Value For Money: 7/10
Monday, 3 April 2017
Solihull Moors F.C. - Damson Park
Solihull Moors F.C.
Damson Park Stadium
Ground Number: 39
Date: Saturday 11th February 2017
Score: Solihull Moors F.C. 3-0 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League
With Sutton`s away form still very bad, I still find it very addicting to go to away games because I am one of the people who are unable to go to every single away game which means if there is an opportunity to go to an away game, I have to take that opportunity and this weeks game was actually quite exciting for me because on Saturday, Sutton were playing away to Solihull Moors who were National League North champions and I was more excited because I had not been to many ex-National League North grounds before and Damson Park would allow me to tick another ground off my list.
The trains tickets from Euston to Birmingham International had been booked a few weeks ago and now it was only a few days before the game and as the hours went past, I got more excited because Damson Park would be ground number 40 for my blog and ground number 44 for me as I am waiting to do blogs on a couple of teams that I have already visited but I am waiting till I revisit them to do a blog on them as I am planning to go back to those grounds in the coming few months. The day before the game had arrived and I had to go to college and once I had finished college at 4:45, I went straight home to get my stuff as I was staying round my dads tonight. Once I got back to my dads and had a shower, I looked into the history of Solihull Moors F.C. before I went to bed.
Solihull Moors F.C. were formed in 2007 and the club was formed by the merger of Moor Green F.C. and Solihull Borough F.C. The clubs nickname is `The Moors` and they play in the colours of red and yellow. The club currently play at Damson Park which has a capacity of 3,050 and there are apparently 770 seats but seems to be more like 850/900. The newly formed Solihull Moors F.C. started out in the Conference North and in their first season (2007/08) they finished 17th. In the 2008/09 season, Solihull managed to make some progress but only by one place as they finished 16th but they did bring in 8 new players. The 2009/10 season didn't see much progress for Solihull as they finished 17th in the league but in the 2010/11 season, Solihull managed to finish in an impressive 7th in the league. The following few season saw Solihull finish in the same kind of position in the league but at the end of the 2015/16 season, Solihull managed to fight their way to win the Conference North and were promoted to the Conference Premier (National League Premier).
So the day of the game had finally arrived and I got up at 7:18am which was quite late for an away day because I normally find myself up at around 5am for an away day so I kind of counted this morning as a lye in for a football away day. Once I woke up, I quickly had a shower and had a wash and after getting out the shower, I felt very refreshed. I then had a small breakfast which was a couple of toasted muffins. We then cleaned up and got everything ready and we finally left my dads house at 8:17am. The roads were pretty quiet which was very good as it meant we was able to drive up to South Wimbledon without hitting any problems or traffic. The roads were so quiet, we managed to get to our parking spot where we like to park when we get the tube in 10 minutes after leaving my dads house. Once the car was parked, we got everything out of the car that we was taking and we made the short 5 or so minute walk to South Wimbledon tube station. When we got to the station, I quickly checked the balance on my Oyster Card to make sure I had enough balance to get to Euston and I had just over £5 on my card which was very handy as it meant I didn't have to top it up.
I tapped in and headed for the escalators down to the platforms and as soon as I stepped onto the escalator, the smell of the London Underground hit me and it is something that all Londoners will know about and only people who have been on the London Underground will understand but with me being born and travelling around London for my whole life, I am more than used to the smell. Once we got to the Northbound platform, the next train was a 2 minute wait and the train arrived into South Wimbledon at 8:43am and we stayed on the Northern Line until Stockwell and we then changed to the Victoria Line as it is much quicker to Euston than the Northern Line. The Victoria Line train was a little bit more busy but the main thing is the trains on the Victoria Line are more relaxing so the journey to Euston was a bit more relaxing and calm.
We finally arrived into Euston at 9:12am and when we got off the train, it seemed that pretty much everyone who was on our train was getting off as well. We followed the signs which directed us to the National Rail section of Euston and once we reached the main area in Euston, it was pretty busy but we was expecting it to be busy anyway. We then went to collect our tickets from the ticket machine and then we went to the departure boards to check whether our train had even arrived into Euston yet and it hadn't so we decided to go and have a proper breakfast as we only had time for a couple of muffins earlier in the morning, so we headed to Prime Burger which is in Euston Station at 9:40am and I got a Tropicana and a bacon roll which cost around £5 which was very expensive but food and drink at train stations are very expensive especially in the UK.
Prime Burger was scattered with other travellers and other football fans and there were some Chelsea and Tottenham fans sitting next to us and we heard that they travel all around the country to watch their team which was quite rare for me to hear because it is rare that I even hear a premier league fan going to a game at home let alone an away game so it made me realise that there are really some loyal fans of Premier League clubs but I am still much against how the Premier League is run and the amount of wage Premier League players receive.
