So it’s all done now!
As there was only five clubs, the highlights of the week are thin on the ground.
Best Signposted Stadium of the Week
Wimbledon was the easiest to find, as I just got on a bus and waited until, Kingsmeadow was announced. It is one of only a few stadia, which are announced on the buses. Only London stadia can be announced on buses and a few are, although others have their own stations.
Worst Signposted Stadium of the Week
Most Surprising Town of the Week
Wolverhampton surprised me. The ground is fairly close to the centre and easily walkable from either the station or the tram. There’s even an underpass under the busy ring road connecting the ground to the town centre. Quite a few grounds need these. surely, they mean that fans can get a meal or a drink in the centre before or after the match. I seem to remember seeing a report, that the proximity of Portman Road to Ipswich town centre, was worth millions a year to the town.
Dump of the Week
I know Yeovil has evolved over time and totally sold itself to the car, but surely they could do much better. I would be repeating myself endlessly, if I added to what I said on Day 48.
They say you should leave the best to last, but this was not a case of that. But with Yeovil, it was much a case of saving the worst to last.
The only good bit was going to the town on a High Speed Diesel Train changing at Castle Cary for Yeovil Pen Mill.
Before I left, I looked up their web site to see how you get to the ground from the station. My eyes aren’t good, but look at this page, which gives directions to the ground. Trains, buses and walking aren’t even mentioned. So I sent the club an e-mail and of course they didn’t bother to reply. They don’t appear from the site to run a match-day bus either!
When I arrived at the station, I walked to the town centre, along a pleasant path in a country park, but once in the centre, despite plenty of signs to it, I couldn’t find the tourist information centre. I think when I did, it wasn’t signed and it was closed.
So in the end I took a taxi to the ground and got the driver to drop me at the station on the way back. I think we saw just one sign to the ground and that was when you could actually see Huish Park. So I just took a picture and retreated.
The only trouble was I had to wait ninety minutes for the train. But at least the station was worth seeing from an architectural point of view and had been well restored.
I was back at Paddington just before 16:30 to complete my odyssey.
In my travels, I have not found a town or football club with so little information for vistors. I shall not be going again. I certainly won’t have to look far for my dump of the week.
I tried to buy my ticket to Yeovil this morning, but there appeared tobe a problem with all of the rail ticketing web sites. So I had to book later in the afternoon.
The outcome was that my ticket to Yeovil appeared to be more expensive than usual. But try proving it!
I have just looked at the prices of the same trains for the rest of the month.
It doesn’t appear to be the cheapest route, compared to some I’ve sampled in my challenge.
Hopefully, I’ll finish tomorrow, with a trip to Yeovil.
Today though, I’ve done my washing and also got some shopping in.
After visiting the ground, I took the short walk to the city centre and then on to the tram for Birmingham.
On the way home the train stopping at Wembley Stadium.
I could have probably gone to the England Sweden match.
I had to visit the doctor for my Warfarin check, so I took the day off.
Perhaps, I’m slacking, but I only have three more clubs to visit.
This was a visit that showed just how good public transport, and buses in particular, can be.
I thought to get to AFC Wimbledon would have meant a trip by train to Norbiton station, which is just a reasonable walk from the ground according to the club’s website. However the web site also says that it is easy to get to the ground by bus.
You can take the 131 from Wimbledon Station or Kingston Town Centre, which stops right outside the ground.
So I used the 131 bus from Wimbledon.
I started by taking a 21 bus from near my house direct to Monument station, where I got the District line to Wimbledon station. Unluckily, I just missed a direct train, so I had to change at Earl’s Court. But it was only just a walk across the platform.
At Wimbledon I had a short walk to the stop on Worple Road for the 131 bus, which I’d looked up on the excellent spider map at the station.
The picture shows the stop complete with its text details for bus information. I used this and found that I’d have to wait six minutes for the 131. I think perhaps the information was a minute out. But I’ll forgive them that!
The Kingsmeadow stadium is shared with Kingstonian and rather tucked away, but less than a hundred metres from the bus stop called Kingsmeadow.
Twenty-five minutes later and I was back on the train at Wimbledon. I arrived home in time to watch the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
This trip goes to show how with good public transport and especially buses with proper information systems and maps, it is very easy to take a bus to any location in London. Other cities and towns in the UK, should follow the lead of Transport for London.
Some may say rightly, that watching football or any sport for that matter, is a minority interest. but imagine how say an 80-year-old would cope visiting their sibling in hospital at the other end of the country, by buses and trains. The trains aren’t the difficult bit, but outside London, buses are generally fairly dreadful and an information-free and map-free zone.
Although to use a football example here, I could dwell on the insanity of moving the original Wimbledon club to Milton Keynes, where the only way to get to the ground in a reasonable time, I had to use a taxi. No wonder the number of fans, who transferred their support can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.
I’m getting near the end now and as the cough seems to have no sign of abating, I took a quick trip up to Wigan from Euston.
The DW Stadium is another new stadium and some way from the station, but I got a discount from the courteous taxi driver and he got me back in time to take the 13:09 return train from the town. This meant I could see the England against Spain match, when I returned home.
Perhaps I was just being lazy!
This was another doctor’s day, essentially to have my INR levels checked. But there was a machine failure, so I’ll have to have them checked next Monday.
I should say that my INR levels and Warfarin intake has now been the same for nearly eighteen months.