|Birmingham City 4 v 5 Leeds United|
Sunday, 29th December 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Friday, 27th Dec 2019 22:08 by Tim Whelan
This year’s visit to Birmingham City is on Sunday, with a 3pm kick-off. St. Andrews is about 2 miles to the South-East of the city centre, in Small Heath, which isn't exactly the smartest part of the West Midlands.
The best way by car is to leave the M42 at junction 6 and take the A45 into Birmingham. Keep on this road until you reach the 'Bordesley Circus' roundabout and take the A450 exit (follow signs to 'Ring Road North and M6') before taking the first left into Adderley Street.
There is plenty of street parking off the left hand side of the ring road, around either the small park at the third roundabout that you cross (by Big John's) or along the road next to and behind the BP garage before the fourth roundabout, but if you arrive after 1.30pm these areas are likely to be already full. There are also some local schools and firms that offer parking facilities for around £5.
The nearest railway station is Bordesley, which is about a ten-minute walk away from the ground. Although it normally has no service outside the peak hours, some local trains from Moor Street and Snow Hill usually make extra stops on matchdays. This Sunday there are trains every 30 minutes from the two city centre stations, leaving Snow Hill at 13.00, 13.30 and 14.00 , and after the match leaving Bordesley at 17.15, 17.46 and 18.13.
You can walk all the way from New Street (about two miles) by heading for the new Bull Ring shopping centre and then following signs to Digbeth Coach station. But another option for the slightly less energetic is to catch bus number 60 from stop MS4 opposite Moor Street railway station, or from outside the coach station.
Once you've passed the Coach Station on your right, cross over the dual carriageway and continue walking away from the City Centre. You will come to a fork in the road where you want to bear left going underneath a railway bridge. Passing the Clements Arms on your left just continue straight down this road, crossing a large roundabout (with a McDonalds over on one corner). The entrance to the away section is further up the road on your left.
There is the normal array of food on offer inside the ground, such as pies, burgers and rollover hot dogs, plus Balti Pies. Outside the choice is quite limited, but just across the road from the entrance to the away section is a 'Big W' outlet, which inside has a reasonably priced cafe.
Most of the pubs near to the ground are for home fans only and are not recommended, but one place where we usually get a friendly welcome is the ‘Cricketers Arms’. To find it you need to walk away from the ground along the road going towards Morrisons, then through Morrisons car park heading towards the store but join the road next to it, which is called Green Lane. The pub is 30 seconds from there on the left.
On the way from the city centre, there is Anchor Pub on Bradford Street, behind the coach station. In the same area is the DigBrew Company in an old industrial unit on River Street, and both establishments are known for their real ales. On the main road from the station is the Old Crown, which is Birmingham's oldest building and normally allows away fans in.
In the city centre there is the real ale Wellington Pub and the 'Sun On The Hill', both on Bennetts Hill, along with a Wetherspoons Pub called the ‘Briar Rose’. Just outside the main entrance to Birmingham New Street Station, is the Shakespeare pub, which is also popular with visiting supporters, though normally under the watchful eye of the local Constabulary.
Approximately three-quarters of St. Andrews have been rebuilt since the early 90s. One large single tiered stand, incorporating the Tilton Road End & Spion Kop, completely surrounds half the pitch and has replaced a former huge terrace.
The other new stand, the Railway End, was opened in February 1999. It is a large two-tiered stand holding 8,000, which pushed the overall capacity up to 29,409. Only one old stand (it was built in the 1952), the Main Stand, now remains of the former St Andrews.
Our allocation is approximately 2,000, and the prices are £30 for adults, with various categories of concessions at £25, £20 and £15. With a relatively small number of tickets available, the club sold them through the ‘attendance tracker’ loyalty scheme, and they have now completely sold out. Tickets for the home parts of St. Andrews are only on sale to fans with a previous booking history.
Given Birmingham’s financial troubles and last season’s resulting points deduction, it’s surprising they didn’t want to make more dosh by giving us the whole of the railway end, as the displaced home fans could still be accommodated elsewhere in the stadium. The facilities and the view from the away section are pretty good, but one downside is that the police tend to keep us in for quite a while after the game while the home fans disperse.
At one time Birmingham had plans to re-develop the old Main Stand, with a new structure that will connect to the Tilton Road End and increase the overall capacity of St Andrews to around 36,500. But there has been no update on that for some time, so presumably it won’t happen unless they ever get back to the Premier League.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.com .
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