After about 10 minutes of waiting, my bacon roll and my dads toast was ready and my dad got up to go and get them from the counter and when I took a bite in my bacon roll, it tasted really nice but the roll itself was not very soft which was a shame because I don't really like hard bacon rolls. After we finished eating, we headed back down to the departure boards to check whether our platform had been announced yet so we went to WHSmith and had a look at the magazines and me being me picked up an aviation magazine as have a strong interest in aviation as well as football and I read some of the articles about some commercial airlines but the magazines were around £5 which were much too expensive to buy and my dad being himself went and picked up a car magazine. After standing in WHSmith for around 5 or 10 minutes reading some magazines, we headed back to the departure boards and we sat down and had a chat about the game and some of the other fixtures in the other leagues and soon enough my dad received a text from Virgin Trains telling us we was able to board the train so we went straight to the platform and we had booked seats in the quiet coach which is right at the front of the train which meant we had a long walk and when we walked outside, it started to snow which was a surprise but we finally boarded the train at 10:52am.
Our seats were facing the opposite way the train was travelling and we didn't have a clear window seat and we didn't have any plug sockets to charge my phone which made me quite annoyed but I stayed positive and put my headphones on and listened to some music and the train finally departed Euston at 11:03am. The journey felt quite quick and was probably because I was listening to music for a large part of the journey and we only had to stop at like two stations but the journey was very relaxing and the songs I was listening to on my phone were increasing my excitement and made me more excited for the game. We finally pulled into Birmingham International at 12:19pm and we had to run to catch the 966 bus which was due to leave the station at 12:20pm but we managed to catch the bus and we paid for a ticket which took us to right outside the ground. The journey was very enjoyable for me as the bus went right past the runway at Birmingham International Airport and I could see a number of different aircraft and airlines which made me very happy as I am very interested in aviation.
The bus trip to the ground was quite short and we was at the ground at 12:26pm which meant the ground is only around 5/6 minutes away by bus. The ground seemed very small from the outside and that due to the fact that the ground is very small and is one of the smallest in the Vanarama National League. I took some pictures of the outside of the ground and we then went in the bar and my mates Johnnie, Ryan and Owen were already in the bar and they were watching the Arsenal v Hull City game and as soon as I sat down, I felt so relaxed as the seats in the bar are very comfortable. I had a pint of coke in the bar and my dad settled for a coffee and I found that my phone battery was quite low which was mainly due to the reason that I couldn't charge it on the train so I used a plug socket in the bar that wasn't being used to charge my phone. I then had a chat to Johnnie, Ryan and Owen about the game and we all thought we would be happy with a point as our away form is pretty bad and I agreed with them because the way we have been playing away from home recently, I would be over the moon with a point. I sat in the bar for a good hour and a half and at 2pm, I headed out to the ground as I needed to take some pictures of the ground.
I paid £8 to get in as a concession as I am a student and £8 for concessions is not that bad. Once I paid to get in, I was searched for security reasons which was pretty intimidating seeing as the game wasn't very big and there wasn't any risks of any violence etc. Once I passes through the search, I went into the club shop and purchased a Solihull Moors F.C. pin badge for £3 as I am collecting the pin badges of all the clubs I have visited. I then went around the ground to take some pictures and when I was taking some pictures, I felt that I didn't really like Damson Park but I do like how the ground has tradition.
Damson Park has a capacity of 3,050 and the ground has an open feel to it as it is mostly comprised of small stands and open flat standing areas. There is some seating in front of the Social Club building and up above there has been constructed a viewing platform for club officials and sponsors, which gives it a strange look. At the Damson Lane End is a small covered stand, which oddly has a mix of terrace and seating. I assume that the seats were added at some point to fulfil league requirements. Opposite is a small covered terrace was put in place at the end of 2016 and was originally located at Maidstone United F.C. Although only a few steps high, it has a capacity of 550. The remaining East side of the ground is mostly open to the elements. On one side is a small covered temporary seated stand, which was erected before the start of the 2016/17 season. The remainder of the this East side consists of some flat pathway and a perimeter fence. Just inside the main turnstiles is a small club shop housed in a porta cabin. The ground has a set of seven tall floodlight pylons, three of which are located on the Main Stand side and four running down the opposite side. (Description of Damson Park is sourced from Football Ground Guide).
