Away Days - Walsall

First Impressions -- Around the ground -- The Game -- The Stand -- Overall -- Pictures

Fixture: Walsall vs PNE
Competition: NPower League One
Ground: Bescot Stadium
Date: Saturday 15th October 2011
Kick off: 3pm
Final Result: 1-0

First Impressions

With the ground being right next to the M6, I had been past the ground many times. Its not one I was particularly looking forward to visiting as my initial impressions were that it looked like a B&Q, but I had to tick the ground off sometime so this was an ideal time.

I had opted to go on one of the official coaches as Walsall was only less than 2 hours away and practically just 'down the road'. We got to the ground just over an hour before kick off and the coach parked up next to some massive advertising hoardings. As said, I had been past the ground many times on the M6 and my initial criticisms of the ground seemed completely justified.
The away stand looked completely boring - just corrugated steel and brick. It just didn't seem to have any character at all or any 'redeeming features'. I still had to see the rest of the ground so off I went.

Around the ground

There was certainly not much to see around the ground - the area just seemed completely drab and just seemed to add to the misery of the ground itself. The whole area was devoid of any character - it was just a bland retail park with the ground itself looking like it was part of it (as said above, it had a likeness to a B&Q).

The Main Stand was the only bit of the ground that wasn't a load of corrugated steel, but still I just can't find anything positive to say about it. Anyway, we went in and visited the club shop which was another disappointment. Like others I had previously been to (Chesterfield and Leyton Orient) it didn't seem to sell much else other than clothing. I think clubs like Walsall should think their marketing/retail strategy some what (fair enough they have the likes of Aston Villa, Wolves etc on their doorstep, but look who we've got on ours!).

After that, it was time to continue the walk around the ground and there was nothing much else to see - just more drab corrugated steel. My intial thoughts were that this must be the most drab ground I've ever visited, only rivalled by Glanford Park (Scunthorpe).

We soon made our way into the ground and took our seats - we ended up sat a few rows behind a pillar, great! I could then judge the ground from the inside and I'm afraid my pinions of the place didn't get better. Opposite us was the largest stand at the ground (I forget its name) which gave a 'lopsided' feel to the ground - it did seem a bit odd as the 3 other stands were much smaller. It would've probably looked better if they had extended one of the side stands rather than this end.

The two stands to our left and right also had a number of supporting pillars just like the stand we were in and likewise these also seemed drab affairs with no redeeming characteristics.

I really did struggle to find anything positive about the ground.

The Game

The game ironically reflected my opinion of the ground - drab and utterly, utterly boring. It was a game North End unsurprisingly lost and put in one of the most turgid performances I had ever seen.

Walsall took the lead in the first half with a well taken goal - North End again not learning from mistakes made in previous games and yet againb the defence was an absolute shambles. After that, North End never looked like getting back into the game and the performance showed Phil Brown & the players up as completely clueless.

The PNE line up was questionable from the start though - why play four midfielders including 2 defensive midfielders in Alexander & Ashbee? I knew it was doomed to failure and I was proved well and truly right with the complete knack of any attacking nous.

Overall, the less said about the game, the better! Its one that is easily forgettable!

The Stand

Well where can I start? More negative comments I'm afraid! The stand was absolutely awful - as if being sat behind a pillar wasn't bad enough, the legroom was awful, catering facilities badly lacking, and no proper concourse. It was like a carbon copy of Scunthorpe.

The catering bar (and a small one at that) was located in one corner of the stand (I don't know if there was another one at the other end) which proved problematic at times as the access to the toilets were located in the same area. Great thinking! With people queuing for food, the area was a bit of a 'scrum' at times and this was before the match kicked off, God knows what it must've been like at half time.

If i'm honest, I'm struggling to write much about this stand as the only fitting description of it is 'crap'. The only positive I can think of is that the pies are very good (well the Steak & Kidney at least anyway!). It just seemed an awful place to watch a football match from. It might not be as problematic with smaller followings, but for big followings such as ours (over 1,000), its not very suitable at all.


At least I ticked another ground off and I don't have to go back to this awful, awful place!

The game itself is best forgotten - it was terrible to watch and even more frustrating watching North End play as they did.

It wasn't a very good day at all. The ground is just simply boring & bland and is in a crap area - I've absoluetly got nothing positive to say about the place apart from the Steak & Kidney Pukka Pies! The whole layout of the away stand is quite simply awful and my earlier description of it looking like a B&Q is entirely justified (having said that, thats probably an insult to B&Q!).

Quite simply, an awful ground and one I certainly won't be rushing back to!


Appearance: 4/10
Game: 4/10
Enjoyment: 5/10
Fans: 6/10
Away Stand: 4/10

Overall: 5/10


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