Mansfield - One Call stadium
25/1/14 Mansfield Town vs Wycombe Wanderers 2-2 2,789 (259 away)
After a break of eighteen months I am back on my travels visiting my first new Football league ground since August 2012. The main reason is that I've got to stay up in Leicester for my work, so as Mansfield isn't too far away I decide to make a weekend out of it.
I drive up via the A127, M25 and M1, having a relatively easy journey, passing a few Charlton fans on their way up to Rotherham. I arrive at my hotel in Hucknall, just north of Nottingham with plenty of time to spare. After checking in I drive up the road to the railway station where I catch a train on the Robin Hood line which gets me to Mansfield in fifteen minutes. There's three Wycombe wanderers fans on the train who are students at Nottingham University so it's not too far a journey for them.
As you come into Mansfield station you can see the ground quite clearly on the right and it's only a five minute walk from there to the ground. The first thing I did is buy my ticket for the game, which is £20. Then I walked round the three sides of the ground that you can get to, taking some photos before going in. The sun was shining when I got off the train, but by now the clouds had come and all of a sudden there was thunderclap and the biggest hailstorm you would ever see.
I decided to stay under the stand and buy myself a meat pie and cup of tea, and watch the remaining minutes of the Bournemouth vs Liverpool game. I then entered the seating area and took some photos. It's quite an impressive main stand and my seat is on the very back row, giving me a great view. At either end are two smaller stands for home and away fans. Opposite is what looks like one giant advertising hoarding, covered in many adverts, many of them for One Call Insurance the company of Chairman, Jon Radford. In fact it was once a small stand, but due to structural problems, has been covered up for the last few years. Presumably they make more money from the adverts than if they opened it up to the fans.
As Mansfield have the nickname of the Stags, they have a Stag Mascot, well two actually - an adult sized one and a child sized one. The teams don't come out from under the main stand, but in the corner, then the trainers and subs sit in front of the closed stand.
to be continued
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