STOKE CITY v NEWCASTLE UNITED
DIRECTIONS AND CAR PARKING
bet365 Stadium Direction SignLeave the M6 at Junction 15 and then go straight across the roundabout onto the A500 towards Stoke. Continue along the A500 passing the junction with the A34. Leave the A500 at the slip road following signs for the A50 towards Derby. At the top of the slip road turn right at the roundabout (still A50) and then move into the second from left lane (signposted Bet365 Stadium). You can see the stadium over on your right. Turn right at the top of the slip road and then right at the next roundabout for the stadium. The Bet 365 Stadium is quite well signposted, although a few may still say the Britannia Stadium!
Car parking at the stadium costs £5. Andy Fenwick a visiting Sunderland fan adds; 'Don't be tempted to park on wasteland around the stadium, you may well end up as I did with a parking ticket waiting for you on your return'. Andrew a visiting Swansea Cirt fan informs me; 'We parked at the nearby Harvester pub/restaurant across the road from the stadium. It cost £10 to park there, but after the game it took 45 minutes to get out of the car park and then we still had to join a long queue of traffic going up to the main road'.
Matt Goldstraw adds; 'If you have a ticket for the official south car park, then after going onto the A500 towards Stoke from junction 15 of the M6, leave the A500 at the first junction and turn right at the large roundabout and onto the A34 towards Stafford. Go past the Bengal Indian Restaurant and after about a mile you will reach a small roundabout that on the right has the entrance to Trentham Awakes (previously known as Trentham Gardens). Turn left at the island and then continue straight up this road for about three miles. You will pass a golf club, a Toby Carvery, go over a railway bridge, over the canal and past an Esso garage. Then at a set of traffic lights where there is an obvious industrial estate to the right, turn left onto Stanley Matthews Way for the stadium'.
Just off Sir Stanley Matthews Way is a Power League complex that allows parking at £4.50 per car. Nearby on Eastern Rise is Longton Rugby Club which also has parking available at £5 per car. Alternatively, there are still some parking spaces at various commercial sites between the old Michelin Car park and the site of the old Victoria Ground. Bear in mind though that if you do park in this area then allow a good 20 minutes to walk (mostly uphill) to the stadium. If you are intending parking in this area then from Junction 15 proceed along the A500, passing the junction with the A34. The stadium will appear over on the right and then leave the A500 at the next junction and turn left to go down to this area.
Justin Herriman informs me; 'There are 300 parking spaces available (weekend matches only) at the Screwfix direct site on Stanley Matthews Way. The site is based one mile from the ground and allows quicker access back onto the A50 after the game has ended. The cost for parking is £4 per car (no mini buses). If arriving from the M6, follow signs to the Bet365 Stadium on the A50. Continue past the stadium for approx 1 mile and the Screwfix site is on the left. The post code for SatNav's is ST4 8GR.' Whilst Andrew Catmur adds; 'There is also car parking south of the stadium on Stanley Matthews Way between Screwfix and the Stadium opposite Pets at Home (Sat Nav ST4 8GR ). It costs £5 and you can get to this car park via Stanley Mathews Way from the A50 or Trentham Road. After the match all traffic goes south which means you avoid all the congestion by the stadium. See www.parkbythebritannia.co.uk for more details. There is also the option of renting a private driveway near the bet365 Stadium via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
Clive Dunkley informs me; 'Just to the North Stadium, in an area called Herons Cross, just off the A50, we found some street parking available on Grove Road (ST4 3AY). It is then around a 15 minute walk to the Bet365 Stadium. There is a footpath leading to the stadium – just follow the other fans on their way to the match'.
Alternatively park in Stoke City Centre and take the Bet365 Stadium Shuttle Bus:
Robert Hardy a visiting Norwich City supporter informs me; 'We've been to watch the Canaries play at the Britannia Stadium on numerous occasions, and have tried parking at several places in the vicinity of the ground. Although there's a good choice of places to park - usually charging about £5, we've always found that getting away after the game is a total nightmare. You just seem to get stuck in never ending queue's of traffic trying to get away, and it takes an eternity to get anywhere. For a change, I tried instead using the shuttle buses from Glebe Street near Stoke Railway Station, and was well rewarded for my effort. I found a nice bit of on street parking nearby at the former PMT bus garage, walked around the corner, and paid just £3 return on the bus, which had us at the ground in about 5 minutes or so. After the game, the buses back to Stoke line up behind the Novus Stand - which is just a short walk from where the away fans are situated. From the final whistle blowing, and walking out of the ground, I was back to my car in 20 minutes. Getting out of Stoke and back onto the A500, was also completed in a matter of minutes. An absolute piece of cake, and far less hassle!'
