Thursday, 7 September 2017

Tranmere Rovers F.C. - Prenton Park

Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Tranmere Rovers F.C.
Prenton Park Stadium
Prenton Road West
Birkenhead
Merseyside
CH42 9PY


Ground Number: 48
Date: Saturday 12th August 2017
Score: Tranmere Rovers F.C. 0-1 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League
Attendance: 5,050

So the league season had finally started and I was much looking forward to visiting a lot of new grounds and already this season, I have visited two new grounds (Grosvenor Vale - Wealdstone FC and Church Road - Whyteleafe FC) and I really enjoyed visiting those grounds. Sutton's first league game this season was at home to Leyton Orient and Sutton had won 2-0 and on Tuesday night, Sutton played away to Eastleigh and we lost 1-0 and this weekend, we were playing away to Tranmere Rovers which was handy as it would be my first away game of the season as I was unable to go to Eastleigh.
Last season I was unable to go to Tranmere Rovers because the game was on a Tuesday night and it is very rare that I go to any Tuesday night away games and especially a Tuesday night game where I have to get on a train for over 2 hours but I was disappointed that I couldn't go to Tranmere last season but I was going this season which kind of made up for not going last season and even better, the game was on a Saturday and last seasons away game at Tranmere was on a Tuesday night which is not as good as a Saturday game.
We had started the season quite well as we had managed to pull off an astonishing 2-0 win over Leyton Orient on the opening day which was rare seeing as we had failed to win on the opening day for the at least the last 6 seasons. The 1-0 loss away at Eastleigh was disappointing but it meant there was a lot more pressure on the team to get a win at Prenton Park this season which is easier said than done.
The week before the game was mainly spent watching highlights of previous Tranmere games from last season and the highlights from their games against Torquay and Woking so I could see what kind of football Tranmere play and what to expect. I also read quite a few blogs about other people's visits to Prenton Park so I could see what other people have said about their trips to Tranmere and I also looked into the history of Tranmere Rovers so I would have a bit more knowledge of the club.
Tranmere Rovers were founded in 1884 as Belmont FC. They are based in Birkenhead in Merseyside and they play their home games at Prenton Park which is a 16,567 all seater stadium. The club play in the colours of blue and white and their nickname is 'Super White Army/SWA'. The club changed their name to Tranmere Rovers in 1885. The early years of Tranmere Rovers saw the club playing in the local county and district leagues. The club was invited to join the newly formed Football League Third Division North in 1921.
The club continued to play in the North Divisions of the Football League but in the 1960's, the club had good spells in the Football League Fourth Division and they were promoted he Football League Third Division at the end of the 1966/67 season. Throughout the 1970's and 80's, the club had seasons both in the Third and Fourth Division. Tranmere then made it to the Second Division in 1991 and remained their until 2001. The club continued to play in the football league until the end of the 2014/15 season, they were relegated down to the National League and now they had become a non-league club and they still currently play in the National League as of the 2017/18 season.
The day before the game was spent mainly doing a bit of tidying as I was starting to clear out my room as it was being decorated in a few weeks and in all honesty, it kept my mind off the game and it meant the day went quicker as I wasn't always thinking about the game as I was distracted. By the time I had finished tidying and clearing my room, it was nearly time for bed so I quickly had dinner and got my flags and clothes ready because my dad was picking me up soon as I am sleeping round his tonight as we have got an early start tomorrow morning. My dad picked me up at 8pm and we went straight back to his house and I watched some TV and went on YouTube.
At 11pm, called it a day and tried to go to sleep but I just couldn't get to sleep for some reason, I ended up staying up until 2am but I finally got to sleep around 2:10am. I got just over 3 hours sleep and I woke up at 5:45am feeling very tired but very excited for the game ahead. I got dressed and had a breakfast bar to eat as I was feeling hungry and we left my dads house at 6am. We then drove up to South Wimbledon and parked round the corner from the tube station. We walked up to the tube station, topped up my Oyster Card and then got on the Northern Line.
By the time we had gotten on the tube, it was 6:20am and I was still feeling very tired. We arrived at Euston at 7am and by now, I was feeling much more awake. We went over to the ticket machine to collect our pre-paid tickets and then went over to a small coffee shop located in the station and go ourselves a drink and something to eat, I decided to get a diet coke and a bacon sandwich. We eat our breakfast and then we went and looked at the departure boards to see what platform our train would be on.
Whilst waiting for our platform to be announced, me and my dad talked about the other games in the National League and the other leagues and whilst talking about the other games, we noticed a lot of other football fans from other clubs were also waiting and it was quite interesting to see what teams these people support. Our platform was announced at 7:40am so we headed straight for the train and we had booked our seat in the quiet coach like normal which is at the front of the train and that meant we had to walk all the down to what felt like the end of the station to get to the front of the train.
We found our seats and by the time we sat down, we were both feeling very tired but that's what away games are all about, getting up early and making a the game more of a day out in the town as well as being there for the football. We departed Euston at 8:05am and like normal, I put on my headphones and listened to some music to help pass the time and to mainly keep me awake. As the journey continued, I still felt quite tired but when we were around an hour from Liverpool, I started to feel more awake. The weather had been fine for the journey but as soon as we were arriving into Liverpool Lime Street, it started to rain. We arrived at Liverpool Lime Street at approximately 10:30am and the station was very busy.
We were planning on getting some lunch in Liverpool but seeing as it was raining, we decided not to bother so we went to the MerseyRail area of Liverpool Lime Street to see how much it would cost for a return to Rock Ferry for two adults and it only cost £7.20 which was a bit cheaper than we were expecting. We purchased our tickets from the machine and headed down to the Wirral Line which would take us to Rock Ferry which is only a 15/20 minute walk away from Prenton Park.
Whilst on the train to Rock Ferry, we mainly talked about the game ahead of us this passed the time and we arrived at Rock Ferry at 11:15am. As soon as we got off the train, it had started to rain again so we walked to the bus stop across the road from the station to see if any of the local buses went to the stadium but they didn't so I went on Google Maps and used the directions on there to find out way to the ground. After walking for 25 minutes, we finally arrived at Prenton Park and we was very surprised about how big it was on the outside.
We've seen footage and pictures of the ground but when you're actually stood outside the ground, it looks much more bigger. As we were very early and none of the local pubs were open, we decided to go in a café called Captain Tony's Café for lunch and the café is round the corner from the stadium. I decided to get a bacon sandwich and a strawberry milkshake and my dad decided to have a cheese toastie and coffee. The bacon sandwich and milkshake was very nice and my dad said his was very nice as well, so if you're looking for some food before the game, I would highly recommend going in Captain Tony's Café.


