Saturday, 28 October 2017

Hartlepool United F.C. - Victoria Park

Hartlepool United F.C.
Hartlepool United FC.
Victoria Park Stadium
Clarence Road
Hartlepool
County Durham
TS24 8BZ

Official Website:

Ground Number: 57
Date: Saturday 20th October 2017
Score: Hartlepool United F.C. 1-1 Sutton United F.C.
Competition: Vanarama National League
Attendance: 3,097

After groundhopping to Raynes Park Vale on Tuesday night and seeing one of the most boring 6-0 games ever, it was time to go back on the road for another long Sutton away game and this weekend is one of the furthest away games in our calender as we face Hartlepool United which is near enough 300 miles away.
The train tickets for this game were originally over £250 and we were thinking twice about going but a few days later Virgin had a sale on and they were down from £250 to £100 and that price is a bargain so we decided to book them seeing as they are very cheap and we would be travelling by Grand Central, a train company I have never travelled with before.
After booking the train tickets, I started to become more excited for the game as the weeks approaching the game were getting nearer as we had booked the train tickets around a month ago. Many Sutton games passed but Hartlepool away was seeming like a game I was more excited for than games like Chester away.
The days approaching the game were quite busy as we had quite a few assignments to do for college as October is generally a busy month for coursework so we can be a bit more chilled out for the run up to Christmas. Friday arrived and I was feeling very tired as I was woken up at 6am for college but thankfully it wasn't a normal long college day for me because today we were on a trip to Thorpe Park.
I spent the day doing the normal things you do at Thorpe Park, waiting in long queues for rides and spend a lot of money on food and drink but you cant ever beat a day out at Thorpe Park. We left Thorpe Park at 3:40pm and we got back to my college at 4:30pm and me and few other friends walked up to Ewell East Station and got the train and I got off at Mitcham Junction then got the tram and walked home.
By the time I had gotten home, I had enough time to have a quick shower, had dinner and get ready as my dad was coming to pick me up at 7pm. Tonight's dinner was chicken fillets, chips and veg. After having dinner, I had a shower then got my things ready and then my dad picked me up at 7pm and once we were back at his house, I laid in bed watching YouTube and before going to bed at 10:40pm, I had some time to look into the history of Hartlepool United.
Hartlepool United were founded in 1908 as Hartlepools United Football Athletic Company. The club's nickname is 'Pools' and the 'Monkey Hangers'. The club currently play in the Vanarama National League and they currently play their home games at Victoria Park which has a capacity of 7,858 and there are 4,180 seats. The club started out in the North Eastern League. In 1921, the club joined the original Football League and were competing in the Division 3 North until the end of the 1957/58 season when they were put in the Division due to Division 3 being split into two.
The club returned to Division 3 for the 1968/69 season but only spent one season in the league. Between 1992 and 1994, the club spent two seasons in Division 2 but they were relegated back down to Division 3 at the end of the 1993/94 season. When the Football League we changed in 2004, Hartlepool were placed in League One. They were relegated to League Two at the end of the 2005/06 season but they bounced back after one season in League Two. At the end of the 2012/13 season, they were relegated back down to League Two and at the end of the 2016/17 season, they were relegated to the National League.
I woke up on Saturday morning at 5:30am and I was feeling incredibly tired this morning but I got straight out of bed, had a quick wash, got dressed and then had some breakfast bars as I was feeling very hungry. We left my dads house at 6am and drove up to South Wimbledon and then topped up my Oyster Card and got on the tube. It was quite busy for a Saturday morning but within 30 minutes, we was at King Cross St Pancras and we followed the signs for the Euston Road exit as it is a shortcut.
Once we arrived at Kings Cross itself, we got our pre-paid tickets then went across the road for a McDonalds breakfast and I had my normal order of two sausage and egg mcmuffins. We then walked back into Kings Cross station and then went in WHSmith and got a meal deal and I decided to get pasta, wotsits and a protein strawberry drink. Whilst eating my pasta, we saw Keith, Luke, Ryan, Theo and Darryl and we all had a chat as we waited for our platform to be called and after talking for a few minutes our platform was called.
It seemed like all the Sutton fans were on the same train and we were all in the same carriage and luckily enough, we were sitting opposite two other Sutton fans, both called Andrew and we had some Arsenal and Tottenham fans sitting opposite us and they talked to us about our cup run from last season. Luckily enough, my mobile data was actually working which I was surprised about because my mobile data tends to not work on Virgin Trains.
After being on the train for about 40 minutes, my dad remembered that he had packed a deck of cards in the flag bag and we asked both Andrew's if they wanted to play and they did so we played some rummey and blackjack and this helped pass the time and we were so focused on the cards, we didn't even realise how far we had gone and we were pulling into York, which is the most North I have ever gone but when we left York Station, every second we were going more North, the further North I have ever been was increasing. We stopped at Thirsk, Eaglescliffe and Northllerton before arriving into Hartlepool at 11:30am.
We then went in the local Wetherspoons for a drink and something to eat with the other Sutton fans. A pint of Pepsi for me as they didn't have any Coca-Cola or any sugar-free Pepsi. We also ordered lunch in Weatherspoons and I went for a classic fish and chips with peas whereas my dad went for a jacket potato. The fish and chips tasted really nice and if you are looking for somewhere to eat or drink, I would recommend going in the Wetherspoons.
After finishing our lunch in Weatherspoons, we headed to Victoria Park and it only took us around 5 minutes to walk to the ground. We then went in one of the bars inside the ground and watched the Chelsea vs Watford game. We managed to get a match day programme behind the bar and it was £3 which is quite reasonable. The supporters coach arrived at 1:20pm and Tony came and sat down with us. I noticed that my phone was on 45% battery and there was a plug socket so I charged my phone whilst we were in the bar so I had enough battery for taking pictures during the game.