Once I had walked around the ground and had taken some pictures, I went and got a cheeseburger then I went round to the Damson Lane End and clipped up my flags and then me and my dad had an interview with someone who was doing a video about the game and I was asked questions about our FA 5th Round tie against Arsenal. Then around 20 minutes before kick off, a bunch of teenagers which we called the `Solihull Youth` started randomly chanting some chants and were acting all hard and acting like hooligans. Then the teams came out and to our luck we was kicking the way I had clipped my flags up and the game kicked off and the majority of the Sutton fans came and stood with us. Within a few minutes of the game starting, Sutton found themselves one-nile down. The Sutton fans slightly became louder to show our support and luckily it seemed to work as we had a few chances to get back on level terms but it seemed like the ball just didn't want to go in the back of the net. Then we seemed to have a stroke of luck as we were awarded a penalty and Jamie Collins stepped up but the Solihull keeper saved Jamie's shot to keep Sutton at bay.
Both teams continued to press on and create chances for the remained of the first half but it seemed to benefit Solihull as they managed to clinch another goal in stoppage time before the half time whistle was blown. The half time whistle was blown and we took our flags down and walked round to the other end and clipped them up on the covered terrace and we all thought that this was a perfect example of Sutton`s typical away form this season. About 5 minutes before the second half kicked off, the so called `Solihull Youth came round to us and started acting all hard so the stewards got involved as they stood on the terrace we was kicking towards and when the stewards started to walk towards them, they all started running which showed that they are all cowards. They can give it all to the away fans but when the stewards get involved, they get all scared.
Sutton came out in the second half looking a little bit better which meant Doswell gave them a good talk during half time and we were creating many chances but the ball just didn't want to go in the back of the net and Solihull kept on catching us on the break/counter attack and it hit us right in the back as in the 70th minute, Solihull got a third goal and pretty much put the game to bed. Me and the rest of the young Sutton fans continued to chant and sing to show our support for our team and some of the others started some chants as well but the atmosphere had just seemed to drop massively.
With about 15 minutes to go, the floodlights in the ground went out and some floodlights on a nearby training centre or football facility also went out which meant we was able to finally laugh about something and this reminded me of when Sutton played a pre-season friendly away at our local rivals Carshalton Athletic last season as the floodlights in that game kept on going out. The full time whistle finally blew and the Sutton loyal who had travelled up to the West Midlands clapped their team and the players came over to us and said they were sorry about the performance and we all said that these things happen and this is one of the reasons why I love Sutton United, it is because the players are honest and the fans are not people who moan at their players for losing, they stick by their players and Jamie Collins came up to me and said `sorry` and I said "look, our away form has been very bad and we are expecting to stay up this year so don't put pressure on yourself about having to get all the points, we have many games where we can get the three points that we need to stay up so don't worry, I'm glad you said sorry and have a good trip back Jamie".
We waited for Johnnie to put all of his flags away and we left Damson Park at 4:41pm and we had 21 minutes to get back to the station and whilst walking back, we did a few chants to keep up our spirits and when we were passing the runway at Birmingham International Airport, a Ryanair flew past and me and my mate Ryan started chanting some football chants but added Ryanair to it instead as out names are both Ryan and made me laugh and made me proud to love football and love aviation. Then we got kind of lost and we only had around 30 minutes till our train left Birmingham International so me and my dad left Johnnie, Ryan and Owen as they were getting a later train and me and my dad had to run the last 10 minutes to catch the train.
When we got to the station, we had a few minutes to spare so we relaxed for a couple of minutes and we finally got back on the train at 6:02pm. When we got on the train, we had a clear window seat and a plug socket which mean I was able to charge my phone. About 30 minutes into the journey, the driver said there were problems ahead so we had changed onto the tracks which go to Northampton and we would go to London that way. This meant we was going to be back at Euston around 20 minutes late so me and my dad went to the buffet cart and go some dinner which was a hot tomato and chasse roll, a sandwich and crisps. Then we started talking to an Aston Villa fan on the train who was a season ticket holder in the Holte End and we found out that he lives in Brighton and still goes to every game and he was interested about us and we talked about football in general which was really good and it made the time fly by and we finally reached Euston at 8:19pm.
We wished the Aston Villa fan good luck for the rest of the season and he wished us luck and we replied by saying "yep we need all the luck we can get" and we headed back down to the Victoria Line and had a 1 minute wait. The train wasn't particularly busy and we got off at Stockwell and changed onto the Northern Line and we finally got back to South Wimbledon at 9:01pm. We walked back to the car and drove back to my dads house and the roads were very quiet and as soon as I got back to my dads at 9:25pm, I jumped on the bed and said "what a day".
Food and Drink: 7/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Value For Money: 7/10
Overall Rating: 6.7/10