Tag Archives: Away Day Review

Cheltenham Town – Away Day Review

A ground that is referred to as ‘The World of Smiles’ was the venue for Rovers’ most recent away fixture. Taking the result into account, this is the perfect name for such a ground after Rovers fans left in very high spirits – astonished by the first away victory since January – but there are some aspects that may cause fans to question how apt the title truly is…

The ground is located just outside the centre of Cheltenham, meaning that it is surrounded by a plethora of places to get a pre-match meal or drink. This convenient location meant they had loads of decent places to park, once again at refreshingly cheap prices.

Even though Cheltenham are a team that have spent the last few years in non-league, their ground is surprisingly modern in comparison to some grounds in our division. There was actual working toilets and the seats were undercover which was very useful when the heavens opened during the game. However, I was honestly underwhelmed at the lack of character in the ground. In fact, the most unique and interesting aspect of the stadium is its whimsical name.

Despite there being loads of places to eat around the ground, when I read online they sold reasonably priced Pukka Pies I decided that eating in the stadium was a wise choice. I was very, very wrong. The only kind of pie they sold by the time I got there was chicken and mushroom and I don’t know anyone who actually likes that flavour and would order it by choice. Instead, I ordered chips. As I watched the woman prepare these for me, I realised that she had them in the fryer for maybe a minute at most. After eating them, it became very apparent that these were just raw.

Overall, ‘The World of Smiles’ didn’t leave me with that much to smile about. It wasn’t really anything special, but winning there certainly moved it up the rankings considerably. I think at the end of the day results will always swing my opinions of a place, and I’d love to visit again regardless of the quality if we can perform as well as we did.

Lizzie Robinson

Away Day Review – Colchester United

It takes a certain brand of idiot to travel for a total of seven hours to watch any football game, especially when your team losing seems inevitable. Luckily, I am one of those idiots and I had quite a depressing day on good Friday to say the least.

In an attempt to stop thinking about actual football for a little while, I am going to discuss Colchester’s Community Stadium and explain my overall thoughts about whether that immense amount of travel time was really worth it, results aside.

This newly built stadium is clearly one of the first components in a future major development of land and it lies in the middle of nowhere on the outskirts of the Essex town. The surrounding area, which is currently a massive grassland and some small unofficial carparks, promises to become a large complex with food outlets, shops and many other exciting amenities. Currently though, this area is as dead as my hopes that Rovers will stay up this season. Maybe next year when we play them in League 2 things will have changed.

The Colchester Community Stadium is a really nice little ground, and it was pleasant to sit there and sunbathe for 90 minutes, basking in the lovely Essex weather – even though I did experience some minor sunburn. The in-ground facilities are excellent and the toilets and concourse areas in both the home and away ends were clean and impressed me beyond belief.

Before the match there was some excellent entertainment on offer. The home concourse was open to fans of both teams serving an array of drinks and snacks. Once these had been purchased, a football fan could sit and watch a live local band perform before the game began. It was really nice to sit and take in the lovely little atmosphere that had been created and you can see why Colchester are renowned for being a good family club as fans of all ages, from both teams, seemed to enjoy themselves. It really made up for the lack of things to do due to the ground’s location on the very outskirts of town.

I’d also like to give a shout out to the in-ground DJ, who played some absolute classics on the PA system. Singing along to ‘This Charming Man’, sleeves rolled up on my thermals (which I regret wearing) in an attempt to start tanning my pasty skin and watching Keegs warm up in front of me before the game made me feel great, something I’d forgotten was possible at a Doncaster Rovers match in recent times.

My only real complaint was that the pies were far too hot to touch for a good five minutes, I honestly thought I was going to develop scorch marks on my hands when I was handed it.

Perhaps if the result has gone in Rovers’ favour, the few hundred fans who travelled would have thoroughly enjoyed their trip down South on a bank holiday because there isn’t really much to complain about Colchester. Apart from the fact we got absolutely battered by them of course.

Highbury – Away Ground Review

‘Just a tram-stop in Blackpool’, a chant sang by the Rovers fans at the game yesterday is probably one of the more accurate ways to describe our away trip to the coast…

As much as I love seaside towns, Fleetwood is one of the quietest places we’ve been to on our travels this season with the best nearby pub being the Wetherspoon’s next to the tower and the central pier in Blackpool.

The ground itself really shows the success story of Fleetwood since escaping non-league football a few years ago. You could liken the vast majority of the ground (excluding the new stand) to places like The Northolme, home of Gainsborough Trinity, and other grounds belonging to sides who aren’t currently in the football league. This obviously means that there is quite a lot of traditional character which you don’t seen very often as a Rovers fan.

We also got to experience the luxury that is terracing. Nothing gets better than standing up for 90 minutes, jumping about behind the goal and I wish there were more grounds with areas for safe standing across the country because it really improves the atmosphere.

Despite the ground’s appearance leaving a lot to be desired, the prices of things were what you would expect from a Championship ground. £3.50 for a pie is daylight robbery and don’t get me started on ticket prices. I could rant about that for hours.

Not only were the pies overpriced, the snack bar was a huge disappointment. No alcohol on the terrace, no burgers and the most obscure pie brand I’ve seen in a while. They’d even sold out of chicken balti ones by the time I arrived at the front of the queue so I had to settle for ‘peppered steak’.

One of the few saving graces the ground did have was the pleasant surprise of the toilets. No strange smells, working flushes, clean seats and floors. It was madness. I’ll admit though it is a bit worrying when you visit a ground and the quality of the ladies’ toilets is the thing you’re most impressed by.

Overall I think that Fleetwood is a decent away trip. This isn’t due to the ground itself, but because of the great day out many fans had in Blackpool before the game and the thrill of having terracing to stand on. If the result had been a bit more positive perhaps I would find the ground a bit more bearable and this whole review would have been more positive, but that’s another story altogether.