Date:Wednesday March 19 2008
The Britannia Stadium - Stoke City - SeasideEssexXile
Now the end is near and so we face the final curtain. 7 games to go, for those of us old enough to remember our drop from the 2nd Division it's the start of the squeaky bum time and what a way to start the final run in - Stoke away.
The Britannia has seen some good performances (3-1 Martin Aldridge) and some dire ones (0-2 Payton on loan) over the years but this season's trip with Stoke on a high will be our sternest test yet.
How to Get There
M55, M6 South. Leave at J15 and straight over 2 x roundabouts and you'll see the ground up on your right. You have to drive past the ground under the green bridges and come back on yourself. There is literally 1 road in and 1 road out (great planning by the Staffs council) and parking is a nightmare. There's an industrial bit up past the ground including a gym etc - my advice follow a local and park as they do. Not unknown for tickets a plenty to be dished out on a match day as it is literally easy pickings. Alternatively use the South Car Park. Costs £4 and tickets must be purchased in advance from the Britannia Stadium ticket office. You will need to keep your ticket in view as you enter and park on the car park including the duration of the match. Get there early enough and there is parking at the Power League Complex next to the ground.
For the Virgin lovers amongst us - it's 3 miles from the station to the ground. £3 for a return bus ride using the shuttle from Glebe St, much safer to use a joey.
Just over 10 years old The Britannia has an imposing look about it. Our common Mathews bond is marked with a statue of the maestro outside the ground, that said the Victoria wasn`t a pleasant place to visit and Stow ke fans are not normally known for their hospitality. The ground lends itself to expansion to accommodate over 30,000 if they achieve promotion to the Promised Land. It's a nice stadium to be a home fan in. We`ll be sat behind one goal in the Big AM stand. Room for over 4000 here, but with the home crowds on the rise this stand has been shared in recent games. I'll expect a decent away following numbering well over 1000, mainly due to the fact that this is the last away game of the season for many due to the distances left to travel.
There's a cracking view from here and we can generate some good noise.
Where to drink
The trappings of a newish ground - no boozers nearby. There's a Harvester pub close by but not for the faint hearted, previously when playing at Stoke & Vale we've come of the M6 at 16 and head slightly back up on the A34 to Congleton. Less then 10 minutes off the M6 is the Bleeding Wolf a cracking thatched house hostelry where the journey to the ground is approximately 15minutes. Otherwise it's trip in to the town. Ale is on sale inside the ground.
Plod & Stewards
Ah, the friendly stewards, mix together with a sprinkling of the Staffordshire old bill, who I'm sure will not have forgotten our last trip to Vale last season, and depending on what mood they turn up in will dictate how the day will go.
Fear Factor Rating - 7
Exercise a bit of discretion around the ground, especially if we get a result.
Well here we go. It's now 4 games without a win and with games coming thick and fast points anywhere are welcome, none more so at the Britannia. Stoke were deserved winners at Bloomers just before Xmas and here's hoping that as we leave their ground on Saturday it's us who are 'stood there laughing, ha ha ha ha ha'.
Onwards + Upwards
Date:Wednesday March 19 2008
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