Newport away – an All At Sea guide

23 Oct

NO anti-Welsh sentiment here. Crossing the Severn Bridge has mostly been a very enjoyable occasion for Southend fans over the last decade or so. There was the incredible, unreal 3-2 win with eight men at the Vetch, then the hard-earned point the following season to help us on our way to the play-off final, in Cardiff, which we subsequently won. And the last time we returned from South Wales, we had been promoted thanks to a pulsating 2-2 draw at the Liberty Stadium which saw certain members of the All At Sea team knocked back several bottles of champers on the First Great Western service back to London.
One of the few highlights of that subsequent Championship season was a cracking 1-0 win at Ninian Park in January 2007, and that was probably a good place to leave our affinity with Wales and we’ve only actually been back once a forgettable defeat at the Liberty in December that year, notably only for its peskiness in spoiling this introduction. Let’s forget it ever happened – yes, Southend tend to enjoy their trips to the valleys.
Now Cardiff and Swansea have shot up the leagues, we’re very much back where we started and have a new destination… Newport County, who went bust and then rose phoenix-like from the ashes. Southend fans of a certain vintage will remember some memorable battles in the land of the Druids, both on and off the pitch.
Indeed, the city’s Wikitravel article does not paint Newport in a particularly good light, proclaiming “Newport is without doubt the roughest city in Wales, but remember we only have six!” Anyone who has been to away games at Cardiff and Swansea in the past will know the drill, no loud comments in English accents and no slagging off of rugby or Charlotte Church should see you right.
Somerton Park has been consigned to history and now the city’s football team play at Rodney Parade, which is predominantly a rugby ground but is very handily placed just over the River Usk from the station and city centre.
Train travellers who have not secured advance ticket prices (the cost was as low as £40 from Essex) will pay £65 for a return from London Paddington. Trains leave at 9am, 9.45am, 10am, 10.15am, 10.45am and 11am (gets in at 1417). On the way home, the 1745 will get you back to London at 2036.
Travelzone and the Shrimpers Trust are running coaches, check out their websites for availability.
Alternatively, if driving to Rodney Parade, there is some street parking around the ground but residents’ permit restrictions are in place in certain areas, so keep an eye out to ensure you don’t end up paying more than you bargained for. The footballgroundguide.com recommends using the Kingsway Shopping Centre car park, a short walk over the bridge, which costs £2 for five hours.
Away fans are advised to ignore signs for the visitors’ turnstiles, as these apparently only apply to the rugby club. To avoid confusion, look for the blue posts along Corporation Road – this marks out an alley from which the away fans gain entrance. Shrimpers’ supporters will be housed in two areas, the Bisley Stand, which is covered, new and runs alongside the pitch, and an area of uncovered seating behind the goal. Weather forecast is dry – as of Wednesday – but quite frankly I wouldn’t risk it. The Bisley Stand is home to a rather plush away fans’ bar, with Sky Sports. Fans must be out by 2.50pm though.
Tickets for the Bisley Stand are £20 on the day, £18 if you can get yourself down to Roots Hall by tomorrow, and being a new stand the view and facilities are good. Students and senior citizens pay £16 on the day (£14 in advance), Under-16s pay £9 and under-12s £6. You can knock a quid or two off these prices if you want to be a billy no mates and brave the elements behind the goal (the Synter End).
Drinking away from the ground is very much hit and miss in Newport. You won’t want for cheap booze and grub – there are four Wetherspoons’ outlets – two extremely close to the station and a ten-minute walk from the ground. Spoons is currently in the midst of a real ale festival so looks an ideal choice. If you want to watch the early kick off between Palace and Arsenal, The Lamb on Cambrian Road is likely to be showing it and, nearer the ground, The Dodger, on Chepstow Road, also has BT Sport. If you are looking for quality ale, look no further than the Ye Olde Murenger House, along the High Street, which is rated extremely highly. The Pen and Wig, on Stow Hill, also has three or four ales on. It must be said however, that Newport has more than its fair share of utter crapholes, so be wary of which pub you choose.

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3 Responses to “Newport away – an All At Sea guide”

  1. Joshua Edwards October 26, 2013 at 7:36 pm #

    As a fellow Newportonian but living in south London, I was disgusted to hear that your so called fans went into weatherspoons throwing glasses and chairs knowing it’s an old duffers pub or where families eat. Would like to see them try it in the riverside, cross keys or even the mail pubs. Our city may not be up to much but atleast we don’t pick on geriatrics and families.

    • allatseafanzine October 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      Some of this has been mentioned and condemned on our fans’ website. Obviously if true it is disgraceful. However, apparently a lot of the trouble was caused by west ham fans who had originally intended to watch their side at Swansea before it was moved to the Sunday.
      Southend fans have a reputation for being well-behaved and have one of the lowest arrest numbers in the Football League despite having a traditionally strong following away from home.
      If there were Southend fans involved in this then their behaviour is clearly embarrassing.

      • Joshua Edwards October 27, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

        I appreciate your answer but truthfully west ham and Newport have had a fantastic relationship for over a decade so I can’t honestly believe they would cause any trouble. Many west ham fans have come Newport games and vice versa.
        I understand that southend fans were also arrested. Fingers crossed no one was hurt.

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