Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk
Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk

The Memorial Stadium of Bristol Rovers has a capacity of 9,000, 3,000 of which is seating.  I was not especially impressed with the ground, mainly because of the tiny sections that were given to the away fans.  Pompey sold out their allocation, some of which was covered seating directly behind the goal but most of which was uncovered terracing by the corner flag of the same end.  In fairness, there were toilets with hot water and a food and drink stall in the away end and there was a reasonable amount of space for parking for away supporters coaches.  There was also a nice away fan friendly pub about three minutes walk from the stadium which made Pompey fans feel welcome.

The uncovered terracing was exactly that – completely uncovered.  If it had rained, the fans would have been completely soaked as there was not even a temporary cover to protect away fans from the elements, while the rest of the ground was under cover.  The PA system was also very poor at the ground, making it impossible for away fans to make out any of the announcements that were being made during the game.  As for the home fans, I was very impressed, as they seemed in good voice throughout the whole game and not many teams are able to outsing Pompey fans, even at their home ground.  A couple of times during the course of the game balls were lost over the top of the stands, which were very low.  It seemed to be a very old fashioned stadium, with no more than two tiers anywhere in the ground.

The pitch looked very well looked after, though it is early in the season.  From where the away fans were standing, it was easy to make out all of the lines and we were able to see the whole of the pitch with the exception of one corner flag.  One fault with the away section was that there seemed to be rather a lot of gates, some of which were locked and some of which weren’t.  The gate separating the front row of away fans from the pitch, did not have a lock, which the stewards found out to their peril during the match!

Overall, the ground seemed to be in poor condition and looked akin to many non-league grounds I have visited.  However, although the stadium itself was in disrepair, it was capable of producing a good atmosphere and the fans themselves made  the game very lively and seemed in good voice for most of the 90 minutes.

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