Sunday, 17 September 2017

Chester F.C. - Deva Stadium

Chester F.C.
Chester F.C.
Deva Stadium
Bumpers Lane

Official Website:

Ground Number: 49
Date: Saturday 19th August 2017
Score: Chester F.C. 2-3 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League
Attendance: 1,670

So after an amazing away game at Tranmere a few days ago, it was time to be back on the road for another away game up north and this time, we would be off to the Deva Stadium to watch Sutton United take on Chester FC. Sutton are currently in good form as we beat Tranmere away on Saturday and beat Macclesfield Town at home on Tuesday night, so we were going into the game on Saturday with confidence.
For some reason, every time I hear Chester, the first thing that comes to my mind is cheese but that is probably due to Cheshire cheese but I still find it wierd that cheese is the first thing that comes to mind. Anyway, back to the football, I was very much looking forward to this game because Chester was one of the away games I really wanted to go to last season but I was unable to go so that made it crucial that I went this season.
The days before the game went fairly slowly but that was mainly due to me being exited for the game but also because I am going on holiday on Monday. To stop myself from being bored, I spent most of Thursday and Friday watching highlights of previous Chester games and the highlights of the previous times when we have played against Chester. On Friday evening, my dad picked me up as I was going to be sleeping round his house as we would be leaving early tomorrow morning. I spent some of Friday night looking into the history of Chester F.C.
Chester F.C. were founded in 2010 and are a phoenix club of the original Chester City F.C. who dissolved in 2010. The newly formed Chester F.C. started life in the Northern Premier Division One North (8th tier of English Football) and they were very successful in their first season (2010/11) as they won the league and they had an average attendance of 2,382 and they were promoted to the Northern Premier Division and once again, they had another very successful season as they won the league and they were the 2011/12 Northern Premier League champions.
The 2012/13 season wasn't to disappoint any of the Chester fans as they had won the league again and had found themselves in the Conference North at the start of the season and by the end of the season, they had found themselves promoted to the top tier of non-league football (Conference Premier). Chester's first season in the Conference Premier wasn't full of success as they finished in the relegation zone (21st) but luckily the club was reprieved which meant they were able to avoid relegation. The 2014/15 season showed a lot of improvement from the club as they finished 12th but the two following seasons saw them finish 17th and 19th and to this day, they are still currently playing in the National League (Conference Premier).
After looking into the history of Chester FC, I watched some TV and spent some time on social media before going to bed at 11pm. It didn't take me very long to get to sleep but compared to last Friday night (night before Tranmere), I feel asleep much quicker. I woke up at 5:40am feeling very tired but feeling excited but me not being a very good early morning person, the tiredness slightly ruled over the excitement. By the time we had gotten to South Wimbledon tube station, I wasn't feeling as tired as I was earlier but I was still more tired than excited.
Once I was on the tube and heading for Euston, I started to wake up more mainly because the tube is so loud. The tube wasn't busy which was good but when we got nearer to the centre of London, the tube did get a bit more busier. We arrived at Euston at 7am and by now, I was feeling much more awake. We then went and got our pre-paid tickets from the machine and after that, we got our breakfast and me being me decided to have something unhealthy and it was Burger King and I had my normal order of a bacon double cheeseburger XL meal with diet coke whereas my dad got a bacon sandwich and a coffee.
After having breakfast, we sat down and waited for our train platform to be announced and I took the time to go on social media and sent out a tweet on my Twitter. Our train platform was announced at 7:45am and it was the platform right on the end of the station and it was also a very small train (4 coaches) but I suppose not many people go from Euston to Chester on a Saturday morning. We walked to coach A which is the quiet coach as we prefer to sit in the quiet coach.
We left Euston just after 8am and by this time, I was still feeling a bit tired but I was getting a lot more excited for the game which was now only 7 hours away. To help pass the time, I put my headphones and music on to try and keep me awake because I was still feeling quite tired. I nearly fell asleep on train because I was so tired from getting up at 5:40am. As time went past, I got more excited for the game. We finally arrived into Chester just after 10am and we were both were not feeling tired anymore which was good as it mean we would be able to enjoy our day more.
We walked into Chester high (which was very traditional and historic) to get some lunch and there was a pride festival going on which was nice to see as it was bringing everyone in the local area together. There were many choices for lunch but we found a local bakery in the high street and it was very cheap compared to the prices in South London. I decided to get a chicken salad sandwich, coke zero and some gingerbread men and my dad got a sandwich and a coffee.
We then sat down and eat our lunch and by the time we had finished our lunch, it was just after 11am and seeing as there wasn't much to do in the town centre, we walked to the bus station to get the bus to Bumpers Way as it is the closest bus stop to the stadium. We only had to wait around 10 minutes for the bus and if you want to get the bus, then the bus you need to get is the Sapphire 10 or Sapphire 10A. It was actually really nice seeing parts of Chester whilst on the bus and after only being on the bus for around 10 minutes, we arrived at Bumpers Way.
We got off the bus and we followed the signs for Chester FC. After you get off the bus, you have to walk down a long road which is in an industrial estate but the Deva Stadium is only a 5/10 minute walk from Bumpers Way bus stop. We finally arrived at the Deva Stadium at around midday and seeing as it was empty, we went into the bar. There were a few Chester fans in the bar and they said "hello" to us when we walked in. The bar itself is a decent size but can probably hold only around 200 people. We got a drink and for me, I decided to have a diet coke and my dad got a shandy. Whilst we were having our drink, a man came up to us and said he used to live near Sutton and now lives in Chester, it was quite enjoyable to hear his memories of Sutton United and the local area of Chester.
Then at about 1:15pm, Paul Doswell (Sutton United manager), Micky Stephens (Sutton United assistant-manager) and Tommy Wright (young striker) came into the bar and they said "hello" to us and asked about how we were and how we got up to Chester and it was good to have a chat with them three and it made me feel more proud that I support Sutton because the manager and the players will come up to and have a chat to you whereas if you support a Premier League side, the thought of a player or manager talking to you in the bar would be a dream come true whereas in non-league, its something you will experience every game and will always be proud of it.
We then purchased a match day programme as there was someone selling them in the bar. We then finished our drinks and then went outside to find the Sutton supporters coach pulling into the car park so we waited for some of our friends who were on the coach. We then walked round to the away turnstile which wasn't open yet so we waited outside. We only had to wait outside for around 10 minutes before they opened. It was only £5 for me as I am only 17 years old and £5 for admission for someone of my age is very reasonable. Once inside the ground, I put my flags up on the seated stand behind the goal as we wasn't allowed to put them in the small section that we were allocated. Once I put my flags up, I took some pictures of the ground.
The Deva Stadium has a capacity of 5,126 and there are 4,500 seats. This tidy looking ground was opened in 1992. All four sides are covered and are roughly the same height, making the stadium look quite tidy. Each stand has perspex windshields to each side, whilst the corners of the ground are open. The stadium is a small, fairly simple affair with three sides being seated and the home end being terrace. The Main (East) Stand is slightly taller than the facing Centurion Community Stand, having a few more rows of seating and some enclosed glassed viewing areas at the back of it. The home end is the only terraced area at the stadium and is called the Harry McNally Terrace after a former manager. The stadium is completed with a set of four thin modern floodlight pylons. One interesting fact about the ground is that most of it (apart from the club offices and front car park) is in actually situated in Wales. (Description of the Deva Stadium is sourced from Football Ground Guide).