Post Code for SAT NAV: ST4 4EG
Stoke Railway Station is just over two miles away from the bet365 Stadium, so unless you are feeling fit, it maybe best to hire a taxi. Tim Rigby a visiting Wolves fan adds 'there are some shuttle buses than run from Glebe Street in Stoke up to the Bet365 Stadium, which depart every 15 minutes before kick off. There are return buses after the game back to Glebe Street from behind the Sentinel (East) Stand'.
Björn Sandström adds; 'To catch this bus, turn right from the station and head down Station Road. At the bottom of Station Road at the traffic lights, turn right to go along Leek Road (A52). Then go straight across the A500 dual carriageway and into Glebe Street which is straight across in front of you. You should then see the line of buses that will take you to the stadium. It is only about a five minute walk from the station'. The shuttle bus costs for a return ticket £3 Adults, £2 Concessions.
Colin Bell adds; 'It took us less than 30 minutes to walk to the stadium from the station, using this route: Turn right from the station and head down Station Road. At the lights, turn right along Leek Road (A52), under the railway line and then left down on to the tow path of the Trent & Mersey Canal. Follow the tow path all the way until you are level with the stadium, where two footbridges take you over the canal and then the railway line, straight into the ground near the South Stand away end.
PUBS FOR AWAY FANS
Harvester pub by the bet365 StadiumNext to the stadium is a Holiday Inn and a Harvester Pub/Restaurant that do allow in away fans. You can also park at the Harvester itself for a cost of £3. A bit further away on Dennis Viollett Road (off Sir Stanley Matthews Way) is a Power League complex that also has a bar, which also allows in away supporters, shows SKY television and you can even park in their car park for £4.50. Further down Sir Stanley Matthews Way (and turning left along Eastern Rise) is the Longton Rugby Club, which has two bars also showing SKY Sports. Parking is also available at £5 a car. It is around a 20 minute walk to the away turnstiles from the Club. Otherwise alcohol is available on the concourses at the back of the away end, in the form of Carlsberg lager (£4.20 pint), Martsons Pedigree Bitter (£4 pint), Cider (£4.20, 500ml bottle) and Smirnoff Ice (£4.20, 275ml bottle), plus small wine bottles and minature spirits (all £4.30) but queues can be lengthy, especially if there is a big support.
If arriving by train then the Terrace Bar on Leek Road has been designated as an official away fans pub. The pub which is only five minutes walk from the railway station (turn right out of the station entrance, left at the crossroads and the pub is down on the left) also shows Sky Sports and offers food too. The shuttle bus to the ground (return cost £3 adults) that runs from near the station, also stops at the pub and returns after the game.
WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR VISITING SUPPORTERS?
bet365 Stadium Welcome Sign Away fans are housed on one side (towards the Players Tunnel and Main Stand) of the Sharp (South) Stand at one end of the ground, where around 2,800 supporters can be accommodated. This stand is shared with home fans on the other side. At first I was quite perturbed by a large sign advising fans that persistent standing would result in ejection from the ground, however, the facilities and view of the action from this stand are good. The concourse is adequate and there is a large choice of refreshments available such as Wrights Pies, Pasties (£3.20 & £3.10) and Sausage Rolls (£2.60).
The stadium is quite high up in an exposed position and the open corners can mean that a cold wind can whip through the stadium, so bear this in mind, especially in the winter months. I thought the inside of the stadium was quite disappointing being rather bland and lacking character, although I'm sure that this can be developed in time. Listen out though for the Stoke anthem 'Delilah' being sung by the home fans, they can still give a great rendition of that Tom Jones classic song.
If you want to try something a little different then on the canal located behind the Main Stand (look for the semi-circular looking bridge beyond the car park) are two moored barges, one which sells the traditional locally produced Oatcake, whilst the other sells beer. Both are proving very popular on matchdays!
It is also worth bearing mind though that the Stoke fans are passionate about their club and this can make for an intimidating atmosphere, so it is best to keep colours covered around the ground. Don't be surprised if you are kept in after the game, in a fenced off compound to the rear of the away stand, whilst the Stoke fans are allowed to disperse.