Journey - 5
Our drive to Lewes for this evening fixture went on for much longer than we first expected. I always feel that the roads in Sussex in general aren't fit for purpose and it seems that whenever there are any roadworks along the A27 chaos ensues. Once you are into Lewes there is a good amount of car parks near the ground, the club suggest you park in the nearby college car park for the price of £2 which is manned by a steward. We managed to find street parking just further down from this which was free, although I'm sure this wouldn't be the case for a usual 3pm Saturday kick off. The traffic didn't help with entering the ground as around 150 fans (including myself) were waiting to get into the ground even as the whistle was about to blow.
Ground - 9
This is by far the best ground that I have visited so far! As you enter through the turnstile you are at the top of a steep covered terrace behind the goal. To your right is a modern style stand which stretches across the whole length of the pitch. There is plenty of seating but also room for standing a tthe back of the
stand too, a great bonus! At the opposite end is another terrace which has bars to lean against a the right height! (We know how important that is!) With the gradient of the terraces behind the goal you get a superb view which I haven't seen elsewhere on my non-league travels. To your left is a path which is raised well above the pitch and this end of the ground is surrounded by wonderfully unique castle walls. It makes the ground look stunning from the main stand. For the range of views you get of the game this ground really is stunning. Another unique perk to this ground was how they advertised their matches, for each upcoming game there was a billboard style poster that was a parody of a tv show, music album or film. A huge well dome to the volunteers behind this as it was excellent! Check out the photos for some examples. Other facilities include a clubhouse, tea hatch and a hut that appears to be serving rather posh grub! The club shop is welcoming and adjacent to the shop is three beach huts that overlook the pitch. I wonder if these are used as boxes?
Clubhouse - 7
The clubhouse is a great size and sits to the right of the goal as you are looking at the pitch. The only slightly concerning part is the way it looks from the outside. The windows are covered with what looks like prison bars! The clubhouse (from the outside) reminded me more of a scene from Shawshank redemption than the home of a football club! I am then quickly reminded that possibly on more than one occasion a football has gone through the window of
the clubhouse, thus making the prison bars a necessity. The clubhouse had everything you'd need and has the feel of a more traditional pub with huge blackboards above the bar.
Beer - 6 A good range of beers were available although I didn't sample any on this occasion so it is difficult to discuss whether it was appropriately priced or not. Being a Yorkshireman in a southern ground I will assume it was overpriced! ;)
Programme - 0 I saw a poster upon entering the ground and a small part of me died inside... the poster informed supporters that no programmes were on sale and that their 'excellent' programme could be downloaded for free online. As an avid programme reader I must confess that I only tend to read programmes before the game, programmes give you more information to wet your appetite for the clash your about to see. Downloading one and reading it off of a phone screen didn't appeal to me at all and even less so reading an e-programme after the event itself. I I'm afraid its a 0 from me! (P.S I also like a programme as souvenir from the match so I had to settle for a paper flag from the club shop for a pound)
Atmosphere - 9 With Worthing at the top of the league and Lewes fighting to stay in the division it was always bound to be a passionate affair. Both sets of fans were absolutely fantastic as they supported their teams behind each goal. This meant that sitting in the main stand and being able to hear and watch the back and forth between the fans only added to the evening. Being sat behind the dugouts also added to the atmosphere as the Lewes manager belt out a series instructions to his struggling side only for the number 8 to respond with "I can't hear you!" whilst shrugging his shoulders. This was rather amusing for both home and away supporters in the main stand. The Worthing fans known as the "Fanatics" (according to their flag) were in fine voice and with their drummer made an excellent noise that I couldn't help hum along to. The Lewes fans responded by being led by a chap who I named "Scarf
man" for he was wearing two different scarves behind the goal. Whenever scarf man shouted something, the fans around him repeated it, I appreciated scarf man's efforts even more as his team were very much outplayed in the second half yet his voice did not falter! Well done Scarf man, I wonder what you will use when the weather improves?
Chip Butty - N/A
We didn't opt for a chip butty but got a tea and some malteasers from the hatch. They offered a range of pies but they were a little too posh for my liking. That's the sophisticated South for you!
Match Quality - 8
After a defeat to promotion rivals the weekend before this was a huge opportunity to get back on their road to promotion and they very much took it. Two goals in each half made for a good amount of goalmouth action during the game. I was particularly impressed by Worthing's number 2 who has speed which I have not seen before at this level of football. He was the sort of player that would excite you when he got the ball. After the third Worthing goal the game was dead and buried and the rebels took their foot off the gas. It felt like if they wanted to, they could have scored 5. The ref must have been particularly good as I can't remember a single decision he made!
Admission Price - 7
I have mentioned that I think £10 a ticket is the most to pay at this level of the game, in order to encourage youngsters and build your fan base. £12 was the price for admission for this match. Although I don't fully agree with this, it is important to note that Lewes is ran as a not-for-profit club who take great pride in paying their female players the same wage as their male players. It is for these reasons that I don't mind the slight increase in price as I know that this club is striving to do things the right way and grow the women's game in it's community.