DEEPDALE - PRESTON NORTH END
DIRECTIONS AND CAR PARKING
Leave M6 at Junction 31 and follow signs Left for Preston. Go up a steep hill (often a police speed trap on the hill, so stick to 30) and follow the road down to a mini roundabout (speed camera by the BP garage on the left). At the roundabout with the Hesketh Arms turn right into Blackpool Road. Go straight on over three sets of lights and just before a fourth set, the ground appears set slightly back on the left. Parking is mainly in the streets surrounding the ground. There is some parking available at the ground itself, but at a cost of £12.50 per car.
Mike Holroyd adds; 'as you turn right at the Hesketh Arms roundabout into Blackpool Road and then pass a park on the left there is now another speed camera to watch out for. The Police also sometimes set up another mobile speed trap on the forecourt of the fire station on the left, so watch your speed. Plus as you near the ground don't be tempted to park up on the grass verges, you are likely to find after the game that you have been given a ticket for it!' Steve Thornley informs me; 'Parking for cars is available for £5 a car at Moorfields School. The car park is manned by volunteers from the school and all proceeds go into school funds. Just follow the directions above and at the last set of traffic lights continue straight on for about 200 yards, and you will see the school on the left near Moor Park'. Whilst Andrew Weston tells me; 'If approaching the ground by car along Blackpool Road (A5085), parking is available at the Preston Fire Station. It costs £3 and all fees are divided between the Fire Fighters Charity and the Preston Fire Station Welfare Club. Getting to the ground from the fire station car park is about a 5 minute walk and is very straightforward - leave the parking through the gate you DIDN'T enter it by, walk along Harewood Road and turn right onto Skifferton Road. The ground is in front of you'.
Kate Abbatt suggests; 'If you want to avoid the pre and post-match traffic, here's a handy tip to avoid it. Instead of leaving the M6 at Junction 31, carry on to Junction 31a signposted, Preston East and Longridge. (This is a limited junction as you can only leave northbound and join southbound.) Keep in the right hand lane and go across the roundabout signposted Preston east, football ground and museum. Across the next roundabout (Anderton Arms on your right) and then left at the next one. At the next lights, go right onto Watling Street. You will go past the White Hart and a row of shops. At next lights by Fulwood Barracks, keep in the left hand lane. You can either park in Sumners, (turn left straight after the lights) or follow the road up to the big junction at Blackpool Road and the ground is on your left and take your chances with on-street parking. Sumners is better as you are the right side of the ground to get away quick after the game. Blackpool Road gets badly snarled up after games and the lights don't help it'.
Post Code for SAT NAV: PR1 6RU
Preston Railway Station is around a mile and a half from the ground and takes around twenty five minutes to walk, although you will pass some good pubs on the way, so it could take you longer!
Leave the Preston railway station via the main entrance, and head right at the top of the drive. This is the main High Street. Continue along the High Street, passing all the regular big name shops. Some good pubs and eateries can be found down side streets off the High Street, so if you have time, take a look. Try the Old Black Bull, and Academy, the later being about the last place on the High Street that will allow away supporters before you get to Deepdale. Colours are not recommended around town. The High Street (or Church Street/Fishergate as it's known) is about a mile long, and you will pass a church and a bike shop as you come to its end. Simply carry on walking along this street, and when you reach the ring road, you head straight over the large traffic lights, heading towards Preston Prison. Turn left at the Prison into Church Street, then left into Deepdale Road. Continue straight along Deepdale Road and after about a mile you will reach the ground.
WHAT IS IT LIKE FOR VISITING SUPPORTERS?
Away fans are housed in the modern Bill Shankly Kop at one end of the pitch. Normally the allocation for away fans is approximately half of this stand (3,000 seats). However for teams with a large away support, then the whole end can be allocated, raising the allocation to 6,000.
