Boro Face Two Critical Away Trips!

Last updated : 12 January 2009 By Boro Mad
Saturday 17th January 2009

Blackburn v Newcastle 15.00
Bolton v Man Utd 15.00
Chelsea v Stoke City 15.00
Hull City v Arsenal 17.30
Man City v Wigan Athletic 15.00
Sunderland v Aston Villa 15.00
West Brom v Middlesbrough 15.00

Sunday 18th January 2009

Tottenham v Portsmouth 16.00
West Ham v Fulham 13.30

Monday 19th January 2009

Liverpool v Everton 20.00

Tuesday 27th January 2009

Portsmouth v Aston Villa 20.00
Sunderland v Fulham 19.45
Tottenham v Stoke City 20.00
West Brom v Man Utd 19.45

Wednesday 28th January 2009

Blackburn v Bolton 20.00
Chelsea v Middlesbrough 19.45
Everton v Arsenal 20.00
Man City v Newcastle 19.45
West Ham v Hull City 20.00
Wigan Athletic v Liverpool 19.45


Directions & Car Parking
The ground is located on the A41 (Birmingham-West Bromwich Road). If approaching from outside the area the ground is about half a mile from Junction 1 of the M5. On leaving the M5 take the A41 towards Birmingham, the ground is on your right. Beware though of speed cameras on this stretch of the A41. Street parking or alternatively there are a few private matchday car parks at some local industrial units near the ground, or at Hawthorns station which costs £4.

Away Fans
Away fans are housed on one side of the Smethwick End, where the normal allocation is 3,000 seats. This means that this stand is shared with home supporters. For cup games, the whole of this stand can be allocated to away fans, raising this figure to 5,200. The facilities and the view of the pitch in the Smethwick end are okay, although the leg room is a little cramped.

Considering that the concourse at the back of the Smethwick End is pretty small in comparison to its overall capacity, then it has an uncomfortable feel, especially when there is a large away support. One tip on finding your seat in this stand, is to remember that although your ticket is marked with the letter of the row, say Row B Or Row LL, the plates indicating the row in the stand read B1 or LL1. As you would expect a number of fans get confused by the addition of the number 1 and start to wander around the stand looking for their seat. So you have been warned. Also in first gaining entry to the stand, the Club operate automatic turnstiles, where you have to put your ticket (which has a bar code on it) into a slot reader, which then allows the turnstiles admit you. There are stewards on hand if you get a problem and on my last visit fans were also being searched before entering the ground.

Strangely I noticed that fans were not allowed to bring in take away food from the nearby McDonalds.

Where To Drink
There are no pubs for away fans that are particularly close to the ground. Huw Morris, a West Brom fan, recommends 'The Vine' which is about a 20 minute walk from the ground. From Junction 1 of the M5 turn left towards West Bromwich town centre (opposite direction to the ground). Take the first left into Roebuck Street. The Vine is down on the left. You can also street park in this area and walk to the ground. This pub also does Indian food and has an indoor tandoori barbeque (from 1pm on Saturdays), plus has a beer garden with children's play area.

If you continue towards West Bromwich going over a small mini roundabout, then on the right just before the lights is the Desi Junction pub. This Asian run pub does an excellent 'Balti Buffet'. For £4.95 per adult, you can each as much as you like and I found the food to be pretty good. The buffet is available all day on a Saturday and you can wash it down with a pint of Cobra beer.

Sean Mowat a visiting Sheffield United supporter adds; 'As you pass the ground on the right on the main Birmingham Road. Carry on about another half a mile and there is a pub on the right set back off the road called the Royal Oak. We've been in the last two times we've visited WBA. The beer is okay and they also serve Asian food (try the chicken kebabs!). It had a friendly atmosphere'.

Alcohol is also available within the ground (on my last visit £2.30 for a can of Carling or Worthington), along with the delicious 'Football's Famous Chicken Balti Pie' (£2.20).

By Train and Metro
The closest railway stations are The Hawthorns which is about five minutes walk from the ground and Smethwick Rolfe Street, which is about a 15 minute walk from the ground. The Hawthorns is served by a Metro service from Birmingham Snow Hill station, whilst Smethwick Rolfe Street is served by local trains from Birmingham New Street.

The Metro service takes eight minutes to the Hawthorns from Birmingham Snow Hill and trains run every 15 minutes. Please note though that train tickets are not valid on the Metro and that you have to buy a separate ticket for it (ask for a £2 matchday special adult return). C Price adds; 'On Halford Lane just below the train/metro stop is a chip shop called the Hawthrones (which yes is spelt incorrectly). Fish and chips cost under £2 and are of good quality and it also serves pies and kebabs'.


Directions & Car Parking
Leave the M25 at Junction 15 and take the M4 towards London, which then becomes the A4 up to Hammersmith. Carry on over the Hammersmith flyover and after a further one and half miles, take the turning Earls Court. Continue past Earls Court station and down the one way system until you reach the junction with Fulham Road. At this junction, turn right at the traffic lights and after about half a mile, you will see the ground on your right.
A number of local resident schemes are in operation around the ground, so you may well end up having to park some way from the ground itself.

Away Fans
Away fans are located in the South East corner of the Shed End, rather, where the normal allocation for league games is 3,000 tickets, with fans located in a portion of the upper tier of the Shed End Stand and the whole of the lower tier. If Clubs elect to take only 1,500 tickets then, fans will be located on the East side of the stand in both the upper and lower tiers. For cup games the whole of the Shed End can be allocated. The view from this area of the ground is pretty good and the refreshment areas and concourses were modern and new looking. There are televisions on the concourses, showing amongst other things at half time, highlights from the first half. A range of Shire Foods and pasties is on offer, including the Chicken Balti Pie (£2.50) and roll over hot dogs (£3). Alcohol is also available with bottles of Budweiser on offer at £3.

Where To Drink
The pubs near the ground can be quite partisan, so I would recommend getting a drink somewhere on the journey there. Gordon a visiting Newcastle fan adds 'there are quite a few pubs on the Kings Road that are okay as long as you don't break into a chorus about your team!'. Ross Mooring adds; The best (well, least partisan) pub for away fans is the Slug and Lettuce outside Fulham Broadway train station situated a few minutes walk from the ground. It's an upmarket pub with a good security and police presence outside on matchdays. Very full but rarely any trouble. Away fans though should avoid the Sofa Bar. Alcohol (Budweiser) is available inside the ground but it is a bit pricey, even for Londoners!'.

About a ten minute walk away from the ground near Parsons Green Tube Station is the White Horse. A large comfortable pub which sells good food and a range of real ales including Harveys Ales from Sussex. To find this pub with the new West Stand behind you turn right (up past where the away coaches are parked) up Fulham Road and into Fulham Broadway, passing the tube station on your right. Continue to follow Fulham Road around to the left and then take a left hand turn into Parsons Green Road. Go under the bridge passing Parsons Tube Station on your right and you will reach the White Horse pub on your left.

By Train and Tube
The nearest tube station is Fulham Broadway which is on the District Line. Take a tube to Earls Court and if necessary, change for a Wimbledon bound tube. The nearest overground train station is West Brompton, which is served by trains from Clapham Junction (which is in turn served by trains from London Waterloo and Victoria stations). It is around a 15 minute walk to the ground from West Brompton station. Turn right outside the station past the Tournament Pub, then right again into Brompton Cemetery. Walk on through the Cemetery (just follow the crowd) and Stamford Bridge is soon visible to the right. If it is a night game then turn right after the cemetery into Finborough Road. After a half-mile, turn right onto the Fulham Rd. Thanks to Jim Millington for providing the directions.