Image courtesy of footballgroundguide.com
Image courtesy of footballgroundguide.com

Rodney Parade, home of Newport County, has a capacity of 7,850 for football.  It is also shared with Newport Rugby Club, who own the ground, and Newport Gwent Dragons Rugby Club.  It is the second oldest stadium in the Football League, though it has recently been renovated to brig it up to current Football League standards.  At each end of the pitch, the crowd are some way from the pitch, as the in-goal area for rugby separates the goal from the supporters.  The away end of the ground is all seated and covered from the elements by a permanent roof.  Round the ground, none of the stands are high, with it being one tier all the way round with the exception of the West Stand, which has a small upper tier built in.  The home end holds no seats and and is uncovered, although there are signs of building work taking place behind it so it is very possible that a roof is being built for that area of the ground.

In terms of atmosphere, it was very poor, with the home fans hardly making themselves heard all game, though that could be down to the attendance of just over 3000 people.  In fairness, the game did clash with Wales’ Rugby World Cup quarter final tie against South Africa, which could have caused there to be some absentees, although their average attendance is just over 2,500, so there were, in fact, more fans than usual at the game.  This was probably because they were helped out by the 1,098 Pompey fans who made the trip, accounting for a third of the crowd.  The away fans were well looked after, with their being refreshment bars, stewards to direct us to our seats, and even a TV showing BT Sport before the game.  Outside the ground, the away fans were also very carefully looked after, and were given a police escort between the away fans friendly pub and the ground.  This was probably due to the history of violence between the two sets of fans rather than to help us find our way, but even so, it made our time easier.  The ground is about 20 minutes walk from Newport South Wales train station, so is easy to access, but due to the lack of seats on the three hour journey, I would definitely recommend booking seats in advance, both for financial reasons and to make the journey more comfortable.

Overall, I felt the ground was fairly poor, but it was well organised and the away fans were well looked after, which is just what you want of that kind of club, which doesn’t have the financial means to pay for a new ground but are trying their best to make their current ground as good as possible.  The stadium is well served by transport lnks and there is an away fan friendly bar a short way away from the ground.  Compared to other league 2 grounds I have visited, I enjoyed my time there immensly and feel that the poor quality of the stands is made up for by the good organisation and clear effort to help away fans.

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