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Alexlevy0908
Alexlevy0908

Alexlevy0908: Best and worst Notts County away days this season

For any football fan who's seen their team get relegated, one positive once you've got over the initial shock is to think about all the new grounds you can visit. And with Notts having previously never dropped down to non-league in their 157-year history, all these non-league grounds seemed like an exotic novelty to a Notts fan who travels home and away each week. So having completed half a season in the non-league wilderness, let's take a look back on the highs and lows of a non league away day.

Best away days:

Without question, I would have to list my favourite away ground that I've visited this season as Aldershot. Why did I like Aldershot's ground? Because it was the right mix of being an old school terrace, as well as a ground with a good atmosphere between home and away fans, which hasn't always been the case at the majority of non league grounds. Another terrace which I thoroughly enjoyed was Halifax, a large, retro terrace for away fans and an experience helped by the fact that Notts actually won! However, in terms of both the result and away day experience, then the best away trip this season would have to be the 4-0 win at Woking. From the slightly surreal yet friendly experience of drinking in the snooker club that was the only pub anywhere near the ground, to the cracking on the field performance from Notts, it was definitely the most memorable away trip of the season. Chants about "Our Danish chairmen" rang out throughout the game, as Notts put in a performance that established their challenge for immediate promotion back to the football league. Whether Notts genuinely have a chance of that promotion is a question for another blog!

Worst away days:

My least favourite ground I've visited this season would have to be Sutton. The whole vibe of the place was quite weird; on the one hand the stewards and other staff at the ground were very posh and overly formal. On the other hand, I recall facilities at this ground being particularly poor and not up to standard. The fact that the game was poor didn't help, but there was no real atmosphere at this ground which made for a pretty unmemorable experience. Another away ground I didn't particularly enjoy was Eastleigh; a ground which while facilities were modern and up to standard, was just pretty bland and the result also contributed to a relatively unmemorable day. While I can't moan too much about Chesterfield away as an experience as we've been there before in the football league and the facilities are pretty good for this level, I must give a special mention to Chesterfield advertising that they were selling out of date beer at the ground. Thanks for telling all away fans that they should give that a swerve, I guess! Thankfully no matter how bad things have got at Notts, we've never stooped to that low.

So are the grounds in the National League significantly worse than those in League Two? I suppose it depends what you look for in a ground. In terms of character, there are some pretty bland grounds wherever you go in the football league. Therefore, an old fashioned ground like Aldershot, Halifax, or Maidenhead is definitely more charming than a football league out of town ground like Colchester or MK Dons. However, if you're talking about facilities then the overall standard is definitely slightly lower. The facilities at most non league clubs who have never been in the football league are definitely not quite up to football league standards in the whole ground, never quite as clean or well maintained as facilities in a football league ground. But even at the worst of times at any tinpot non-league ground, it's important to remember that this roller-coaster ride will all be worth it when Notts are a football league club!

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Great piece!

Solihull Moors is personally the worst away ground that I have been to this season, I haven't managed to make a lot due to work and Uni.

With the hype of the game I thought it would be good, yet the ground isn't fit for purpose.

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At my age, I only attend a handful of away games but this season has reminded me of what it was like supporting Notts all those years ago.

Some of the grounds have a charming old school appeal to them.

I don't think the club would have moved forward without promotion or relegation, the latter seems to have done the trick so far. I am hoping to make a few more games now we are in 2020. All the home games I have attended, I would agree the standard hasn't been that bad. A rough rough times but a lot more enjoyment is there.

Teams appear to want to do well because of how tight this league can be.

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The National League is a bit hit and miss with the facilities, but I do think the experience will benefit the club in the long run. Notts have had to learn and adapt on their feet, away from home especially. No more complaints about bumps in the pitch I hope, like Dean Leacock would moan about.

Notts have gone back to the roots in football. 

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I managed to make the opening game against Eastleigh, it was a good experience.

The staff was great, very friendly and the ground itself had a nice charm about it. The pitch looked very good too, I could see a lot of Notts fans were up for the game. It certainly ended up being a wake up call.

This reminds me I need to get back on the road.

Thank you for writing this @Alexlevy0908,

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Good insight, different read that is informative and interesting. You did a good job Alex with this. I haven’t seen you on PON before, I hope to read further content.

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😮 all these comments.

i dont make many away days, i find travelling to be stressful but i have attended chesterfield when notts played in league one. i would like to do others, i just decide against it. reading something like this @Alexlevy0908 makes me wish i felt up to it.

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Thanks for the article @Alexlevy0908, I've been hoping to see an article about away grounds and I enjoyed that! I've always preferred more old-school grounds with character and a sense of history, so I feel I'm missing out a bit this season. Looking at the highlights this season, we've always had a good following, and I have a nagging suspicion you're all enjoying yourselves far too much ;)

Are there any remaining away grounds you're looking forward to visiting? Chorley and Fylde will be new (although the latter has more than a touch of Rushden & Diamonds about it). Barrow and Wrexham could be good as well, and the stakes will be very high.

By the way, out-of-date beer is perfectly fine as long as it's within six months or so!

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Good article @Alexlevy0908. Aldershot had a proper good atmosphere and felt retro. Sutton's ground was half finished. It was like one of them Cowboy Builders things with Dom Littlewood. Solihull had absolutely no room and the stewards had no clue what they were doing because they didn't open up the other part of the terrace.

I enjoyed Ebbsfleet. Standing terrace, visible scoreboard and the day overall was a good laugh, especially the pre-match game of Pointless we had in the pub. Halifax was good too. Good view of the ground but the food and drinks were expensive. I liked Eastleigh to be honest. Alright view of the pitch and good material at the back of the stand to bang to create an atmosphere

 

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