|Bristol City 1 v 3 Leeds United|
Sunday, 4th August 2019 Kick-off 16:30
Bristol City Awaydaze
Thursday, 1st Aug 2019 22:36 by Tim Whelan
Our visit to Bristol City is on Sunday, with kick-off at 4.30pm, thanks to our very good friends at Sky Sports. You’ll find Ashton Gate about 2 miles to the south-west of the city centre.
If you’re going by car, the recommended route is to use the M5 as far as junction 18, then take the (A4) Portway, signposted towards Bristol Airport and Bristol City. Following signs for the Airport/Taunton (A38) drive over the swing bridge (Brunel Way) branching left into Winterstoke Road & you will see the ground on your left. Then continue along Winterstoke Road until the KFC roundabout and take a first left, and it’s another 200m to the away turnstiles.
Parking at the ground is reserved for permit holders only and street parking is limited. There is the Bedminster Cricket club on Clanage Road (A369) that offers parking at a cost of £10 per car and is around a 5-10 minute walk to the stadium. There is also some residential parking, but most of the streets close to Ashton Gate have double yellow lines, with parking regulations strictly enforced!
Unfortunately I can’t recommend trying to get the train down from Leeds, as Cross Country will be affected by strike action, so the service will be severely reduced. For those travelling from closer to Bristol, the nearest railway station to the ground is Parson Street, which is around 15 minutes walk away and is served by local trains to Western Super Mare. There are trains from Bristol Temple Meads at 15.05 and 15.55 (taking only four minutes) but coming back the frequency is only hourly, with trains at 18.36 and 19.43.
If that doesn’t appeal, you can make your way direct from the main Bristol Temple Meads station, although that is just over two miles from Ashton Gate. Service ‘A’ buses leave an hour before kick off costing a flat rate £2.50 from Temple Meads station. The pick up point is across the main road at the bottom of the station approach road and the buses make the return journey after the game from outside Trust Ford on Winterstoke Road. Away fans can use this service, but the trouble is that there are usually only two buses allocated and they fill up very quickly.
Walking to the ground from Temple Meads will take around 45 minutes, but if you need the exercise you can turn left into Temple Gate, cross over the river, take the first right into York Road and follow the river into Coronation Road. Keep following Coronation Road until you see Raleigh Road on your left. Walk down Raleigh Road and the ground will appear in front of you.
A railway branch line to Portishead runs very close to the ground, but it currently used only by freight trains. For some time a local group have been campaigning for passenger trains to be re-introduced to this line, and the latest is that this might come to pass by the end of 2023. But to cost over-runs the original plans have had to be scaled back, and it doesn’t now look likely that the scheme will include a station for Ashton Gate. That would be far too sensible.
None of the pubs next to the ground are very welcoming for away fans, so the best advice is to head north of the ground and over the River Avon on the ‘plimsoll bridge’. Among the decent pubs on the waterside are the ‘Nova Scotia,’ ‘The Cottage Inn’ and ‘The Orchard’. The last of these three is in the CAMRA guide and was voted Britain's top cider pub in 2009, with it’s 24 different ciders available! And if you park at the Bedminster Cricket club (see above) you can call in there for a pint or two.
And there are of course a lot of pubs in the city centre, including a large Wetherspoons close to Temple Meads station, called the ‘Knights Templar’. Food-wise, there is a KFC right next to the ground and two fish & chip shops on Ashton Road, as well as a few other takeaways round the corner on North Street. They normally have a small bar just outside the away turnstiles, and inside the ground is the usual football ground scoff, including burgers, pies, slices of pizza and sausage rolls.
City moved to Ashton Gate in 1904, though the ground had an unfortunate history during it’s first 37 years of existence. The roof of the South Terrace was destroyed by gales in 1916, a fire partially destroyed the Old Stand in 1929 and then an air raid in 1941 which destroyed the entire grandstand.
In more recent years the club replaced the former away terraces at the west end of the ground with the £1.8 million John Atyeo Stand in 1994, in order to comply with the Taylor report. And they didn’t stop there, with a new Lansdown stand on the west side of the ground and a new South Stand to replace the old Wedlock End, both completed in the last two years.
The South Stand is equipped with the latest ‘rail seat’ technology, which allows the seats to be folded back so the area becomes a safe standing terrace. But currently they can only do this when the stadium hosts rugby matches, so we’ll just have to live in hope that the government will one day allow football fans the privilege of standing. But even with only seats in use for football, the stadium capacity has increased to 27,000.
Now that City have now finished the redevelopment work that reduced the capacity a couple of years ago they can offer visitors 4,200 seats in the Atyeo Stand, but for this game our allocation has been cut to a mere 2,300. This is apparently due to the rather boisterous behaviour on the concourse at half time in the away section the season before last, and it’s even fewer than the 2,600 we got last season.
None of us will weep at the thought of Bristol City costing themselves revenue in this manner, but it has obviously increased the desire of local Leeds fans to get tickets for the home stands in order to see the game. Their official site says that they are now on general sale but there are only a few left, and they may well have completely sold out by the day of the game.
Last season hundreds of fans had their tickets cancelled once Bristol City had cross-checked with Leeds to identify anyone with a ticket for any of the home stands who was also on the Leeds database, and they did so just a few days before the game. And of those who did still have tickets, one family were deemed to be dangerous hooligans and thrown out of the family stand after the little boys were spotted wearing Leeds socks.
And another group were refused entry after a woman had her bag searched and a steward found a Leeds scarf. So if you have managed to get a home stand ticket, you will obviously have to make sure you’ve got absolutely nothing in your possession that will identify you as a Leeds fan.
The Leeds allocation was of course sold through the club’s ‘attendance tracker’ loyalty scheme, and inevitably it’s now sold out. Thankfully they kept the prices the same as last season, so it’s £32 for adults, with various categories of concessions at £29, £26, £15 and £10.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
Photo: Action Images
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