of the East Bank terrace, with a drummer keeping the noise constant throughout the game.  The North Stand terrace was pretty quite for most of the game, bar the odd period of abusing the linesman closest to us, with people more content to watch the game and pass comment rather than create an atmosphere.

Journey Time home: 50 minutes.  After stopping to get some food before getting back to the car, we left around 10:25pm and got back to the house at 11:15pm.  There was no traffic at all.

All in all, this was again an enjoyable experience.  I was quite glad of the shelter as our area of terracing was spasely populated, so the cover kept some heat in on what was a pretty chilly night.  The steepness of the steps meant that I could see the whole pitch no problem, and standing behind a crush barrier made it easier to stand for the entire game.  It was nice to find a ground so close to the centre of town, meaning we could have a cheeky KFC before heading back to the car.  Even with a relatively small crowd the atmosphere was good and the ground didn't look empty, but it would be nice to come back on a day when the ground is sold out.  The only downside was the quality of the football being played.  Hereford really do look like a side struggling to stay in this division, and although Aldershot were the better team and attempted to try different things, more often than not they resorted to the long ball.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon v Macclesfield Town
Cherry Red Record's Stadium (Kingsmeadow)
Tuesday 24th January

Journey Time to the ground: 1 hour 20 minutes.  Left the house at 6pm and parked up at 7:20pm.  Would have been quicker but for traffic getting out of Reading and on the M25.

Parked 5 minutes walk from the ground.  Plently of street parking available in side roads off Kingston Road.

Ticket Price: £10 in advance.

Programme Price: £3.

Had tickets on the John Smith's Terrace.  Entered via turnstiles at the far end of the Paul Strank Stand, after passing a burger van and the clubhouse.  My bag was searched on the way into the ground.  Inside the ground passed the toilets, first aid portakabin and another burger van.  To get to the John Smith's Terrace we had to walk across the front of the Tempest Stand behind the goal to the other side of the ground.  The John Smith's Terrace had a burger van in the corner between it and the Tempest Stand.  The stand is split between home and away fans and we were in the home end.  The terrace is partially covered towards the middle of the stand, but arriving five minutes before kick off we were left in the open in line with the edge of the 18 yard box.  The terrace consists of three shallow steps and standing on the middle step, surrounded by lots of men a lot taller than me I could see around three quarters of the pitch, but could follow all the action by moving around a bit.  The area was almost full to capacity as Wimbledon tend to pretty much sell out home games.
The rest of the ground consists of two covered terraces behind both of the goals, the Tempest Stand and the Kingston Road End, and the Paul Strank Stand, a neat all seated stand on the opposite side to the John Smith's Terrace.

The first half was pretty scrappy with Wimbledon having the better of the play but the half ended 0-0.  Wimbledon started the second half well, but Macclesfield went ahead against the run of play in the 56th minute, with a goal from just inside the penalty box.  Wimbledon hit back almost straight away and equalised two minutes later with a spectecular drive from the left hand corner of the penalty box arrowed into the top corner.  Wimbledon pressed for victory for the remainder of the game and were reward with just two minutes left to play as the ball broke inside the box allowing a goal to be scored from just inside the six yard box.

Attendance: 4,000 with 105 from Macclesfield.

Atmosphere:  The Wimbledon fans created a great atmosphere with almost non stop singing coming from behind the goal.  Even in the uncovered terrace it seemed pretty loud.  I was greatful that it didn't rain, as it had been for much of the day and due to the almost capacity crowd, it didn't feel cold at all, considering it was an evening match in late January.

Journey Time home: 1 hour.  Walked back to the car and left just after 10pm arriving home at 11pm.  It helped that we went in the opposite way to the traffic, but to be honest, it wouldn't have taken much longer if we had travelled with the traffic.

All in all, a very enjoyable experience from the ease of getting to and from the ground, the packed nature of the terrace and the level of football that was played during the game.  Standing on the terrace reminded me of going to games when I was younger, especially not being able to see everything!

A New Beginning

My second start in blogging has begun.  My last one didn't quite work out, so I am trying a new approach on a new blogspot.  The aim of this blog is for me to share my views on football with the rest of the world.

I will primarily be using this as a platform for my reviews of football league grounds.  I am attempting to complete the 92, and have decided, after 13 years of just collecting memorabilia from the different grounds that I go to, my favourites being my ticket and a programme, that I would also like to produce my own little review of the day.

I haven't decided whether I will be remembering grounds previously visited or if I will decide to revisit them, I suppose it all depends on how much money I have at my disposal and also how much time I have on my hands!

So this could be quite a sporadic blog, or it could be updated frequently, you will just have to check back regularly and see what's new!

Thanks for reading.