Monday, 4 February 2008

Awaydays #15 - Fratton Park

The club: Portsmouth (The Blues), Fratton Park

The ground: Who said you need a spanking new stadium to be successful (except anyone at Argyle)? Portsmouth have just adpated what was there, and until very recently there wasn't even a roof on the away end. However they remain in a cramped position hemmed in by housing and industrial areas, and apart from added seats and the roof nothing else has changed since the 80s; even the food kiosk is a wooden hut precariously held up over the old terrace using breeze blocks. But the forced seating has made the stand fairly cramped. The rest of the ground looks similar with 4 separate stands including a double decker grandstand. But Portsmouth do move with the times - they have electronic turnstiles, and without the usual barcode on the ticket I am still at an end to work out how they work. 6

The facilities and food: The concourse is a narrow open walkway along the back of the stand with a refreshment kiosk at one end at the top of the entrance/exit stairs. The toilets are located halfway down those steps causing queuing everywhere, which leave no room to move. The toilets were exactly the same as the Mayflower enclosure - ie a wall painted black and the refreshment kiosk ran out of hot food by half time - however the pies were superb. Likewise the chuckwagons around the ground sell huge side-plate sized burgers for a very reasonable price. 5/10

The stewarding/police: Didn't notice them during the game, but there were plenty about before the game. 8/10

The travelling: Goes on forever considering we're on the same coastline (TV reporters take note), but there are a variety of routes you can take including via France if you so wished(!) but very easy to get to from the M27/A27. The ground has no real parking facilities so the local streets get pretty jammed up. Fratton Park station is nearby. 5/10

The surrounding area (what's there to do outside the ground): Apparently there are quite a few no go areas for away fans - especially round the station. However there is a huge pub on Eastern Avenue as you enter the city that is very efficient. 5/10

The home fans (their contribution to the atmosphere etc): Very quiet for a Premier League team. Much like any team only really got going after each goal and then fizzled out but individually chatting to them in the burger queue they seemed friendly enough. 5/10

Total score: 34/60

Awaydays League Table:

Barnsley (Oakwell Stadium) - 42

Blackpool (Bloomfield Road) - 38
Charlton Athletic (The Valley) - 38
Crystal Palace (Selhurts Park) - 38
Hull City (KC Stadium) - 38
Sheffield United (Bramall Lane) - 38
QPR (Loftus Road) - 36

Cardiff City (Ninian Park) - 34

Portsmouth (Fratton Park) - 34
Burnley (Turf Moor) -33
West Ham (Boleyn Ground) - 31
Layer Road (Colchester) - 32
Stoke City (Britannia Stadium) - 28
Torquay United (Plainmoor) - 27
Watford (Vicarage Road) - 27

Note that I was unable to go to Carrow Road or Portman Road.

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