We then left the bar at 2pm and walked round to the club shop to find out that they didn't sell any Hartlepool pin badges and this annoyed me because it meant I would have to put it on my list of badges I need to buy online or find at our club shop back at Gander Green Lane. I then paid £10 to get in as a concession/student and I then walked to our stand and clipped up the flags then took some pictures of the ground.
Victoria Park has a capacity of 7,858 and there are 4,180 seats. The ground is a traditional compact ground that was greatly improved in the mid 1990's, with the construction of two new stands at one end and at one side. One of these the Cyril Knowles Stand (named after a former manager) was opened in 1995. It is a small single tier covered all seated stand, raised above the ground level. The other modern stand is the Town End which as opened shortly later. It is a covered terrace that is the home end. Opposite is the Rink End Stand which is a small covered all seated stand which houses away supporters. On the remaining side is the Niramax Stand  that has covered seating to the rear and open terrace to the front. This stand does not run the full length of the pitch and has an odd mix of orange and green seating, that clashes with the club colours. It was opened in 1968. The ground has a set of four tall traditional floodlight pylons. (Description of Victoria Park is sourced from Football Ground Guide). 
After taking some pictures of this really nice looking ground, I started to I really like because of how it has some traditionalism yet a modern look to half of the ground. Jason soon arrived and he had left his house at 5:30am this morning and he had drove all this way and he had his small Sutton flag with him so put it on the seats near my one and I then had a quick read through the match day programme and I noticed they made a mistake because they said we were founded in 1989 and if we were, it would have meant we would have played Coventry in the FA Cup 3rd Round in the same year we were founded but obviously we were not founded in 1989, we were founded in 1898 but it was probably a typing mistake!
By the time I had finished having a quick read through the match day programme, the teams were coming out and there was a roar from the 93 travelling Sutton fans and not much of a loud applause from the 3,000 or so Hartlepool fans. Sutton were kicking up the other end which didn't really bother me too much but we definitely looked like the better side during the first 30 minutes as we were creating quite a few chances but Hartlepool's goalkeeper was on hand to keep Sutton at bay. The deadlock was broken just 6 minutes before half time as Hartlepool shot the ball at Jamie Butler and he saved the shot but the ball slipped out of his hands and there was a Hartlepool player in the right position and scored and with 6 minutes left of the first half, it was 1-0 to Hartlepool. Sutton tried to get a goal back before half time but it remained 1-0 at half time.
Half time and we found ourselves one nile down even though we had dominated the game so far and we should realistically be 2-1 up. We walked over to the burger van to see what food they had on offer and they had steak pies so I decided to get one of them and my dad got a pie as well but a different one but his pie was much larger which slightly annoyed me but the pie was quite cold and tasted really bad so I was quite thankful that my pie was smaller but I should have gotten a cheeseburger but if there is a pie on offer, I'll always go for that!
Onto the second half and Sutton continued to dominate the game and were continuing on from their great first half performance and we were creating chances but it honestly felt like one of those long away games where you wouldn't score. At times during the game, we were letting Hartlepool into the too much and they hit the post and were unlucky not to go 2-0 up. Hartlepool had sung no songs so far but as soon as it hit the 85th minute, they started to make some noise and ended up singing "we're on our way to the Football League" which is alright is you're in the top 7 in March but not if you're midtable in October! Into added time and there was 5 minutes added on but with around 2 minutes of the added time gone, Sutton midfielder Craig Eastmond got tackled heavily and there was a another 5 or so minutes added on as it took a long time to get Craig off the pitch. 
Sutton's luck finally arrived in the 9th minute of added time when Aswad Thomas crossed the ball into the box and the ball was given to young striker Tommy Wright and he volleyed the ball into the net and with seconds remaining, it was 1-1 and I ran down along the stand to celebrate with the players and it is the most I have ever celebrated when seeing Sutton score a goal in the league! The game finished Hartlepool United 1-1 Sutton United. We clapped the players off for their excellent performance and then took the flags down and then chanted whilst we walked back to the station.
We got back to the station at 5:15pm and I got a Twist chocolate bar from the vending machine and then we was joined by the other Sutton fans including the two Andrews, who had gotten themselves fish and chips for dinner. Our train back to Kings Cross arrived at 5:55pm and once again, we was sat with all the Sutton fans and we found out that Jeff Stelling who presents Sky Sports and supports Hartlepool screamed when we equalised and someone put it on Twitter and we must have played it over 100 times on the train as it was very funny!
We then played cards for the remainder of the journey and with about 90 minutes left of the train journey, we walked to the buffet car and got something to eat and for me, it was just a croissant and it was actually really tasty. We pulled back into Kings Cross at 9:30pm, then said goodbye to everyone then got onto the Northern Line back down to South Wimbledon, then walked back up to the car and drove home and we got back to my dad's house at 10:30pm feeling very tired and I went straight asleep. I would recommend to Hartlepool United because it is a good ground with some friendly fans but just avoid the pies!
Rating:
Stadium: 9/10
Bar: 7/10
Food and Drink: 5/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Friendliness: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Overall Rating: 7.5/10

2 comments:

  1. Glad you enjoyed it at ur ground buddy I’m the team leader for the away end I probably will of passed you a few times. It’s good to hear stories from away fans and the length of the country you travelled and to the rest of the Sutton supporters take a bow you did the team proud.

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  2. Glad you enjoyed the blog, we did do our team proud! Thanks for commenting!

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