Pride Park - Derby County
They say home is where the heart is. Luckily for the Directors of the club following the release of the clubs` accounts I suppose they are quite relieved to have 2 away games on the bounce and the opportunity to let the anger die down a little before we return to Bloomers. The last 3 home games have seen us pick up a paltry 2 points. The last 3 away league games however, have seen us return with the maximum 9.
Perhaps the team are following the Chairman`s example - by 'taking as much as you can away from Bloomfield Rd`.
How to get there
M55 M6 South to J16. Take the first exit off the roundabout and join the A500. Follow the signs to the A50, then when on the A50 head towards Uttoxeter. The A50 heads to Derby where you join the A38 which is the Derby ring road. The ground is signposted from the 38.
Parking, away fans are offered the Derby Conference Centre at a cost of £5. Parking on the estate is an absolute nightmare and with a large crowd expected you could still be sat there when the whistle blows for Mondays` game.
For the sat navvers - DE24 8XL
For the Virgin lovers amongst us
he ground is about a 10- 15 minute walk from Derby railway station. Leave the station, turn right and at the bottom of the road turn right again and the ground is then visible.
Pride Park is an impressive looking stadium, despite the blandness of the retail park location. With a capacity of 33,500 this ground was built with the Premiership in mind.
The stadium was completed in 1997 and replaced Derby County's previous ground, the Baseball Ground which was Derby`s home for 102 years. It was officially opened by the Queen on the 18th July, with a friendly against Sampdoria following on 4 August.
The first competitive league match to be played there was against Wimbledon. The floodlights failed part way through the match and it had to be abandoned.
Despite the facilities, Derby were unsuccessful in their application to be one of the grounds making up the doomed 2018 England World Cup bid.
The view is good, and not a fading seat was in sight on my last visit. Oddly enough one corner is filled completely with executive boxes.
We`ll be sat at one end of the ground. Room for 3,000, the Tuesday night will mean around the 800 mark making the trek.
Where to drink
As with all new grounds pubs in the immediate area are limited.
Previously we took in the Harvester pub about a 5 minute walk from the ground. I think they charged £5 for parking but we redeemed this cost off some trough inside. A mix of home and away fans all friendly enough, and the pub had programmes on sale inside too. Away haunts are located around the station. Opposite is the Merry Widows, turn right out of the station and make your way down to The Brunswick or Alexandra Hotel. Beer is on sale inside the ground. The Crown & Cushion on London Rd is also a designated away fans pub. There`s also a Holiday Inn Express, Frankie & Benny`s & a New Orleans pub on the retail park.
Plod & Stewards
Friendly enough on my last visit, I`d be surprised if it is anything different this time round.
Fear Factor Rating - 2
In front of a watching nation we had the tables turned on us by what I consider to have been a poor Hull side. Derby did us a favour by limiting the damage by drawing at Brum, something we didn`t manage but with just the one league defeat in 2012, here`s hoping that come 10pm we`ve taken another step towards the pot of gold that lies at the end of the rainbow. Nobody wants it more than the directors.