The Abbey, currently called the Cambs Glass Stadium, is the home of Cambridge United and has a capacity of just under 10,000. The away fans were allocated the whole of the South Stand, which is all-seated, and The Habbin South Terrace which is safe standing. The South Stand is situated directly behind the goal, while the Habbin South Terrace is just to the left of the South Stand and goes from the corner to the halfway line.
I was stood in the Habbin South Terrace which was near the pitch, but the seating in the South Stand was very far back from the pitch, much like some European stadiums where they have running tracks surrounding the pitch which could have impacted on the atmosphere from the away fans, but didn’t end up being enough to quiet the Pompey supporters. The pitch itself was in decent condition in terms of the covering of grass, but there were several bumps which led to the game being played with mostly long balls and made short passing difficult.
The terrace where I stood was comfortable enough and, although it was pretty much sold out, it wasn’t too packed so everybody had breathing room. The pricing was reasonable in my opinion, with seats costing £20 for adults and £10 for under 18s, while terrace places cost £16 for adults and £8 for children. The whole ground was reasonably full, with there being no patches of the stadium that were clearly empty. The overall attendance was just over 6,500 which, while it doesn’t sound like many, was fairly impressive by Cambridge’s standards, helped by 1,800 away fans.
The atmosphere was not the loudest, but the home fans made themselves heard on occasion. Pompey’s fans, on the other hand, played a key role in seeing out the victory and were urging the team on after the red card. The visiting fans didn’t stop singing for the last fifteen to twenty minutes and it was probably the best atmosphere I have heard from Pompey so far this season.
The ground wasn’t particularly well supplied by train, and it took about half an hour to walk from Cambridge station to the stadium. The route involved trekking through fields with cows in, as well as walking along residential streets and cutting through car parks, so Cambridge could really do with a second train station. Having said that, there was a taxi rank by the train station which probably would have cut the travel time by about twenty minutes but would have set me back £9. The one thing that can be said for the long walk is that there were a few pubs and restaurants on the way to the stadium, including a fish and chip shop called the Seatree, which I certainly recommend.
The journey by train is very simple from the Portsmouth area, with only a couple of changes. It costs around £30 with a 16-25 railcard which is fairly reasonable considering how far it is to travel. The journey from Chichester takes just over three hours and simply involves going directly to London Victoria, taking the tube to King’s Cross on the Victoria Line northbound, and going on the Northern Service for one stop to Cambridge. It takes a while, but the journey is very easy to negotiate.
The away fans were very well looked after on the whole, with there being lots of stewards available to help away fans without them becoming too involved. Tickets were managed well too, and they were electronically scanned by somebody manning the stall which meant that it was all very easy to get into the ground and nobody was at the mercy of technological failures.