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The Worst Away Stand in the Football League

It's a well known fact - the Withdean Stadium's West Stand is the worst away stand in the Football League. Even with the Hubble Space Telescope it would be difficult to make out what was going on at the east end goal. But for us home fans, the West Stand is thankfully an experience that we don't have to put up with. Until Portsmouth arrived in town.

With Pompey requiring 15% of the stadium due to FA Cup rules, it was decided to give them the normal Family Stand and East Stand in order to have them all together in one place. This meant that the West Stand would be given over to home supporters. We decided to see just how bad it really is in the name of "research" (obviously not because it was the cheapest part of the ground to go in). And here is what we found:

Entering the West Stand
Three turnstiles are all that is required for entry into the stand, which are situated at the back of the leisure centre. This means a rather long walk from the Tongdean Lane bridge all the way through the car park, up some steps, past the tennis courts, through another car park and into the ground. Leaving a central Brighton pub at around 2.40pm is therefore not advised.

The Toilets
Not a patch on those on offer in the South Stand, whereby portakabin urinal facilities have been taken to a new level. These are much more like what you would expect from a temporary place where you can release bodily waste. Small and cramped, if some sort of diahorrea epidemic hit every single member of the West Stand audience then there is no doubt these facilities would not cope.

The Catering Facilities
The South Stand has a vast array of catering facilities that offer a decent selection of edible, if not overpriced, food with the bacon baguette van proving particularly popular with the WeAreBrighton.com team. Not only does the away end not feature a bacon baguette van, the catering concession does not offer bacon at all, even in the form of a basic roll. It is best described as a fair ground facility, which means that at peak period such as half time, it can take anything up to twenty minutes to get served.

The View
Of course, this is the big one. When you pay to watch a game of football, the least you want is to be able to see it. And do you know what? You can't. If something is going on down the other end of the pitch it can be difficult to tell exactly what that is as was the case with Dave Kitson's red card. You're only hope is that your team do all their attacking at the West End, as was luckily the case with our two first half goals. If not, you are screwed. Being close to where the teams enter the arena from is however big bonus, especially if a full compliment of Gully's Girls are in place.

The Verdict
There is no point in beating around the bush about this one. It is bad. Probably not as bad as people make out, but the fact you can only really see one half of the pitch can be considered a definite problem. The worst away stand in the Football League? Certainly. But the one blessing in disguise is that, unlike Luton Towns pole infested visitor stand, Southend United's three front rows lower than the pitch effort and QPR's sit anywhere but the front rows in the upper tier and you can't see the goal-line situations, we'll be saying goodbye to ours in five months time. And I'm sure we speak for away fans everywhere who have had the pleasure in watching a game from it when we say it won't be missed!

 


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