By Nathan Jackson
December 4 2011
Newport County are one of four Welsh sides in the top five divisions in the English footballing structure and they have the worst ground of the four. Although not an awful day once I got to the ground, the rest of the day meant that the review is far more negative than it would have otherwise been.
DATES VISITED GROUND
NC 1 LC 0
Getting to Newport via the train is relatively simple, just one change at Nottingham if you’re travelling from Lincoln, and it’s quite a reasonable price considering the distance. However, despite being relatively easy to get to Newport on the train, getting off the train turned out to be a completely different prospect.
I had the inconvenience of having to go to Newport on a day when the Welsh rugby team were playing, something I did not know before I had set off (I have no interest in rugby whatsoever so the thought never came to check). This meant that as we went through rugby towns such as Gloucester, the train became so packed that it became nearly impossible to move. Even with over an hour to go from Gloucester, it became obvious that getting off the train at the intended stop was going to be nigh on impossible, therefore I ended up staying on the train as it went through Newport and had to come back on myself once I actually got to Cardiff.
Once in Newport I got a bit lost and ended up taking the bus, which, for £2.80 for the entire day, is a bit of a bargain, certainly compared to the prices in Lincoln anyway. That takes you to near enough directly outside of the ground, it’s just a pity there’s not really a lot to do around the ground. I’d recommend if you go that you stay in the town area until as late as possible, because Newport Town centre is actually quite nice, and it’s only once you leave the town centre that Newport becomes a bit of a shithole.
However, on the way back into the town centre, ignore what is said on the Football Ground Guide as if you wait for the 43 from outside the ground, you’ll be waiting for quite some time as only the 42 went by in the 40 minutes I was waiting after the game. I still comfortably got back for the train, but please be aware of that just incase you go on the train and you have to make connections.
At the ground the club shop is awkwardly placed inside the ground, which means you have to wait until they open up before you can actually go in and have a look.
The path around to the away turnstiles is extremely thin, narrowing on not even existing. There’s only one set of turnstiles but the stewards that are asked to stand were obviously part of a team who didn’t communicate properly. They were pleasant enough but they were saying that the game had been made all ticket for away fans and that had been confirmed in a meeting with the stewards, that despite all signs and the turnstile operators knowing nothing at all about it.
The ground itself isn’t particular great. There are temporary stands behind both goals, with the away fans getting the smaller of the two. The view from this stand is quite reasonable though, with no obstructions and no roof, which is something that is very rare in the UK (seated stands with no roof).
To the right is a terrace where most of the home support seem to gather and this is where the atmosphere that Newport try to create is made. I say try because their efforts are very mixed, but never loud. During our visit they tried to get some songs going but there’s only so much noise 6/7 fans can make, and so their fans seemed to give up after a while.
To the left is an all seated stand that covers about 2/3 of the pitch. It was a strange stand in the way that the text wasn’t centralised.
One thing I have to comment on is the stewarding at Newport. Not only do they not communicate with each other correctly, but they won’t allow away fans to go on the back row due to the advertising hoardings, the despite the home fans in the opposite stands being allowed to sit on their top row. The excuse given was “People have paid for this advertising”……very few people go away from a football match remembering the advertising hoardings and not once have I seen one and then purchased the advertised product.
The programme is quite reasonable, although could do with some more pictures and fewer adverts.
Overall Newport was ok but there were far too many negative experiences to give it a good review. Granted the transport issues aren’t their fault, but I have to be fair and rate this on the basis of an entire day and getting to a ground.
|Ease of getting to the area||4||Friendliness of fans (outside ground)||6|
|Ease of getting to the ground once in area||4||Friendliness of fans (inside grounds)||4|
|Transport in local area||4||Feeling of safety||10|
|Parking Facitlies||3||Atmosphere (noise)||3|
|Stuff to do near the ground||1||Atmosphere (chant variety)||2|
|Club Shop||4||Facilities in away end||2|
|Away End Quality||5||Quality of food||8|
|View from Away End||7||Stewards||2|
|Rest of the Ground||4||Quality of games on visits||2|
|Programme||5||Chances of a non-Lincoln visit||0|
|Total (out of 200)||80|