SeasideEssexXile has his latest look at League 1 stadia, this week being our next opponents, Northampton Town.
There are 2 ways of looking at Saturdays visit to Sixfields. The first being as it`s my nearest game traveling time wise it`ll be nice to be home by 6, when Mrs Xile (no2) will serve up some home made delight for tea whilst the X Factor will only just be starting. The second is that Sixfields is one of those grounds that have been built without any of the character of their old County Ground. On a retail park, out of town it could be Walsall or Scunny, where a town has decided that a football ground comes second and is something to be tolerated once a fortnight on a development that will be open 364 days a year.
There are plans to develop the stadium to a 15000 all-seater with a hotel within the next 5 years, sounds familiar?
That said most Pool fans traveling on Saturday will be looking forward to their visit. An unbeaten run in the league in October brings with it renewed optimism and confidence is strong throughout the team. Northampton finally managed to get their ‘home` season started with a win against Swansea last Saturday, here`s hoping that come 5 o`clock on Saturday their run has come to an abrupt end and ours is still on the up.
How To Get There
Sixfields is on the outskirts of the town. Getting there is via the AA. No not the £39 we`ll be your friend people, but the A45 + the A43. From the North J16 off the M1 then the A45. Go straight over first roundabout avoiding the services and take the 1st exit on roundabout to Northampton. 1/2 mile later, take 2nd exit at roundabout, (straight on) The ground will be visible straight ahead. Carry on up the dual carriageway, to the roundabout next to the ‘Little Chef’ Restaurant and TGI Fridays.
From the South its J15A off the M1 bear left on roundabout. Next roundabout, turn left (1st exit) under the M1 bridge, then 2nd exit (straight on) to get on the A43 dual carriageway. 1/2 mile later, take 2nd exit at roundabout, (straight on) The ground will be visible straight ahead. Carry on up the dual carriageway, to the roundabout next to the ‘Little Chef’ Restaurant and TGI Fridays.
Now visiting Northampton regularly as I do, the Sixfields development is well signposted; however there are an extraordinary amount of speed cameras in this town. One stretch of road I will travel on to get there holds at least 6 in a 2 mile run, all average speed jobbies to. Keep your eyes open. It`s the Pool who we want to take 3points away from our visit on Saturday and not us on our licenses.
Parking is available around the ground, avoid using the cinema + other stores. Unlike the Crewe`s B+Q last time out, tickets will be issued on Saturday if you attempt to park in their spaces whilst going to the match.
From the Bransonites amongst us it`s a 25min walk from the station. There are regular buses to Sixfields, and a taxi will cost you between £4 – £5.
Where To Drink
2 pubs on the estate claim to be for home fans only. The Sixfields Tavern and the Magic Tower. Away fans are directed to TGI Fridays, the Megabowl and the Old Orleans. TGI`s is 50yards from the ground. Grateful for the offer to take in a bit of trough with an overpriced drink, I think I`ll be taking my chances in the Tavern.
Rapidly becoming the norm on our travels we’ll have to buy a ticket, prior to entering the ground. Allocated the South Stand up to 850 seats are available. The view is from behind a goal. £16 for adults, £12 for concessions.
The Plod And Stewards
The stewards have been described as ‘pleasant + polite`. Northants police are one of the most visible forces I have ever come across, now that`s a reference for when I drive around this county in which I now reside. More interested in motorists than anything else, I don`t expect a large presence on Saturday.
The Fear Factor
Fear factor rating of 2.
I said before last Saturday the next 2 games were winnable, and a good display against Bratfurd has boosted confidence even higher. The Cobblers are currently an away team. Whilst they have a solitary home win they remain undefeated on their travels. Level on points both teams will be looking towards closing the gap between mid table and the playoff spots. Pool have a positive goal difference for the first time in years and a win on Saturday will see a possible leap of another 2-4 places. With a few cup games coming up lets hope we can keep this run in the league going.