Wednesday, 6 December 2006

Stadium Review #6 - St Andrews

Ground Information: St Andrews (Birmingham City FC) Capacity 30,016

Appearance: Like Home Park, St Andrews has a touch of the traditional, with its old stand down one side of the ground, which contrasts starkly against the two tiers next to it. The three different stand designs made for a lot for the eye to take in and the flaired sides were rather odd. Where I was sat (far top left of the Railway end), you're barely in the stadium and quite remote from the action. 7/10

View: Apart from beeing miles away and having direct line of sight over the back of the lower tier of the Kop, there were no restrictions at all, meaning you got a very good view of our poor performance. 6/10

Getting there: People have commented that this is a very well signed stadium, and as you would expect from such a large city, there are many ways to reach it from the surrounding motorways. A 20 minute walk from New Streets station wouldn't be too taxing by anyone's standards. 6/10

Facilities (toilets, TVs etc): BCFC must have seriously understimated our away support, and as we had sold out all 2,500 tickets before the day, it's not like they hadn't had any warning. The concourse was very cramped and the toilets inadequate for the 2,700 that turned up. Maybe it's because I spotted this sign posted high up on a pillar, stating that the concourse was only licenced to hold 1,260 people - oops. There were no TVs. 5/10

Food and Drink: Reasonable priced, but wofully unprepared. The usual pies were available plus some oddities like a 'pizza pasty'. The Chicken Balti pie is highly recommended, plus the bitter/lager was on tap. 6/10

Stewarding/Police: The second time I stood all match. The stewards succeeded in getting people to sit down up to three rows in front of me but then gave up. 8/10

Surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Some people say the area's too rough for away supporters and it's best to drink in the city, however I ended up in the Cricketer's Arms round the back of Morrisons - very very small, watered down lager but friendly locals. Alternatively you can go to the Woolworth superstore or Morissons caf├ęs if that's what appeals to you - and judging by some matchday photos I've seen, they were popular. 5/10

Home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Were good when 2-0 and 3-0 up singing "Keep right on to the end...", something which is seriously lacking at Home Park. 5/10

Total score: 48/80

Stadium League Table:
[Poltair Park (St Austell): 57]
Stadium of Light (Sunderland): 55
Ricoh Arena (Coventry):51
Walkers Stadium (Leicester): 50
St Andrews (Birmingham): 48

Roots Hall (Southend): 41

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