Thursday, 14th Feb 2008 23:52
Our first visit to Doncaster Rovers new stadium is on Saturday, with a 12 noon kick-off, but for one day you’ll have to forego the evils of drink.
Rovers new home at the Keepmoat Stadium is about two miles south of Doncaster town centre. If you’re driving down from Leeds you need to leave the A1(M) at Junction 35, to join the M18 Eastbound. Once on the M18, leave at Junction 3 and take the A6182 towards Doncaster (the stadium is well signposted from Junction 3 and is about one and a half miles away). You will pass a retail park on your left and then at the next island (which has the Lakeside Pub visible behind it) turn left onto White Rose Way. The Lakeside Shopping Centre is now on your right (the stadium is located directly behind the shopping centre). At the next island turn right onto the industrial estate and after passing the Tesco distribution centre on your right, turn right at the bottom of the road and the stadium is further down on your left.
Surprisingly for a stadium towards the edge of town, there isn’t much parking available. There are just 1,000 spaces at the stadium, (costing £5) which is inadequate for big games like this. According to the stadium website “to comply with the Green Travel Plan national environmental initiative, the Keepmoat Stadium will encourage the allocation of all parking spaces to multi-occupancy vehicles carrying three or more people”. A number of firms on the nearby industrial park offer matchday parking at around £3-£4, and there is a limited amount of street parking in the area. Otherwise, there is a ‘Park and Walk’ service from the club’s former car park at Belle Vue, with Yellow signs to show you the way from there to the Stadium.
It’s about 25-30 minutes walk from the railway station, so the best option is to take the matchday bus service from the nearby Doncaster Interchange bus station, which is under the Frenchgate Shopping Centre. This is Route 75X and runs every 10 minutes direct to the Stadium, leaving Stand C6 and taking about 10 minutes. The bus stops in a lay-by at the Ground close to the Ticket Office and the return service after the match leaves from the same place. And all of this costs £1 each way.
There’s no point in me recommending any pubs for this game, as the police have insisted on a blanket booze ban, as “we strongly believe it is the right thing to do for a derby match where emotions may well be running high." Town centre pubs will be closed until 4pm on the day of the match, and the Lakeside bar and kiosks inside the ground will also not serve alcohol. They also said that "Substantial police resources" will be deployed in Doncaster on Saturday, and there will also be a large British Transport Police presence at Doncaster railway station. "South Yorkshire Police will be on hand to deal with anyone who may attempt to disrupt the peace."
Doncaster played their first game at the Keepmoat in January 2007, after leaving nearby Belle Vue, their home for the previous 84 years. The old ground had character but was getting a bit ramshackle for modern standards, not least because one of their former Chairmen once tried to set fire to it! The Keepmoat stadium cost £21m to build and is also home to Doncaster Lakers Rugby League team as well as ladies football team Doncaster Belles. The stadium complex was built by, and is owned by, Doncaster Council.
The Keepmoat had to be all-seater (see last week’s Northampton Awaydaze for my moan about government policy forcing all new stadia to be all-seater even for clubs in the lower divisions) and it’s capacity is 15,231. As with all the other identikit new stadia it provides good facilities but is completely lacking in character. The bigger visiting clubs (yep, that’s us) get the whole of the North End of the ground, which gives us a total allocation of 3,344 seats. The view of the playing action and the leg room are good in this stand, but fans are set well back from the pitch due to the tarmac track which surrounds it.
There is plenty of room on the concourse and the food is quite good by football standards. You can get Pies, pasties and ‘vegetarian Pizza Pods’ (whatever they are) as well as the usual Burgers and Hot Dogs. All of this will cost £18 for adults, with concessions £12, and under 11's at £5. There will definitely be no tickets on the sale on the day, and our allocation sold out by 10.15 on the first day you could apply for tickets! They have only been selling home tickets to those who can provide a utility bill for a local address, so the Donny whites will have got themselves sorted out.
Some of this stuff came from www.footballgroundguide.co.uk
Photo: Action Images
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