In the second of the series looking in more depth at away trips made this season and on-going into the future, I review Tuesday night’s trip to AFC Wimbledon. As with the look at Bristol Rovers earlier in the season, I’ll be making each item out of five and giving an overall experience rating at the end. Hope you enjoy!
AFC Wimbledon (Red Cherry Records Stadium)
Result: AFC Wimbledon 1-1 Northampton Town
I visited this ground a few years ago when Wimbledon were plying their trade in the Conference South. It was interesting to take a look back at that review (which you can see here) to see not only how the club were already on an upwards curve back then but also how far they’ve come in a short amount of time.
Here’s my thoughts on my second visit, this time in the away end as the Cobblers made only their second trip to the ground at which Wimbledon call home at this time.
Location: It was a pretty easy place to find in the end…as below, we used Norbiton station and walked the short and simple route to the stadium from there. The train took us around half an hour from Waterloo station so it was a pretty quick jaunt from there. I hear from drivers that it was OK to get to by car as well. 3/5
Parking/Trains: The ground is pretty well situated about a 15 minute walk from Norbiton station, the route we took in from central London. Once you get onto the main high street there’s easy access down to the ground past a few take aways and local shops. I knew two people who drove to the ground, one parked easily enough in the side streets near the main road and one that used the club car park. The club’s car park appeared quite cramped and tough to escape from but cars were moving at a good pace when we passed it on the way out. 3/5
Pre match drinks: There were a few Cobblers fans milling about in the supporter’s bar where we went for a quick pre match beverage. Home fans were welcoming and there was always the sense that we could mingle together with no fear of any trouble at all. The supporter’s bar housed a big screen and plenty of room. 4/5
Away end: We were allocated the terrace to the side of the pitch and when the singing was at full go there was a good atmosphere thanks to its enclosed nature. I always prefer to stand at away games so that gives it more marks just for being available! There was one gripe about not being able to see some of the action in the corner down from where we were standing but we would have moved if it was that much of a fuss. 4/5
Food: We sampled a burger from outside at the burger van and chips inside whilst waiting for the lights to come back on. The burger was run of the mill chip van material but I can’t say that I enjoyed the chips inside the ground. 2/5
Atmosphere: The home fans were pretty loud when they wanted to be but it perhaps lacks the intimidating atmosphere where teams could fear coming to. It’s a credit to their supporters that this is the case, though, and before, during and after the match there was a friendly atmosphere amongst supporters. 4/5
Overall value for money: Tickets were £15 for adults and £9 concessions which must be one of the cheapest away tickets in the division at this point in time. That makes value for money go up straight away with the only knock on it being the view from the away end when the ball was in the corner down by the home fans on our side of the pitch. That didn’t bother me enough to bring the experience down though so good marks for this too. 4/5
I really liked it…you can tell that you’re playing in League Two but that’s the joy of smaller grounds like this. There’s no pretence about it and the atmosphere was pretty good, especially during the spicier moments of the game! I hope that AFC Wimbledon do find their own home eventually but for the time being this option is perfect for them and should provide a decent day or evening out for most visiting fans.