Ground Number: 172
Saturday 27th August 2011
Derby County 1-2 Burnley
When the Sun's ticket offer came up, Derby and Pride Park was on my list of venues to attend. After a mate agreed to come with me I ordered and paid for the tickets. Then a week after getting them, he said he couldn't afford it. Then I arranged someone else to come, they were all OK until a few days before the game, when they suddenly got offered a lift to Huddersfield, and I was left in the lurch once more. So on Wednesday night on the train to West Ham, I was desperately trying to flog my spare ticket on various forums and knackering my phone's battery in the process. Fortunately, I managed to get rid of my ticket over the next few days, to a fellow called Trekkie_Ram (forum username obviously) who turned out to be a thoroughly decent chap.
On the day I set off from home about 8:45 as I was planning to visit a couple of grounds on the way, as well as a few shops and Derby itself. First stop was Bugbrooke St Michaels, which is a tidy but smallish ground, not far from the M40-M1 road. Then Anstey Nomads, a slight detour off the M1, somewhere in Leicestershire again a small and tidy ground. Both perfectly suitable for their respective clubs and the level they play at. I eventually got to Derby after a couple more stops, around about 11.30. As the ground was only about a mile from the town, I decided to use an all-day car park between the station and the ground (not bad for £4) and walk into town. After a wander around, in which I bought not much at all, it was back to the car to chuck my stuff in the boot and get my tickets to the pub to sell one of them. As it was late, I got a taxi, though shockingly the taxi driver didn't know where the road was and didn't have a sat nav. So the whole point of spending an extra couple of quid to get me to where I wanted to, was fairly pointless. Of course, he didn't get a tip!
I got my rid of my spare ticket for face value as intended, it was just a relief to see the back of it, after 2 aborted 'sales' The pub we met in, The Brunswick, was supposed to do real cider (IE Weston's) but all they did was poxy Strongbow. They did have a ton of real ales though and it looked a decent if a bit crowded venue. As it was fairly hot, I was glad of any liquid refreshment at the time. On the way to the ground I called in at the Chippy - 2 Spring Rolls and Chips was great value (and a big portion) although the quality was a bit 'Southern' - not as good as the excellent chippies I had experienced in Macclesfield and Rochdale! I got into the ground at around 2.50 and was confronted by a pretty loud PA system, certainly one of the better ones I have heard. The game itself was good, livening up in the second half after Burnley scored. Derby equalized about 15 minutes later, but no sooner than a minute later Burnley were back in the lead and that was how it stayed. It was Burnley's first win of the season and ended Derby's 100% record, but you would have thought it was the other way round as the Clarets deserved their win.
Overall, I enjoyed my day out, and it was well worth ticking off Pride Park for a visit. The club was very friendly and helpful from booking the tickets (which incurred no postage or card fees) to the stewards at the ground itself. The atmosphere all seemed to stem from one part of the ground, apart from the occasional 'Come on Derby' chant. And I got drenched before and after the game, despite it remaining sunny whilst I was actually undercover in the ground. The roads after that game were not that bad, it took about 35 minutes from getting back to my car to get on the motorway, which was not a lot longer than usual.
PRIDE PARK is a smart and modern all-seater stadium, having been built in 1997 and with a capacity of 33,597. Legroom and views are excellent from all areas of the stadium. The food inside is just the standard football fare and the same with the drinks. There are a few places within walking distance, though the town is walkable if a fair old trek. That would probably be your best bet, as there are plenty of decent pubs and it's certainly a place I'd like to explore more, with me not being such a connoisseur on my first visit.