AAS guide to Oxford away

30 Dec

RUMOUR has it that Southend United are about to play a football match. Their first of 2011 in fact. So for those football-starved folk planning to make the 99 mile trip to Oxford on Saturday, here is AAS’s away game guide.

The first problem you will come across is that the Kassam Stadium, named after narcissistic and unpopular former chairman Firoz Kassam, is four miles from the centre of historic Oxford, adjacent to the notorious Blackbird Leys council estate, one of the largest in Europe. So for all of those planning to train it and take in some of the sights, you’ll need to either get a bus (nos 5 or 105 from the station) or get a cab (about a tenner). The return fare from Southend Victoria is £19.20.
It’s not too bad for car drivers, who can bypass the congested city centre and park up for free in one of the 2,000 spaces at the ground. Be aware that you should get there before 1.30pm to make sure of a space.
When at the ground, the second problem arises. It’s been soullessly dumped in the middle of a retail park. Or a retail park has been built around it. Either way, it’s shite. There are, however, some unconventional places to relieve you of your pre-match thirst (if you can stomach it after the night before). There’s a bowling alley complex and a Holiday Inn, which has a bar.
There is one “proper” pub on the site, which is called the Priory and is a decent boozer, but it does fill up quickly, perhaps unsurprisingly.
If the New Year’s Eve shenanigans have taken their toll, there is a Chinese buffet restaurant on the site too.
Tickets should cost you £16, and Blues fans will be given the North stand, the section to the immediate left of the open ‘car park end’. The view is decent and you can create a fair atmosphere. Last time we were here in April 2005, more than 2,000 Blues fans travelled as we closed in on promotion from League Two, but a 2-1 defeat and some unsavoury off-pitch violence between Southend fans marred the day.
Thankfully, beer is served in the ground but it’s the generic Carling, Budweiser and Worthingtons crap unfortunately.


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