Away Days: AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon 017Away Days: AFC Wimbledon

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


Final thoughts

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.

Away Days: Bristol Rovers (Memorial Stadium)

So I’ve decided on a new feature for whenever I make a rare trip away with the Cobblers. Starting with this weekend’s trip to Bristol Rovers, here is the first in what’s hopefully going to be a few away trips reviewed this season and on-going into the future. I’ll be making each item out of five and giving an overall experience rating at the end. Hope you enjoy!


Bristol Rovers (Memorial Stadium)

Result: Bristol Rovers 3-1 Northampton Town

Attendance: 5,166 (266 Cobblers fans)

I’ve been to the Memorial Stadium three times before this visit, witnessing one draw, one win and one defeat. This fourth outing ended with a disappointing 3-1 reverse with Anthony Charles seeing red in the first half.

Here’s my latest views on the Memorial Stadium…


Location: It’s a tricky little ground to get to. Driving in we got to the general area of the stadium fine but it was only thanks to a quick check of the mobile phone satellite navigation system that we got to within ‘floodlight vision’ distance of the Memorial. No sign posts in view until right up until the very street it’s located on makes it a difficult location. 1/5


Parking/Trains: Didn’t hear any reports from visitors on the trains but the stations seemed relatively simply placed. There used to be a big car park next to the ground but that’s now gone having been replaced by new housing so it was street parking only. Having said that, there was plenty of free parking in the streets nearby. 3/5


Pre match drinks: Despite being the only Cobblers fans in the supporters’ bar right outside the home terrace (and overlooking the pitch from the windows) there was no problems at all with us being there. Rovers have two bars at the ground, one for members and one for non-members and we were happily told by a helpful gent outside that the non-members one would let us in. Seems like that gesture is based on a match by match judgement but managed to get a pint very quickly and had no trouble whatsoever. 4/5


Away end: Away fans have the option of a terrace at the end of one side of the pitch or seating behind the goal. We went for the terrace and it was a pretty mixed bag. We were close to the action but the sun was in our eyes for the most part which obviously is not a judgement on the away end as a whole but still a small problem. We also couldn’t see the corner at the far end that we were sitting on. Opinion from behind the goal was that it seemed a better option but if you prefer your terracing then the problems I had above won’t ruin your day too much. 2/5


Food: Whilst not in the class of a Kidderminster (League Two misses Aggborough for its delicacies!) this is one of the better quality outlets I’ve eaten from in this division. There’s one reason for this and that’s the pasties, which are absolutely top notch and come in cheese and onion and meat varieties. My mate Pete actually sampled both on the day and gave them both top marks. The positioning right on the terrace makes it a bit difficult when a queue forms but that’s the only thing against it, perhaps as well as variety of food and drink on offer. 4/5


Atmosphere: This category is mostly based on context in terms of how said club are doing at the time but Rovers fans didn’t get going until they took the lead. Late on, when the points were secured they seemed a lot more relaxed and ready to let out their voices that were being rested through the rest of the match and I can see how there is potential for a good atmosphere when their side is going well. On this occasion, though, it’s not getting top marks. 2/5


Overall value for money: I have to forget the result for this one and base it on the experience as a whole which can be tricky, especially after a defeat. But based on a non-intimidating atmosphere, decent facilities and good food I’m going to give the Memorial Stadium 3/5 overall.


Final thoughts: It still has the feel of a ‘proper’ League Two ground and that can sometimes be refreshing. I hear that they plan to move in the near future to a new stadium away from the Memorial…I can’t say I will mourn the loss because of the stadium not really possessing the sufficient character of some others that have been lost in the past few years like the Vetch Field or Gay Meadow but I just hope that the pasties stay as good!