Away Days - West Bromwich Albion

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

Fixture: West Bromwich Albion V Preston North End
Coca Cola Championship
The Hawthorns
Tuesday 26th December 2006
Kick off:
Final Result:
4-2 Alexander, Nugent

First Impressions

As soon as the fixtures were first announced way back in pre-season, I marked this fixture as a 'must attend'. I always fancied getting this ground ticked off and I was impressed with the pictures i've seen of it.

Anyway, the ground is very close the M5 so that was a plus point in terms of access. Upon turning off we had a police escort so the coaches could park up in the designated street. From here I had a decent view of the ground and I soon saw just why The Hawthorns is the highest ground in the country.

Upon getting off the coach we had to walk up a long slope towards the Smethwick End, where we would be sitting. It certainly looked a smart stand to say the least.

Around the ground

As usual, I wanted a walk around the ground. We opted to head through the gates and round the East Stand were I took a few pics. This looked quite impressive and certainly different, which always makes a change.

We then walked over to the equally impressive Jeff Astle gates. I thought these are a fitting tribute to, not just an Albion, but a footballing legend.

After taking a couple of pics of the gates we decided against walking the whole way round and headed to the club shop. Bizarrely we had to queue to get in! Needless to say my Dad wasn't impressed when they didn't have any fridge magnets!

We decided to head back to the Smethwick End so we could all get a pint on the concourse. Before entering though we were subjected to a search, just like what happened at Birmingham. I thought "Christ, is mass paranoia sweeping the West Midlands?!". Again, I thought it was completely over the top. What peed me off even more was a jobsworth steward asking me to put my camera away. I told him that I only wanted pics of the stands and he told me to use it 'discreetly'. Jesus wept!

Anyway when we finally got in, the concourse was a bit cramped and the queues for the bar were too long, so we decided to hold back on the beer and get them at half time instead.

We headed straight for our seats and of course I could make more judgment on the ground. It was even more impressive inside then it was outside. Again, I thought the East Stand was very impressive and there was a good mixture of 'different' stands (if that makes any sense!). The ground seemed compact and we were close to the action, which is always a plus point for me. In fact it felt quite 'homely' and much better than some of the boring bowls i've visited recently.


This was quite disappointing to say the least. Although the actual toilets were ok, the access to them was extremely poor - just two doors at either end.

The catering bar wasn't much cop either. Just one bar (can't remember if there was another or not) was serving. Luckily we took note of how bad it was before kick off, so me and my brother went down early just before half time and got all the beers in.

The concourse as a whole was pretty cramped and I don't know why they couldn't have made better use of the space when the stand was first built.

The Stand

The stand as a whole looked quite impressive but the facilities (as said above) were not quite so impressive.

The legroom in the stand was quite tight and this backed up my question on why they couldn't have made better use of all the space when t he stand was first built. Its not as if a main road was running behind it.

But on the positive side the view was excellent and, as already stated, being close to the action was another plus point.


Just like Birmingham, the search before going in was completely over-the-top. Its like they try to purposely pee you off! But this time, it didn't quite ruin my day.

Despite the bad result, I enjoyed the very entertaining match and the day out. So that's another ground ticked off and its certainly a good one!


Appearance: 8/10
Facilities: 6/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Fans: 8/10
Away Stand: 7/10

Overall: 7/10