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Reflections on a rare visit to AP

Due to geography only get to one or two home games a year, tend to do more away. But Saturday saw my first appearance of the season at AP. So here are a few thoughts
1) Has to be said the access to the ground is depressing. Dull suburbs miles away from town and then a pretty run down industrial estate. Can't immediately think of a less appealing location around the away games I have been to (Yeovil is bland but no industrial estatw, Newport is err Newport. But is AP the worst of all?
2) Once you get there it all changes. Beautiful setting and now feels a fairly vibrant atmosphere. A couple of years ago I went to a home cup game against Preston. It was a stunningly depressing occasion - dull sullen atmosphere, few people around, feeling of decline. Frankly wondererd why anyone bothered to go. but now, it feels enjoyable and lively again.
3) Is it just me or are linesmen getting younger? And less competent. In all my years of watching football, the flag for the disallowed goal was the latest I have ever seen. Whether he was eventually right in what in the end was a pure guess, I couldnt tell, but there was plainly no more information available to him when he changed his mind and stuck his flag up apart from our players shouting at him. Appalling officiating. No wonder the ref wasnt convinced but in the end had to go with his decision.
4) Just like the first cuckoo of spring, always a joy to hear the first "conference standard at best" shouts of a new season......
5) Good to hear Mcclure get a good reception and applause when teams read out at 2:40 or so. Wish him luck for the future. somehow his day summed up his Wycombe career, good early impression, faded a bit and then ultimately disappointed at the end.
6) Look I know we all want to win but blimey guys a little perspective please. A couple of guys round me were literally white faced, quivering bottom lip in their anger at players who apparently werent trying (why did Banton fail to dribble around 8 opposition players before doing a double somersault with pike before falling to his knees on t e line to head the ball in, why did Holloway not charge 40 yards to surprise the keeper as he dribbled with the ball at his feet, why did the ref not give seven penalties, three red cards and life imprisonment). Jesus guys its only a bog standard fourth division league game, its not THAT important. Calm down a little and maybe try to enjoy it a little!.
7) Oh and the football? Pretty standard league 2 stuff. We'll do OK.


  • On point 1, I can think of several much more depressing surroundings of away grounds. Bradford springs to mind immediately, and Port Vale is like walking through the set of The Wire.

  • I wonder what proportion of Gasroomers are ST holders and what what proportion see few if any games at AP.

  • It will be sad day for some people who work on Hillbottom Road, but it is only a matter of time until they redevelop the area into a housing estate. It will be a good thing for the club though.

  • at least Bradford and Port Vale have a touch of character. Col U's new ground is awful. On the side of a dual carriageway, miles away from anywhere and utterly soulless.

    Oxford as well, and then you get in and the ground is missing a side.

    Northampton is similarly shit. Stoke and Reading as well. Just hulking out of town identikit grounds with no character or charm.

  • @DevC C'mon Dev it isn't that bad walking along HB Road! Hardly a murder scene from an industrial estate in "Cracker"? I can think of many worse approaches. What are you looking for? Tree lined avenues with hanging baskets adorning the pavements? As industrial estates go at least it doesn't feel enclosed and intimidating. The worst of the experience is as we are all aware is limited access and thee is nowt that can be done about it.

  • I actually quite like the ''walking to the football'' feel you get as supporters flock in their hundreds up Hillbottom Road

  • DevC's post should be added to the 25 year retro section on Has there ever been a review of a new stadium more than 25 years after it's construction? Can't immediately think of any.

  • Port Vale is dreadful.

  • Thanks @DevC. "Dull suburbs miles away from town and then a pretty run down industrial estate."
    I happen to live in those dull suburbs and I quite like them so you Can shove that comment where the sun doesn't shine - we can't all live in some wonderful utopian dream. Plus have you never been to LUTON! or BRISTOL ROVERS or SAARFEND.? or loads of other clubs..

  • Middlesbrough is the worst hell hole I've ever been to for I think was a League Cup game years ago. Burnley takes a bit of beating as well!!

  • 2-3 home matches a season, like the 'football row' walk up HB road, would be nice with hanging flowers though! Bugger the negativity in finding better or worse grounds or approaches, be nice to start a Hillbottom Road Beautification Fund though, wouldn't it. All Beechdean ice cream and utopian dream!

  • Well as for point No 1, what a load of old cobblers, where do you think a ground should be? Bravo Rotherham for building in a City centre on a brown field site. I love the fact that grounds are still in old areas, nothing quite like walking to both Sheffield clubs or walking down the Warwick road to Carlisle, the throngs in the Pubs.

  • @MBS said:
    Middlesbrough is the worst hell hole I've ever been to for I think was a League Cup game years ago. Burnley takes a bit of beating as well!!

    I went to that one mile on mile of chemical plants and tenements you could taste the zinc in the atmosphere. Oh and what about Millwall that was always a joy to visit.

  • @DevC Since no one else has bothered to say it, thanks for a long and entertaining post. Doesn't mean I agree with all of it, but it was a good read.

