AFC Telford United
The New Bucks Head
Ground Number: 200
Saturday 21st April 2012
AFC Telford United 0-0 Grimsby Town
Blue Square Premier
I had decided I would be visiting Telford today quite a few months ago. I was aiming to complete all grounds in the Blue Square Premier and Telford was one of those left. When my Grimsby supporting friend John Darsley asked me if I wanted to meet at a game, we looked at the fixture list and picked this one out as the one to do. As it had been planned well in advance I could get cheap train tickets, paying a fiver each way to Birmingham, then by a stroke of luck getting the Birmingham to Telford (or Wellington Salop to be more precise) part of the journey for nowt by way of an offer in the paper. This was going to make it as cheap as a ticket to see Charlton v Wycombe for both travel and ticket to this game and with the prospect of a meet with a good mate and a good pub called the Cock Hotel near the ground, it was a trip I was looking forward to for some time. On the day I set my alarm for 8.50am and after getting washed and dressed I parked about 10 minutes from the town centre I walked into town, getting myself a Subway for breakfast and getting a paper and some snack for the journey. I caught the 10.24 train from High Wycombe and was in Birmingham shortly before 12.
Whilst in Birmingham I sampled the delights of The Wellington, a real ale pub that also served cider. I got to try something new, a pint of Bennetts Hill cider, which at 5.8% was a nice relaxer for the onward journey to Telford. I got the 13.04 from New Street but wished that I had allowed myself more time in the pub to sample some of the other ciders. Getting to Wellington, the nearest station to the ground, just before 2, I was met by torrential rain, and so decided to take shelter in a nearby cafe. Black pudding and chips was very welcome and good value at just over 2 quid. After that, it was nearly 2.30 so I made my way to the ground and attempted to sneak in for an under 18 to save me a bit of cash!! The ploy worked and I got in for a fiver. Maybe that was all I deserved to pay as the game was a fairly dull 0-0. OK, so there were a few chances for each side, but neither really excelled. The Telford keeper Young won man of the match, despite dropping anything and everything. His opposite number in the Grimsby goal was much better, looking solid and making a number of good saves. The club didn't issue tickets at the turnstiles, and so after the game, I managed to grab one of the last few programmes on sale, despite them being "sold out" just about everywhere
The real bonus of the afternoon and the real reason I came, of course, was meeting my mate John and his little brother Thomas. Both were cracking lads and their Uncle was a great bloke too. After the game, I went to the Cock Hotel for a pint before making my way to the train. At this point, everything was going well, I got my train into Birmingham on time and made my way back to my pre-match haunt for another pint. I left on time and expected to be getting out of Birmingham by 19.09, with a change at Leamington to get back to Wycombe. But this was not to be the case. I arrived at Birmingham Snow Hill with no sign of the train on the departure boards. Then making my way to Moor Street, the next departure appeared to be 20:45 and needed the toilet. It was whilst on the toilet that I found out that there was actually a 19.45 service. But sadly I arrived back at Moor Street and saw it leaving, just as I crossed the bridge to the other platform. Even worse, the 20.45 was now cancelled, meaning I had to go back to the pub for another pint. I made sure I left in good time to get back for the 21.20 service, arriving just before 9. But even this had complications. The driver had disappeared on so we had another 55-minute delay while they found a replacement. I was seriously brassed off my now, but at least we got moving, just before 22.15. I was now tired and was not looking forward to getting up at 5am for work. Plus I missed some 1970 nostalgia shows on BBC, plus Match Of The Day. Eventually arriving back into Wycombe just before midnight, I still had a 15-minute uphill walk to my car, and arrived home at half midnight. Luckily John and co had made it a worthwhile trip, otherwise, it would have been a bad day. I tweeted some choice words to Chiltern Railways, I can tell you!
THE NEW BUCKS HEAD is a cracking ground for the Blue Square Premier, and probably the best in the league in terms of being fit for purpose. The main stand holds around 2000 and has executive boxes and corporate facilities. The 2 ends are covered terraces, holding around 2000 each. The terracing is of a good height, so you should always get a good view. The final side is uncovered terracing, which may be a pain if it rains, but attendances rarely get big enough for this to present a problem. Away fans get one of the terraces behind the goal, and alcohol is also served in the ground, which is quite rare at this level. There are quite a few pubs near the ground, the pick of which is the Cock Hotel which does real ale and ciders. The town of Wellington is 15-20 minutes away, but there are a sprinkling of takeaways en route. To be honest, though, the food in the ground is pretty decent and good value - I had sausage and chips for a couple of quid