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Any Toon Fans Heading To Blackpool?
Published : 21 Apr 2011 15:08:35Rss feed
Info for the Toon travellers ... Bloomfield Road - BLACKPOOL What's The Ground Like? The ground has been almost completely re-developed over the last decade, with three permanent stands being built, along with a temporary stand on the East side. The three permanent sides are of similar design, being single tiered, of the same height, all seated and covered. The Stanley Matthews (West) Stand on one side of the stadium and the Mortensen Kop (North Stand) at one end, were both opened in February 2002. The North West corner between these stands has also been filled with seating, so that this area of the ground is enclosed. Behind the main seating in the West Stand and the North West corner, is a hospitality balcony with executive boxes at the rear from the south end to the Directors' Box at the halfway line, from which point to the North West corner is the Sir Stanley Matthews Hospitality Suite. In March 2010 the long awaited South Stand was finally opened, being a mirror image of the North Stand, and extending around and meeting the Stanley Matthews Stand, enclosing the South West corner of the stadium. This stand has been named the Armfield Stand in tribute to the Blackpool legend, Jimmy Armfield and has a capacity of 3,600 seats. On the East side of the ground the Club have erected a new covered temporary stand. Although temporary it is of a good size housing some 5,000 fans in a single tier of seating. It is also covered, which is a big improvement over the previous smaller structure that was previously in place on this side. The only main drawback is that it has a number of supporting pillars running across the front of it. Situated in one corner of the ground between the East & South stands is a large video screen. Outside the stadium, behind the North Stand is a statue of the former Blackpool legend Stan Mortensen. The supporters are also raising cash to commission a statue of Jimmy Armfield. If successful then this will be placed outside the main entrance. What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters? Away fans for this season find themselves in the new temporary East Stand at one side of the pitch, where up to 2,500 supporters can be housed. This stand is shared with home fans, with away fans being housed on the southern side. Although the stand is covered, there are a number of supporting pillars running along the front of the stand that may hinder your view. If you find that you are sat towards the middle of the stand, then you will have the 'added comfort' of padded seats. Always remember to wrap up well in winter, as the wind that comes off the Irish Sea can go right through you! Neil McEachnie a visiting Blackburn Rovers fan adds; 'Even at 6'6" tall, I found that there was plenty of leg room within the stand. The pillars though are annoying, they restrict your view wherever you sit. The toilets are all portacabins, so be prepared to queue. You can tell the stand is temporary as when the singing gets going you can feel the floor below you move'. Where To Drink? Nigel Richardson a visiting Hull City fan recommends the 'No 1 Bar, which is a Working Mens Club, that is adjacent to the away supporters entrance to the ground on Bloomfield Road. It was very welcoming and admits away fans for a small fee'. Steve Gardner a visiting Gillingham fan informs me; 'A good family pub close to the ground is the Waterloo in Waterloo Road - genuinely family friendly except in the games area. Clean, comfortable and friendly; Sky TV on large screens and reasonable, inexpensive food'. A short walk away (walk down Bloomfield Road towards the sea front and then turn right into Lytham Road and the pub is down on the right) is the CAMRA Good Beer Guide listed Old Bridge House. Steve Lumb adds; 'Another good pub is the Wetherspoons pub called the Auctioneer on Lytham Road, near Blackpool South Station. Its about 10 minutes walk to the ground and serves cheap beer and brilliant grub.' Otherwise there are plenty of pubs in Blackpool town centre to choose from. Alcohol is not available to away supporters inside the stadium. How To Get There By Car & Where To Park Leave the M6 at Junction 32. Follow the M55 into the outskirts of Blackpool and continue straight along this road until you see the ground on your right. The ground is roughly located about half way between the Pleasure Beach and the Tower and is about a 1/4 of a mile inland from the south shore. A huge pay and display car park is located just across the road from the ground. It costs £3.50 for three hours and £7.50 for up to 12 hours (the pay machines also accept credit/debit cards). It can though be quite a 'scrum' to get out of after the game has ended. Matthew Stimpson informs me; 'Please note that unlike most towns and cities in England the pay and display car parks near to the ground still charge after 6pm. Some visiting fans on my visit assumed that they would be free after 6pm and ended up with a parking ticket'. Otherwise street parking. By Train The closest railway station to the ground is Blackpool South and is around a ten minute walk away. However fewer trains stop at this station with most calling at Blackpool North. Blackpool North station is around two miles away and therefore you may wish to jump in a cab to the ground. Mark Gillatt adds; 'For anyone arriving by train at Blackpool North a cheaper alternative than a taxi may be the number 11 bus from the bus station across the road. Buses to Lytham St Annes pass the end of Bloomfield Road and run every eight minutes. Fans should alight at the Bridge House pub (okay for a pint) and walk down Lonsdale Road to the ground'.