After finishing our lunch, we walked round to the stadium and went in the club shop to get a Tranmere Rovers pin badge and a programme. The club shop is quite big and has a large range of merchandise. After looking for a few minutes, I finally found the pin badges and saw the one I wanted and I also picked up a match day programme and together that cost £6 which is quite reasonable. We then went in the Birch Tree Pub which is literally next to the stadium and once inside, it was quite busy and it was very friendly as we got a few welcomes from some of the Tranmere fans. I got a pint of Diet Coke and my dad got a shandy.
We sat in the pub watching the Watford vs Liverpool game. A lot of people had said that the Birch Tree was a good place to get food before the game and it seemed like it as a lot of people were eating in there and it seemed like the pubs speciality was burgers as literally everyone who was eating was eating a burger. The Sutton fans who had gotten on the train after us arrived in the pub at 1pm so we went over to them and had another drink but a half pint each as we wanted to save money for admission and food at half time. We then ealked round to the turnstiles, paid to get in and then as soon as we were in the ground, I was amazed at the size of the ground because it looks so much bigger on the inside.
I took a couple of pictures and I then clipped my flags up on the rows of seats that are not in use anymore and I then took some pictures of my flags and they looked really good clipped up on the seats. I then went on got a bottle of Diet Coke from the food stand under the seated stand. I then went back outside and took some more pictures of this amazing ground.
Prenton Park has a capacity 16,587 and is all seated. The main stand is two tiered and contains a couple of supporting pillars. The ground though is dominated by the Kop Stand at one end is two tiered and contains a couple of supporting pillars. The ground though is dominated by the Kop Stand at one end of the stadium. This stand has a single tier which has a capacity of around 5,500 and dwarfs the rest of the ground (although interestingly the Main Stand has a larger capacity). It replaced a former open terrace. Opposite is the Cowshed Stand. This single tiered stand looks a little strange as ne side of it has more rows than the other, giving a sloping effect. It has an electric scoreboard on its roof. On the other side is the Johnny King Stand (formerly the Borough Road Stand and now named after a former manager), which is small covered stand that runs the entire length of the pitch. (Description of Prenton Park is sourced from Football Ground Guide).

