Gresty Road - Crewe
For us ex Cheshire boys, Crewe Alex was always a welcome trip. Of late not for footballing reasons, as the Alex have become something of a bogey side for us. Not content with handing out a thrashing to our ten men in the LDV a couple of seasons ago they promptly followed it up with a hiding in the league there 3 weeks later.
Despite recent results Gresty Rd remains one of those quirky stadiums that catch a football fans` affections.
A lot has changed over the years at Crewe, except that is of course for their manager. Mr Gradi has made a lifetime career on managing them.
How To Get There?
Normally the easiest way would be by train. Fans are being quoted £22 return from the Pool and an extended journey is expected due to track maintenance from P*****n downwards. If you are content on filling Mr Branson`s` already deep pockets, turn left out of the railway station and the ground is a couple of minutes walk away.
By car for the fans travelling from the North my advice is to take J17 off the M6. Cross back over the motorway following the signs for Sandbach. You will pass a Texaco garage on your left and just stay straight on this road. This will become the Sandbach bypass after you pass through 1 x set of lights quickly followed by a Safeway superstore on your right. This is a straight road. After approx 5 / 6 miles follow the signs to the town centre and you will see signs on your left saying "away fans car parking". This leads you to an industrial estate where there is parking a plenty, and is a 10 min walk to the ground.
From leaving the motorway you will be parked up within 15mins.
For us travelling from the south it will be good old J16. Follow the signs heading towards the town centre.
Where To Drink? Maybe A Spot To Eat?
Get there early enough and you may get into their supporters club bar. Failing that there is the Royal Hotel, where home and away fans have separate bars. Bouncers will be on the doors from 12.Crewe town centre isn`t a Mecca for Saturday nights but there is a number of various sized pubs that will suitably quench that early Saturday afternoon thirst. No ale on sale for us in the away end.
I suppose at this point I should mention the Gresty Rd chippy. Well documented for the batter and chips on offer. In the ground chicken balti rules supreme, and on previous tastes very nice they are too.
Set in a picturesque setting in the shadow of the railway station and terraced housing Gresty Rd is basically a 2 stand ground. A huge stand holding 7000 accommodates the majority of home fans, for us we have the pleasure of a side ways view of the action in the fancily named Blue Bell BMW stand. This stand provides a decent view of the action and will take 1600 Pool fans.
Due to the low roof we`ll be able to make a good noise here.
There is available additional seating for 300 away fans if required (we won`t need it) and it seems a lifetime ago that we used to be held in the stand to our right which is now used for home fans.
We will have to buy our tickets before entering the ground, ala Franchise FC style, this should be fun.
The Plod And Stewards
Can`t say that I can recall much about the stewarding at Crewe which must be a good point, and I expect that the OB will be there in force, due to the anticipated number of Pool fans expected to make the journey.
Our last visit there did see a small fracas after the game by the chippy. Plod were there quick, and only the fish got battered (I`m here all week!!).
Crewe are a decent side at home. 5 successive home wins means that Pool will have to be on their game to take something from our visit.
Not the easiest of grounds to take points from Alex are known to be a footballing team. If Pool can produce a footballing performance as witnessed by the nation on our last travels then hopefully we can continue in our quest to climb up the table.
Fear Factor - 5
Thankyou to Essex for providing a great service to away fans.