After taking some pictures of the ground, I went and sat down with some of the other Sutton fans and I read the match day programme and that took up a lot of time because by the time I had finished reading the programme, it was nearly kick off. The teams came out and there was a roar from both sets of fans. Sutton were kicking towards the Harry McNally Terrace for the first half. The game kicked off and Sutton started strong as they were dominating Chester and this was clear as Sutton defender Louis John scored an amazing goal in the 5th minute to put Sutton 1-0 up. Chester didn't react well after going 1-0 down as they were really struggling to keep possession or get anywhere near the Sutton goal. They always say that the perfect time to score is right before half time and Sutton did so as young striker Tommy Wright scored from distance to put Sutton 2-0 up on the brink of half time but before we knew it, Chester were back in the game as they scored a screamer 2 minutes after Sutton went 2-0 up and at half time, Chester were back in the game as it was 2-1 to Sutton.
Like normal, we went to the tea bar during half time and got something to eat and I decided to go for a steak pie and diet coke. The pie wasn't the best in my opinion, the steak didn't taste very nice but the pastry tasted quite nice. By the time I had finished my pie, the second half was about to start so I had a quick drink just before the second half started as I was starting to lose my voice from all the chanting. Chester looked much stronger in the second half and Sutton looked like they were starting to tire and this punished Sutton as Chester equalised in the 63rd minute. Soon after Chester equalising, Sutton scored but apparently the goal was offside when it clearly wasn't because we were standing level to the goal and it was clearly onside but after Sutton had celebrated, one of the Chester players "convinced" the officials that the goal was offside and the goal wasn't given all because the Chester player convinced the officials that it was offside.
This annoyed the Sutton fans but we kept behind the team but it seemed like with 10 minutes to go, it could be anyone's game because both sides were creating chances but it seemed like Sutton couldn't find the back of the net again and we were hanging on but Sutton continued to fight until the end and it rewarded Sutton because with one minute of injury time left, Moses Emmanuel was through on goal and scored the winner and the celebrations were like we had been promoted all over again. Full time and it finished Chester FC 2-3 Sutton United and we were all very happy. We clapped the players off and I took my flags down and we headed out of the ground feeling very happy.
We walked back to the bus stop and we had a chat with some Chester fans. Luckily enough when the bus arrived, the cash machine wasn't working so we got a free ride back to the bus station. Once we were back in Chester Town Centre, it started to get a bit cold so I put my jumper on. By the time we had got back to the station, our train to Crewe was still over an hour so we went in a little bar next to the station and got dinner which for me was a sandwich, ice cream and a drink. After having dinner, we went into the station and waited for our train.
I was very tired by the time our train had arrived but it was only 20 minutes to Crewe. Luckily enough we saw the Sutton squad in Crewe as they were getting the same train as us so we congratulated them all on their great performance today. By the time our train had arrived, I was almost asleep so I was trying my best to stay awake on the train as I wanted to sleep well tonight. I had spent quite a lot of time on my phone today and it needed charging so I plugged it into my portable charger and within an hour or so, my phone was back up to 100%. We got back into London Euston at 10:15pm and we got the Underground back to South Wimbledon and drove the car back to my dads house and we finally got back at just after 11pm.
Stadium: 8/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 7/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Friendliness: 10/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 8/10

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