After taking the time to take some pictures, I then went and sat with my dad and some of the other Sutton fans and we talked about the game ahead and what our thoughts on the game are and whether or not we will win or not. With about 30 minutes left before kick off, Johnnie and a few more Sutton fans arrived, so I went down and helped them put their flags up. We then went and stood at the top of the stand as it would make our singing escalate more and we would get a better view of the pitch.

The teams came out just before 3pm and there was a loud roar from the 5,000 or so people inside Prenton Park and I could feel the energy that football gives you going right through my body. Sutton were kicking towards our fans in the first half so we all hoped that we would score in the first half. Sutton started the game strongly as they were creating many chances but the Tranmere defence was on hand to keep Sutton at bay. Sutton then took their chance in the 23rd minute when Sutton broke out an attack and Craig Eastmond put Sutton legend Craig Dundas in on goal and he striked the ball down the middle and Sutton took the lead. 

Sutton youngster Tommy Wright was really showing everyone what he can do and he were creating chances but those chances were not going into the net. Tranmere did have a few chances to get back into the game before half time but Sutton held on and at half time, it remained 1-0 to Sutton. After clapping the team off for their excellent first half performance, I went down to the food stand and got a cheeseburger and it didn't taste very nice, the burger itself is okay but the cheese didn't taste very nice at all. 

I then went and sat with my dad and Tony and talked about our amazing first half performance and by the time we had a chat about the first half, the second half was about to start. As soon as the second half started I felt really nervous but I also felt really excited because I knew that if Sutton could hold onto this 1-0 score line, it would top off a great day. We kept the atmosphere going and it had been great so far, we were very loud and there must have been at least a good 50 Sutton fans chanting. The second half looked to be in Tranmere's favour as they were creating many chances but thankfully, Sutton goalkeeper Jamie Butler was on hand to keep Sutton 1-0 up. Sutton then had a good 15 minute spell and were creating chances but nothing came from those chances. Tranmere then hit the crossbar with about 10 minutes left. Then into added time. A slow shot rolled across the goal line but hit the post. Sutton then played out the rest of the game and we had won the game 1-0.

The celebrations at the end of the game felt like we had won the league but it was mainly because we had beaten the largest team in the league and had won at an amazing stadium. We clapped the players off and we then all talked about the game for a few minutes. I then took my flags down and put them back in my bag and seeing as our train wasn't for another few hours, we went back to the Birch Tree for a drink and most of the Sutton fans were also in the pub.
After having a quick drink, we decided to get a taxi back to Rock Ferry. When we arrived at Rock Ferry, the majority of trains going towards Liverpool had been cancelled and the next train wasn't for another 30 minutes so we went in the pub across the road from the station. We walked back to the station after being in the pub for only 15 minutes and the journey back into Liverpool felt much quicker than it was going the other way this morning. When we arrived back into Liverpool, we walked to McDonalds for dinner and once we had got our dinner, we walked back to Liverpool Lime Street.
We then got on the train and the journey back home was spent mostly listening to music and reading the match day programme. We got back into London at around 10pm and we got on the Underground, got off at South Wimbledon and walked up to where we had parked the car and we drove back to my dads house and we got back at just after 11pm. I had really enjoyed my day at Tranmere Rovers and I would highly recommend going to Prenton Park.
Rating:
Stadium: 9/10
Bar: 8/10
Food and Drink: 6/10
Atmosphere: 9/10
Friendliness: 10/10
Value For Money: 10/10
Overall Rating: 8.7/10

2 comments:

  1. Good write up mate. You will always be welcome back to Wirral. Terrible result though #SWA

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    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Tranmere fans are very friendly and thank you, it was for you but an amazing result for us. Good luck for the rest of the season 👍

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