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Bristol R

Ground: Memorial Stadium

Visits: 1

Date: 25th March 2016

Match: Bristol Rovers - Cambridge  3-0  (League 2)

Attendance: 10 262

 

The Easter weekend normally means going to England for football and this year was no exception. Being free from work the week after Easter meant I could early on book a flight to Heathrow on Thursday evening and then wait and see what the fixture schedule would look like. Once fixtures seemed confirmed I decided to visit Bristol R (Friday), Forest Green (Saturday), AFC Wimbledon + Millwall (Monday) as well as Coventry on Tuesday evening. Going to games in Bristol and Nailsworth (Forest Green) I decided to book a hotel in Swindon from Thursday to Sunday. Less than three weeks ago the game in Nailsworth was (of course) moved to Good Friday. I decided to keep my booking in Swindon though and head for Woking on Easter Saturday. 18.25 on Thursday evening my flight Copenhagen airport and two hours later I was at Heathrow. The idea was then to go by bus to Swindon but once at the Central bus station I realized this was not the best of ideas. Huge delays on all National Express coaches, due to a strike on the Piccadilly line but above all a huge amount of cars leaving London for the Easter weekend. At 21.50, an hour delayed, my bus eventually showed up and around 23.30 I finally arrived at my hotel in Swindon.

 

Bristol Rovers v Cambridge might not sound like a big game but with the home team winning six of their last seven league games Bristol Rovers are currently third in the League 2 table. The club was promoted from the Conference Premier at the end of last season and with another promotion on the cards the game on Good Friday was sold-out. Bristol is quite close to Swindon and I was supposed to catch the 11.42 train to Bristol Parkway, where I would change to a local service bringing me to Filton Abbey Wood. My train was 26 minutes late though and I missed two connecting trains. At 13.17 I finally arrived at Filton Abbey Wood station and 25 minutes later I was outside the Memorial Stadium. The Memorial Stadium was opened in 1921 and the name is a dedication to local rugby union players who were killed in the First World War. From 1921 to 2014 the ground was of the home of Bristol Rugby. Bristol Rovers have played at the Memorial Stadium since 1996. For the majority of their history (1897-1986) Bristol Rovers played at the Eastville Stadium but financial problems meant the club relocated to Bath in 1986. 10 years later the club returned to Bristol and they have played at the Memorial Stadium since then.

 

My seat was in the East Stand and I had a great view of the game from that seat. In fact I had a great view of the city of Bristol as well.. My seat neighbour was an elderly season-ticket holder and we chatted throughout my visit to the Memorial Stadium. This was to be a good day for my seat neighbour and and the other Bristol Rovers fans. After a goalkeeping error it was 1-0 after nine minutes. Ten minutes later it was 2-0. I wouldn't call the atmosphere electric but it was certainly quite a good atmosphere with the packed Blackthorn End leading the way. Cambridge started the second half quite well and there was a feeling of nervousness inside the Memorial Stadium. In the 73rd minute the home fans could celebrate a third goal though and the atmosphere went from nervous to the one of celebration. The game ended 3-0 to Bristol Rovers who stay in the last automatic promotion spot. After the final whistle I stayed behind to take a few pictures and I was suddenly surrounded by lots of seagulls. They partied from the food left by fans in the Blackthorn End. At times it felt like I was playing a role in a Hitchcock movie. The weather had been glorious this Good Friday but on the way back to Filton Abbey Wood it was starting to feel a bit chilly. I was back in Swindon around 18.50 and went to a restaurant for dinner before returning to my hotel. Tomorrow I will head for Woking and hopefully the predicted poor weather won't affect the game (or my travels) too much.

 

memorial stadium2

Memorial Stadium

 

memorial stadium

Memorial Stadium

 

bristol rovers fc

Bristol Rovers FC

 

east stand, rear

Rear of the East Stand

 

blackthorn end, entrance

Entrance to the Blackthorn End

 

east stand, entrance

Entrance to the East Stand

 

sold out

Sold out!

 

east stand

East Stand

 

east stand1a

East Stand

 

south stand

South Stand

 

south stand1

South Stand

 

west stand1

West Stand

 

west stand

West Stand

 

blackthorn end

Blackthorn End

 

avspark

Kick-off

 

east stand2

East Stand

 

south stand2

South Stand

 

spelbild

View of play

 

spelbild2

View of play

 

west stand2

West Stand

 

flags

Flags

 

pirates

Pirates

 

family enclosure

Family enclosure

 

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Blackthorn End

 

bristol rovers-fans

Bristol Rovers fans

 

flag

Flag

 

smoke

Smoke

 

birds

Birds

 

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Party time

 

pano, memorial stadium3

Pano

 

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Pano

 

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Pano