Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Awaydays #3 - Barnsley

OakwellThe club: Barnsley (The Tykes); Oakwell Stadium

The ground: The three developed sides tower over the older stand which has the television gantry perched on its roof. Unusually the stands are separate entities with large gaps in each corner where the turnstiles are located except for the disabled stand between the East and Pontefract Road stands. The newer stands have been clad with brick and given attractive stairwells with large church-like windows. This ground happily combines the old and the new and has the unusual approach of away fans walking through a field which is the away car park! 9/10

The facilities and food: Three quarters of the away end was allocated to Argyle, which is a huge cavernous stand. The concourse seems extremely big because of its height, plus there is an additional outside section between the turnstiles and the stand. There are two sets of very large toilets, and the pie extremely good. 8/10

The stewarding/police: The stewards left the fans alone but did complain about banging on the metal cladding at the back of the stand - the back two rows are cordoned off to prevent this. Just the usual police presence, although one squad car did take an interest in why our minibus had suddenly emptied up near the town - we saw a pub! 8/10

The travelling: You get to know the roads when travelling as it's always the same ones you go on to get anywhere, and the M42 and M1 were being their usual selves with roadworks. The bank holiday didn't help with a spate of accidents over the country, including several pile ups and a detour via the M6 north of Birmingham. even so this journey didn't seem as long as it should have. the stadium is signed from near the M1 but there is a rogue sign that will send you in a loop because of works in the city centre, when you get back to where you started you'll know which one it is! 6/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Oakwell is on the edge of the city centre, but not really near anything in particular. There is a leisure centre next to the ground that permits away fans, or the Prince of Wales pub the other side of 10 (about 15 minutes walk away). the centre is the same distance over the ring road. 6/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Quite quiet considering they were winning, only a few sustained chants all 90 minutes. The supporters before hand were very welcoming and chatty. 5/10

Total score: 42/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27

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