The Toon Army sent to Coventry – An away fan’s guide.

Posted on November 29th, 2009 | 22 Comments |

Coventry: "City of peace and reconciliation"
Coventry: "City of peace and reconciliation"
You may have read about an idea I came up with about travelling for our away games, and if you haven’t, well you have now.

I’m hoping to make this a regular feature, detailing various elements of travel for Newcastle United away supporters. To aid with this i shall be calling on my experience of away days, my own personal knowledge and geography as well as some insider tips I have picked up over the years. Its also more for people who will be making their own way to grounds, as I’m assuming most people travelling from Newcastle will be using the coaches… something I never have done (the fear of urinating in one of them tiny bogs cripples me). Its also not meant to be a match preview as i’ll leave that up to the guys that do it so well currently.

This first article is one that’s really easy for me as it features our Wednesday evening trip to Coventry City and its Ricoh Arena… a venue that is 11 miles away from where I currently live. So here goes…

Scheduled for Wednesday 9th December, a potentially cold and wet trip to Coventry awaits us. Being the time and day the match is, I’d expect the 210 mile journey south from Newcastle to be far from ideal. A major contributing factor will be the amount of roadworks down the A1 and then M1. Any trip around this time will encompass the dreaded rush-hour, so an early departure is essential. As it stands, the most simple way from Newcastle will be the A1, onto the M1 until Junction 21 (Leicester/M69), then follow the M69 to the M6. This will bring you out at Junction 2. Join the M6 north for approximately 2 miles and leave at Junction 3. Take the 2nd exit (A444 / Coventry) and follow the road. The ground is on the left at the next roundabout after around a mile. It really is a doddle to find honestly, in fact, you can see it from the motorway!

The first obstacle, as always, will be parking. There is a large car park opposite the ground which used to be fine but is now solely used for away fans. Any residential streets around the ground are now permit holder only and thus you may get towed away. One feasable option in the run-up to christmas is the retail park nextdoor to the stadium. Generally on a match day there is a 2 hour stay limit, and it gets policed! You can get around this by spending £25 in one of the shops and putting the reciept on your car windscreen. There are shops such as GAME, M&S, Tesco, Next and Boots there so its not hard to shift £25 should you choose to. Alternatively, there are private car parks dotted around that charge around £5. but its best to get there early to ensure a space. To get to these, as you come of the M6, take the first exit (B4113 / Exhall). There will be a few car parks on the left and its about a 10 minute walk down Wilsons Lane then Rowleys Green Lane to the ground. Keep an eye out for Coventry’s yobs called the IO legion, no idea why?! You can spot these by looking for spotty teenage midlanders wearing the usual Stone Island / Burberry. I doubt they would do anything but its something to look for.

Obviously i dont advocate drink driving, but if any passenegers fancy a tipple, bite to eat or you just fancy a coke, then I have bad news! Most of the pubs close to the ground are very partisan and accept only home fans. One exception to this is ‘The Black Horse’. Situated near to the car parks i detailed in the very last part above, it has accepted away fans for a while now. Just be warned that you have to cross a busy dual carriageway to get to it. Tesco, in the retail park next to the ground also has a cafe in it should you be a bit peckish.

Onto the ground itself. Relatively new but devoid of atmosphere, away allocations are said to be over 5,000 tickets for larger visiting teams, which would certainly include Newcastle. Its possible to get a good sing song going as away fans sit in one of the corners which reverberates the noise. On the concourse, all the usual goodies such as warm beer and colder pies and pasties for around the usual price. Thats about all for the Ricoh, it really is the “plain Jane” of football grounds. Even concerts there are dull!

Thats my first go at trying to help people plan an away trip. Getting back shouldn’t be an issue as the roads should be relatively dead at that time of night. Lets just hope those that do go have a nice long journey home celebrating another 3 points.

Howay the lads.

NUFCBlog Author: toonsy toonsy has written 643 articles on this blog.

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22 Responses

  1. Hi Toonsy. Wecome on board. Good informative piece I’m sure a lot of people will benefit from. Always good to have a bit of insider knowledge especially when trying to park etc.

  2. Hi Geordie Deb, and thanks! Im surprised to see this up lol. Worky said he would put it up but it still surprised me.

    Ive been to a lot of away games in the past, plus my job means i get around a lot and gain insider knowledge, short-cuts etc and i thought why not share it? Its just my opinion, but making away games is a pleasure, and why not give people a guide as the best way to get around?

    Im hoping to do more for all our away games but we’ll see how this goes first :)

  3. of which you wont be using of course…you cant even be bothered to go to the home games never mind the aways !!…but for the travellers amongst us it’s very useful.

    …well done toonsy.

  4. komfort – I think the heed could well make league 2 if they got some people in watching them. Money at that level is like gold-dust, but stadiums of that size are aswell.

    On topic. It seems to be going down well, this thread i mean. I’ll work on one for Barnsley, another place i know really well :)

  5. im going to that game however im going on the wednesday unti notified of a change. cheers for the artcle.

  6. joppadoni – Hmm, i got the day wrong…. oops.

    david russell – Im not sure on the bus number, but there is one from the city centre that goes to arena park……. the retail park next to the Ricoh. Head to the “Pool Meadow” bus station and it should go from there. Walking im guessing its going to take around 30 minutes from the train station, possibly more.

  7. Toonsy, have you actually been to the Ricoh m8. The away fan area actually holds 6000+ and is placed directly behind one of the goals – not in a corner as you say – fans are only placed there when they bring less than about 1000, which wont be the case with your club, I’m sure.
    Also we arrange a smoking area for away fans at half time so they can get their nicotine therapy. Smoking is not allowed in the stands and it’s possible you may get removed for smoking and drinking in the stand. Anyway, welcome to all you Newcastle fans. See you on the 9th Dec as I am a Steward on away fans stand – Jewson or yellow stand

  8. Stan says:
    November 29, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    “Toonsy, have you actually been to the Ricoh m8. The away fan area actually holds 6000+ and is placed directly behind one of the goals – not in a corner as you say”

    Stan, officially, it’s around 3000, and it says that away supporters are usually situated towards the corner in blocks 6/7?

  9. workyticket, sorry, m8 club policy is to generally to fill blocks 8,9,10 and use 6 and 7 as overflow, but never mind, we aint gonna fall out over this are we. I’m sure you’ll keep us busy when you arrive (I normally work block 9/10 on vomitory 41) but wrong on capacity away block carries just over 6000 but as its never filled it probably doesnt look that many. West Brom bought just over 5000 last season as did Chelsea in the cup.

  10. Stan is right like, but I guess that’s a given, considering his position!

    We’ve been allocated 5,000 I think. Still trying to get someone to come down and share the journey and the cost but struggling with it being midweek. Might take out the money in dribs and drabs so the missus doesn’t find out how much it’s costing and jump on a coach…

  11. Dullest of Football Grounds?  Says a Geordie with a ground that has 2 decent stands?  Have a word. 

    Our stadium isn’t the best of stadia, but I most certainly wouldn’t describe it as the dullest.

  12. Sorry guys, been on the beer today.

    CCFCStef – I meant the atmosphere in the ground, and i think you’ll find our “2 decent stands” will comfortably fit your clubs average attendance in.

    Stan – As a steward you must be so proud. I apologise! I forgot your teams currennt management would want to milk as much cash as possible. I suppose this includes selling more seats to the best supported teams.

    worky, bowburn, i made a wee hash of this but i promise i’ll do a better one next time. I keep forgetting that now we are “the big draw” for teams.