Gander Green Lane . The Sutton United Football Experience
As a regular watcher of nonleague football to watch Sutton v Cheltenham in the FA cup second round seemed a reasonable option. Did I enjoy the whole experience? Not really. What went wrong?
Admission was a reasonable £15 and £2.50 bought a fairly average programme mostly full of adverts.
Sitting in the main stand was not an option as seems all the seats quite reasonably had been ticketed.
On first sight the ground is an attractive one tucked away about a mile from the town centre and seemingly inserted between park lands on one side and residential housing on the other. To some extent the ground is covered on each of the four sides. So what went wrong?
Firstly the standard of the game was poor with one hardly realising that Cheltenham were a professional league two side managed by Gary Johnson who once very successfully managed Latvia.
Secondly there are huge gaps between the stands and the pitch edge, although some could stand pitchside, but again a huge gap between the pitch side and the actual pitch. This all contributed to far less of an atmosphere than when fans are close to the action. Some of these photographs might convey this large gap.
Thirdly there were such limited catering and toilet facilities for the crowd of 2200 that if either were needed a long queue was mandatory. I counted around 30 people queuing around 10 minutes before half time at each of the outlets in the Sutton fans section. Without doubt more outlets were needed and Sutton missed out on greater takings.
Perhaps the most worrying aspect were many of the young fans not even watching the game in the second half and kicking balloons to each other and on benches outside the closed club shop.
All in all this is a ground I would not rush to return to.