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"Port Talbot Town - Victoria Road Stadium"

has rated The Remax Stadium 3.0 out of 5.

johnwickenden's review of The Remax Stadium

There’s something about non-league football in Wales that I love. Maybe it’s because the game plays second fiddle to Rugby, maybe it’s the fact that some of the grounds are so amazingly ramshackle and remote or maybe it’s the friendliness of the fans. Port Talbot are (possibly) one of the sleeping giants of Welsh football. Not so long about there were in the WPL and competing for a place in Europe, but the club have fallen on hard times and relegation to the WFL (the south Wales feeder league) has meant a couple of lean seasons. At least relegation has meant that they could look forward to a real local derby with deadly rivals and Port Talbot neighbours (their ground is a 10 minute walk away) Afan Lido. It was this game that I chose to see.
I have to be honest and say Port Talbot is not the most attractive of places. Fair do’s – it has a beach (a sandy one). But it also has a steelworks…..a very big steelworks….the sort which dominates the landscape for miles around. Because of this the town has grown up to serve the blast furnaces and has little in the way of ‘attractions’ to bring anyone else in. Unfortunately, over recent seasons the football team hasn't done much to reverse this !

Location

Victoria Road is set in the Sandfields part of town (the locals call the ground the ‘Sand Siro’), which is a residential suburb, with the ground itself being surrounded by housing. Port Talbot station and the town centre is a 25 minute walk away (head towards the steelworks). The town centre has places to eat and the usual fast food chains are in evidence, however there seemed to be a distinct lack of any pubs. There were none that I saw anywhere near the ground, with the nearest one (according to a google search) being the Red Dragon which is near Afan’s ground.
There is plenty of parking at the ground, either behind the main stand or behind the town end goal. Other than that, being located in a residential area, there is plenty of street parking too.

View

So what of the ground itself? Well, it’s better than most in the WFL although a lack of club finances are obvious. It consists of covered stands with seats on both sides of the ground with no cover at either end The northern end of the ground – the Clubhouse End – has a grass bank (not advisable to stand on it in inclement weather!) at the top of which is the car park and clubhouse. The other end of the ground – the Beach End – consists of a narrow concrete path. Looking from the clubhouse the larger stand to the left, runs the full length of the pitch and contains probably about 500-600 seats. The stand is named The Gerald McCreesh Stand after a club benefactor (amusingly Gerald McCreesh’s son Liam was captaining Afan Lido !). The view from this stand was excellent and, to be honest, this would not have looked out of place at non-league Step 2 in England. The other side of the pitch was a smaller all seater stand which ran 75% of the pitch length and held about 400 seats. This side also housed the changing rooms. I didn’t sit here as the rain was torrential and the wind was blowing it directly into this stand!

Facilities

There appeared to be a distinct lack of toilets in the ground….the only ones I could find that weren’t in the clubhouse remained locked. The clubshop which I had heard was wonderful had also closed – presumably because of the downturn in club fortunes- although they do keep a small number of items of merchandise. The programme was a decent read for a quid, full colour with lots of articles by the fans

Police & Stewards

Very friendly - were dead impressed that someone from Sussex was there watching the game

Atmosphere

The most impressive part of the game were the fans. The Talbot fans are known to be one of the noisiest in non-league and the 1901 Blue Army Ultras sang throughout the game. Whilst the Afan fans were quieter they were certainly making enough noise to support their boys to a victory

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Ratings for The Remax Stadium

ApsectRating
LocationAspect 1 rating: 3.0 stars
ViewAspect 2 rating: 3.0 stars
FacilitiesAspect 3 rating: 2.0 stars
Food & DrinkN/A
Police & StewardsAspect 5 rating: 3.0 stars
AtmosphereAspect 6 rating: 4.0 stars
OverallOverall rating: 3.0 stars

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