The views of the playing action and facilities within this stand are excellent. The stand is particularly steep, meaning that fans are kept relatively close to the pitch. On the concourse there are TV's by the refreshment serving areas showing the game live and with the bars being open during the game, this is too much of a temptation for some. There is a wide range of food available including; Cheeseburgers (£3.70), Burgers (£3.50), Hot Dogs (£3.70), Meat & Potato Pie (£2.80), Chicken Balti Pie (£2.80), Steak & Kidney Pie (£2.80) and the Potato & Butter Pie (£2.80). You can also get a pie, peas and gravy for £3.70, plus the Club offer a 'Pie & a Beer' for £5.70. James Prentice adds; 'I would recommend the 'Butter Pie', which is a bit of a local delicacy. It is just a normal pie but with a filling of very buttery mashed potato and onion. I was attracted to it by a flag at the top of the new Invincibles Stand that read 'True Prestonians Love a Butter Pie!' I particularly enjoyed my last visit as the fans, stewards and even police all seemed to be fairly friendly and there was a good atmosphere being generated within the ground.
PUBS FOR AWAY FANS
There is not a great deal in the way of pubs in close proximity to the ground. Further up Tom Finney Way (which used to be called Deepdale Road) from the stadium, is Sumners. This pub normally has a good mix of home and away supporters, although for certain high profile games and local derbies the pub does not admit away supporters. There is a good sized beer garden & car park at the pub. The pub does charge for parking (£3) but this can be redeemed against a purchase at the bar. Good food is available and children are allowed in. James Pritchett adds to get to the Sumners; 'Make sure you go towards Sainsburys and away from the Town Centre and it should take five minutes. As you go past Sainsburys turn right at the lights and it is half way up the hill. It should be full, but friendly. The pub welcomes a mix of away and home support and are friendly towards families. It serves Theakstons on draught.' Whilst Charlie Guinan a visiting Nottingham Forest fan informs me; 'Sumners was good for away fans and apart from the beer they served an excellent pie, chips, mushy peas and gravy for only £3.50.'
There are also a couple of nearby clubs that welcome away fans. First there is St Gregory's Catholic Club, which is around a five minute walk away on Blackpool Road. The Club allows entry for a charge of £1, but offers reasonably priced drinks, hot pies, plus has Sky television. You can also park at the Club at a cost of £3. Secondly, there is the Fulwood Conservative Club, situated around ten minutes walk away from Deepdale, at the junction of Blackpool Road and Garstang Road across from Moor Park. Parking is available at the Club at a cost of £3 per car and non-members are admitted free into the club on matchdays. There is also the Frenchwood Social Club on Bence Road, that is away fan and family friendly (see below).
Paul Billington adds; 'In all honesty visiting fans should avoid town centre pubs simply because the Police will move you on quickly if they see you and most pubs will refuse to serve away fans. If you arrive by train I would recommend the Vic and Station not for the decor but simply convenience.' Otherwise alcohol is served within the ground. albeit in bottled or canned (Lager £3.50, Bitter £3.30, Cider £3.50, Guinness £4, Smirnoff £3.50. Wine £4).
Whilst John a visiting Chelsea fan informs me; 'We went to Preston and had a great day. The Yates pub located about a 15 minute walk from the station towards the ground was fine and was okay for us away fans and family friendly. My only criticism of the ground was that it was difficult inside to get a drink as there was no proper queuing system and hence it was a mad scrum at the bar.'
Frenchwood Social Club - Around a 25 minute walk away from Deepdale is the Frenchwood Social Club. This friendly club offers a warm welcome to away supporters visiting Preston and is family friendly. The Club also offer hot pies and filled rolls on matchdays. You can park in their club car park for the duration of the game, at a cost of £3, two pounds of which is redeemable at the bar against your first drinks order. Unfortunately the Club cannot accommodate coaches, but does have space for minibuses. The Club opens at 11am for weekend fixtures and 6pm for midweek games. If you would like to make use of the Club then please call Colin on 0783 6778815. The Club is located on Bence Road (PR1 4NP)