Newport v Pools

(well, almost!)

Match report by ALREET at Rodney Parade

Newport v Pools  (League 2) Saturday January 2nd 2016

I only made the decision to go to Newport on New Year's Day... 

I rang the ground on Thursday to check the conditions and was cheerily told that the drainage was the 'mutt's' and there would be no problem as the pitch would not be used prior to Saturday. I had also spoken to a rugby playing relative who lives in the area and he, too, confirmed that the drainage had vastly improved in recent years.

Things started on a high as my favourite Oyster system had completely collapsed meaning that the whole of the travelling London public enjoyed a free ride or two. The smile was later wiped off my face, however, as it transpired that I had saved a penny and spent many a pound. 

Unlike my abortive rail journey to Exeter several years ago when I ended up buying a Cornish Pasty, I got slightly better value for my day out this time by enjoying a plate of Welsh faggots, peas and chips in Newport market. 

Making my way to the ground, I found my route taking me between my intended route over the road bridge and a newish-looking pedestrian structure, so I opted for the latter as it appeared to lead me closer to the visitors entrance. Having crossed over the river, the ground was right in front of me but I had a feeling that I had wasted my time as, although I was early, there was a distinct lack of activity in the area. 

I spotted an arrow indicating the route for away supporters so I followed the footpath which took me on to the road running behind the new stand. There was absolutely no sign of an entrance so I asked an Asian chap from a local shop who suggested I should carry on up the road and turn down to the main entrance. I then spotted an entrance for Newport RFC but this obviously hadn't been used in years. 
"I had a feeling that I had wasted my time as, although I was early, there was a distinct lack of activity in the area"

There was an equally unwelcome path alongside this old entrance but, this apart, the road consisted of nothing but houses. Standing there pondering the situation, I saw an elderly chap with a walking stick coming towards me so I asked him about the way in. He said that he was 99.9% certain that the game had been called off but was pleased that the RFC entrance was closed as he only lived a couple of doors along the road and it meant a quiet life. 

Apparently, I had passed the visitors entrance along the path before I reached the road and I then recalled seeing a wire 'gate' with a "No Public Access" sign on it so I'm not quite sure how the Welsh view Poolies!

The kindly chap I was talking to informed me that he had been a Chemistry teacher and we had an enlightening conversation about the standard of modern education among other things. He said that he grew up in the area and had attended a local grammar school but he hated the way that football there was treated as second class and the emphasis was always on rugby. He went on to say that he thought there was an element of this at the ground and he noted that they hadn't bothered to put the goalposts up and mentioned an earlier incident when there had been a bit of a kerfuffle involving Wimbledon who also had a game postponed late in the day when, guess what, there was a major rugby match against Cardiff due to take place a couple of days later. I thanked him for his time, and he then scuttled off to the library while I went off in the other direction to have a look at the main entrance. 

Arriving there, I saw a couple of locals with their kids who also were unaware of the situation. Just inside the entrance, there is a large area of grass which I assume is used as a training area for either Newport RFC or the Gwent Dragons so I skirted this and had a look at the football area but not before I was passed by an irate home fan who was loudly proclaiming that "they could have played on that". 

Having the place to myself, I had a wander around the terracing and I have to say that the pitch looked green and lush with very little surface water laying on the surrounding areas

It would seem that conspiracy theories are not the sole prerogative of Pools! Unless, of course, their excellent drainage system had kicked in after the pitch inspection???