Away days. The best part of football. And we all miss them so, so much.
From getting a 7am train, to meeting your friends, to finally getting into the pub on the other end… there’s just something special about the whole experience. The people, the stories, that feeling of a long journey home after a solid win.
But whilst things may look bleak right now, with a vaccine out there’s plenty of hope for a return to normality being not too distant.
So which are your favourite away days in League Two? Take a look at our list below, and see if there are any you would add!
Port Vale @ Vale Park
Perhaps a slightly odd choice at first glance, but there’s method behind the madness with this one.
Stoke, or more specifically Burslem if heading straight to Vale, perhaps isn’t quite as exciting a day out as some of the others on this list – but it’s still worth doing. There are a number of chain and independent pubs dotted around the city centre, whilst there are also a fair few in Burslem itself.
But what makes Port Vale away so good is its gargantuan away end. As pictured above, up to 4500 travelling supporters can be accommodated behind the goal, creating a real atmosphere when full.
Inside the ground, the facilities are good and the concourse is well-equipped. Alcoholic drinks are available only in bottles, unfortunately, but come at reasonable prices.
Travel wise, the away day is very easy. Stoke is accessible via the West Coast line from both London and Manchester, alongside a host of other large towns and cities in other directions. From there, Burslem is around two short bus journeys away.
Perhaps not the most glamorous of away days, but with larger followings it is certainly one to do!
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Crawley Town @ Broadfield Stadium
Certainly a shock entry on this list – but Crawley really does deserve a mention.
Away days in the capital, if done right, are fantastic. Though Crawley isn’t in London itself – instead situated about a thirty-minute train outside – many will opt to spend their pre-match hours in the capital, especially if not travelling from too far away.
The ground is situated not too far from the station, an easy £5 taxi journey or a 30-minute walk. The walk takes you past a few pubs and bars, many of which showing lunchtime kick-offs if travelling on a Saturday.
Crawley’s away end is, well, very old-school. An open terrace gives it that real ‘non-league’ vibe that many fans search for; those who wish to sit can do so in a temporary stand built to the left. Its low roof makes it easy to get an atmosphere going in the away end – though you won’t sound as loud as think to the home fans!
Perhaps the less said about the volume of the home support the better, but their fans are incredibly friendly and easy to chat to. So are the staff, who seem to all support other local clubs and will always get behind the away side at Broadfield!
I’ve been twice and loved it both times. Highly recommended.
Forest Green Rovers
A few weeks ago, in our Best Stadiums in League Two article, we caused a bit of a stir adding Forest Green’s New Lawn into the top five. There were plenty, however, who agreed!
FGR as an away day is certainly one for the traditionalist with its large open-air terrace and sub-standard facilities. But the staff are friendly, the food is actually quite good, and the beer served behind the stand really isn’t too bad at all.
The whole vegan aspect of the club is very interesting and, whilst not everyone’s cup of tea, does provide something completely different. I almost never buy food in the ground, though on my trip to FGR I bought a veggie burger with a side portion of chips – couldn’t beat them. A bottle of Beck’s then washed it nicely down after in the warm Gloucestershire sunshine.
The nearest town Stroud, though quiet, still has a handful of decent pubs for some pre-match hydration. Be aware, however, that they don’t take too kindly to travelling fans being rowdy. The ground is a thirty-minute bus ride with it dropping you in the middle of nowhere, so also ensure you’ve got Maps working on your phone!
New Lawn has been a tough place to go for three points recently, but the day out itself can be quality. It is, though, completely weather-dependent – so make sure to check the forecast!
Certainly a lot better the credit people give it. I’d be keen to know your thoughts on this one!
Salford City @ Moor Lane
As I mentioned in the League One equivalent to this article two weeks ago, being a Manchester student I’m somewhat bias – but there really is no better city in which to watch football.
Greater Manchester, Salford being apart of it, is perfect for away days with plenty of pubs, bars and restaurants dotted around the centre. Piccadilly Gardens, despite its reputation, is full of decent spots for pre-game; the Northern Quarter is best for those wanting something a bit quieter.
Perhaps not a normal away day activity – maybe one worth saving for another time – but the National Football Museum, situated a ten minute walk from Piccadilly Station, is well worth a visit.
The Ammies ground in Prestwich isn’t too far from the city centre, easily accessible by both bus and tram. Its old-fashioned, though new-built, terrace makes for a great atmosphere among larger followings; entrance is cheap and reasonably priced alcoholic beverages are available.
There are various pubs and alike around the ground, though you may need to walk a bit. The home atmosphere certainly leaves a lot to be desired but, forgetting that, there is little to criticise.
Salford certainly aren’t everyone’s favourite club – but they do give us a good day out!
But are there any others you would add to this? Tranmere Rovers? Leyton Orient? Exeter City? A trip over the border to Newport County?
Make sure to drop us a comment below, or tweet us in on @FanHub_Football!