  • Regarding awful away trips, the journey to Huish Park by public transport is an absolute nightmare - by far my worst away trip. Millwall is certainly far less pleasant than Adams Park. Coming down from Castlefield down New Road and then joining the blue quarters-wearing crowd along Lane End Road and Hillbottom Road. The industrial estate isn't any great shakes, but you're soon enough in the ground and surrounded by some picturesque countryside on three sides.
    The new out-of-town grounds at Reading, Colchester, Stoke really are in bland uninspiring locations. I can't comment on how sketchy the area around Vale Park was, I went there by coach and didn't get to enjoy the full experience of walking around the mean streets of Burslem.

  • I certainly wouldn't put Port Vale in the same category as Kenilworth Road. My recollections of the couple of times I've been there are of a ruined temple, an excellent pub selling the local Titanic Ales and some interesting historical dereliction charting the decline of the potteries. Spooky but atmospheric. The ground itself is massively oversized and like a reverse Hampton Court maze to get into.

    The clubs where my heart truly sinks when I realize an awayday is imminent are Wimbledon (sod to get to by car or by train which belies the fact that it's only 35 miles or so distant and when you get there you can't see anything anyway), Dagenham & Redbridge (like a 5 mile wide Hillbottom Road with a tiny ground in the middle of it and no decent pub), Colchester United's new ground (surroundings as featureless as the surface of Mars), Northampton and Oxford (both identikit grounds in the middle of lowest common denominator retail parks. The only noticeable difference being that one isn't finished), Gillingham (seedy town, temporary stand that's been there for years and they charge a fortune to get in. Found a decent pub last time though), Bristol Rovers (horrible ground, horrible fans) and Luton (defies description...).

    Against this little lot, the walk down Hillbottom Road is almost uplifting!

  • Not sure that slagging of the local housing is going to win you any fans my man . Also it may only be " a bog standard fourth division league game " but I pride myself on supporting my local club rather than sitting in my armchair watching the over hyped billion pound machine which is the premiership with their overpaid is as important for me that we beat one of our "standard league 2 " rivals as it is for a Man Utd armchair sky junky to want his team to beat Chelsea . I am not one of the people you mentioned but why have less passion because we are a small club in a lower league ?

  • blimey that was an unexpected reaction.

    Reality is the ground is there and is likely to be so for many a year forward yet. Thats a shame. The ideal location for a ground is IMHO close to the centre of town/city similar to Exeter or York, allowing a wander round town maybe a drink in a characterful pub or cafe, do a bit of shopping if that is your idea of fun, maybe a stroll round the local cathedral or along the sea front etc depending on the town before a stroll to the ground. it will be a great shame for example when York move out of town. The ideal location is not out in the suburbs at the end of an industrial estate! but i am old enough to remember why the ground ended up where it is and like it or not, its where it is.

    To be fair I had forgotten Luton and have never had the pleasure of Port vale or Middlesboro so maybe "worst" is overstating it. But I imagine on any list of least popular away grounds the combination of being stuck out way out of town at the end of an industrial estate with poor access would have Adams Park a long way down the list.

  • edited August 2015

    Sadly, @DevC , I'm surprised that you're surprised at any reaction to your posts!

    I agree particularly about York; lovely old ground, lovely city, great shame to see them leave Bootham Crescent but once again it's about money and survival (and exploitation, sadly - though absolutely not by the current owners who are a model of what good local owners shoudl be). I don't think the new ground will be as badly situated as some soulless new grounds; also parking will be easy (nightmare at BC) and access generally improved but it just won't be the same.

    Incidentally the move's just been delayed until 2017.

  • Luton's may be a dump, but you can't say getting in an out is bland or uninspiring. You can almost touch someone's bedroom window on the way out - how mad is that?

    My dull and uninspiring votes would go to Scunthorpe and Walsall - you can barely tell them apart. When there's a slate grey winter sky the boxy stands and the blanket of cloud become one.

  • You have to build where you can get permission and land is affordable. Grounds built long ago did not have that to worry about and almost any kind of redevelopment requires a move out of town. That is stating the obvious and just has to be accepted as it's too late to turn the clock back.

  • @wingnut Not in all cases. The New York stadium in Rotherham is 700 yards walk (500 direct) from Millmoor. Leicester City, Burton Albion, Cardiff City and Arsenal literally built over the road! Congrats To Rotherham and Leicester for building on Brown field city centre sites. Brentford will follow soon. Its more important than ever to redevelop interior areas of our towns and Cities.

  • Well it wasn't allowed here and never will be. Many large towns and cities with areas of former industrial land had the brown field sites which you mention. They were not available locally, due partly to the hilly terrain, so we were lumbered with what we have ended up with. If you can think of a suitable site in the town where permission would be granted, I will be surprised. Also it depends on the funds available to individual clubs. Arsenal had large funds and a stadium suitable for development which earned a lot of money for them.

  • And what was wrong with Booker?.... Oh....

  • @wingnut I think Hillbottom Road was actually our 3rd choice for a site, and that only went ahead because the Dept of the Environment overturned WDC which rejected every proposal put forward. Perhaps someone else can remind me of the first and second choices, but I think Terriers may have been one.

  • Yes, Terriers Farm was first choice I am sure I remember. It is still there and no doubt will be built on eventually. At the time Hillbottom Road was way down the list and as you say only allowed on appeal.

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