Supporting Your Team Away
This morning on BBC Radio 5, they are talking about the high cost of watching your team in away matches. Admittedly, they were talking mainly about supporting Premiership teams, but there are various issues. The Football Supporters Federation is probably going to start a campaign about it all.
I didn’t go yesterday to see Ipswich play at Cardiff, as the weather just seemed it might be a bit too much. The cost didn’t deter me, although it would have been about £80 return to the Welsh capital. That is First Class with a Senior Railcard.
If I look at other matches I’ve been to I could make a list. Note that I live in London, so although I’m supporting Ipswich, any prices are from the London station, which of course is free for me to get to.
Barnsley – This is one of my favourite trips, as the ticket is always good value and for some reason you can often get good value on the trains. This year I paid £40.95. The stadium is a short uphill walk from the station and everyone was their usual friendly selves, although the seats aren’t the most comfortable. The view is good though. I’d give the whole experience 8/10. It could be improved by a better train service from Sheffield.
Birmingham – I seem to remember this was an expensive ticket and because I was coming from a dinner in Liverpool, can’t quote a ticket price. But I did do the trip for the Aston Villa cup game for £31. The walk to the ground from the local station is very dangerous, as is the station, but the ground was friendly, even if the seats and the view weren’t the best. I’ll give it 4/10, mainly because of that walk and the dreadful local station.
Bolton – This ticket was good value, I seem to remember, and it was a good trip up by train for £79. Everyone was friendly and the seat and view were excellent. I had got my lunch in Carluccio’s in Piccadilly station. I’ll give it 7/10. The only bad bit was the overcrowded trains from Manchester to and from the Reebok.
Brighton – The ticket was again good value, but I got there by a deliberately roundabout route for virtually nothing. Everything at the stadium was excellent, although I did eat in the city centre. I’d give the experience 9/10 and the weather -5/10. It was not a day for doing anything except swimming.
Charlton – I got to this ground free and the ticket was expensive for a crowded seat and a bad view. I’d just give it 5/10.
Crystal Palace – I bought this ticket at the gate and there was no discount, but as I got there for nothing on my Freedom Pass, I can’t complain. But I can complain about the state of the ground, the seat and the view. I’d give it 5/10 at most.
Hull – This was another good value ticket and I got home from Hull for £42.25. I’d gone up to York to see a friend and have lunch, so as I had an excellent gluten free meal on the train coming down, it was a day when I ate very well. I walked to the excellent stadium and everyone was a clone of those at Brighton. i.e. friendly and helpful. Like Brighton, I’ll give it 9/10.
Leeds – The ticket was one of the more expensive, as Leeds don’t do Seniors and the fare up on East Coast was £78.80. We got a reasonably friendly reception from stewards, a hard seat with a reasonable view and I can’t comment on the food as I ate in Carluccio’s in the City Centre, with my friend and her daughter. I’d rate the experience at 4/10. A bus from the station would help a lot here.
Leicester – This was a disastrous game, but I can’t complain about the ticket, the stadium and the stewarding. The train was expensive and virtually empty at £64.35 and there is no easy way to get to the stadium except a long walk. It’s worth no better than 6/10.
Wolverhampton – I actually forgot the ticket I’d bought for £24, so I bought another at the ground for just £14. The return ticket from Euston was just £30 or so. Everybody was very friendly, including the Police, the seats and the view were excellent and I wrote a post about it. My rating would be 10/10, as I can’t think of anything that could have been better.
I shall be adding to this list with visits for the rest of this season. I shall also probably add a few views of other stadia, I’ve been to since I moved to London.
I can split the clubs into groups.
Clubs to Always Visit
Barnsley, Brighton, Hull, Wolverhampton
Clubs to Possibly Avoid
Birmingham, Charlton, Crystal Palace, Leeds
I think too, if you look at the train prices, you would avoid any train company with East in the name, as they aren’t good value. First Hull trains were the best. It also seems that if you book a few days before Virgin’s Senior Advance First is generally good value at a weekend. But then it should be as it is generally empty.