Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

A Vital Guide To...The Hawthorns

A Vital Guide To...The Hawthorns

Where next? The Hawthorns, West Bromwich Albion.

Where are we seated? Behind the goal in the North End, The Smethwick End. The allocation is 3,000 seats priced at £40. Sold out as it is, was and ever shall be.

What`s It Like? The Hawthorns is a unique stadium. A well worn piece of trivia tells you it`s the highest ground above sea level in the football league. It holds 28,000 and has been completely renovated in the last 15 years, meaning all sides are now enclosed. The atmosphere in the away end is very easily generated as the Smethwick End is a steep, one tiered stand. Plus, the stand is split with home supporters away to your left. This always lubricates the vocal chords.

Access and aggress to the Smethwick End can be troubling though. The stand is housed at the bottom of a long, sloped footpath. There is a quicker way to access the stand that eliminates the need to use the slope, but it`s usually cordoned off with a metal gate for reasons that are not readily explained. So on your way down to the turnstiles, you have to walk like a penguin to avert a comedy tumble. On your way out, smokers and comfort eaters are easy to identify as the level of panting can reach Alsatian levels when you climb the hill. If it`s an evening game, it`s even more fun. The pathway is shrouded by trees and is not lit in any way. So you have to orienteer your way up a steep hill with 3,000 people in pitch black. With an afternoon kickoff in mid May, on this occasion it shouldn`t be an issue.

What are the facilities like? In the Smethwick End, the facilities are pretty dire. The concourse is probably the most cramped you will find in the Premier League. There aren`t many staircases which take away supporters from the concourse to their seats, so 3,000 people cram into a space that would probably best serve about 1,000. It`s a bit like going on a caravanning holiday with the Brady Bunch. If you suffer from claustrophobia, have a brown paper bag handy. Just make sure it`s not from a local fast food outlet. They won`t let you bring it in.

If you have a nervous constitution, give the pies a swerve. They`re bloody awful. The hot dogs are only any good if you`re conscious about your love handles. The frankfurter to bread ratio is akin to sticking a pinhead into an A3 envelope. The alcohol on offer comes in the shape of plastic bottles of Carlsberg, pints of Tetley and Strongbow. So that`s the worst lager, the worst bitter and the worst cider. Inside, seating is cramped but the steepness of the stand means views are good pretty much everywhere. In my experience, everybody has almost always stood throughout the game.

What are the home fans like? The Baggies are quite typically Brummie in their darkly ironic outlook. (Their official club season review for their 2005-06 relegation season was called 'Making God Laugh`). West Bromwich was described in the Domesday Book as "the little village on the heath of broom" and their town motto is "work conquers all." Despite becoming a large, cosmopolitan borough in the West Midlands, the West Bromwich folk maintain their cheerful community feel. (A curious number of comedians support West Brom, which tells a story).

In terms of atmosphere it`s nothing special. Like most Premier League grounds it depends entirely on how well the team are playing, but Baggies` fans rarely turn on their own team with the same viciousness that others do. Perhaps that`s partly to do with the demeanour of their fans and partly because being the archetypal yo-yo club of the 21st Century has given them a decent level of perspective.

How to get there? Train links are pretty good. You can either go to Birmingham Snow Hill and take a metro straight to the Hawthorns station, five minutes away. Or else if you go to Birmingham New Street, regular overground trains will take you to Smethwick Rolfe Street, which is about ten minutes from the stadium. From what I`m told, parking is sparse. On your way off the A41 towards the ground, you`ll exit the M5 on a road that looks like a helter skelter. On this occasion, me and mine are staying in Birmingham on the Saturday evening.

Any historical landmarks in the vicinity? Around the ground there are the Jeff Astle Memorial Gates. I`m told that he was some kind of cabaret singer on Baddiel and Skinner`s Fantasy Football Show. Between the Birmingham Road End and East Stand, there is an ornament of a throstle standing on a football, as seen on West Brom`s badge.

If you`re an architecture buff, there`s the West Bromwich town hall. Other than that, like most satellites of big cities, there`s not a great deal to get the Tourist Board`s phone lines buzzing.

Where to drink? The Vine on Roebuck Street is the recommended away pub, about 15-20 minutes away. But whenever I`ve been for a drink pre West Brom I`ve used the Royal Oak. It`s about a mile and a half away from the ground. If you travel via the stadium, take the Birmingham Road and chuck a right and The Royal Oak is about half a mile away. It`s not the biggest pub, but the bar staff are very quick to serve. It`s reasonably priced and on a nice day, there`s plenty of room to stand outside. Obviously the pub is aptly named for an Arsenal fan. LD.

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA



Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday May 1 2012
Time: 8:09AM

Comments

0
Nothing less then 3 points, plain and simple.
gunnerman76
01/05/2012 21:52:00
0
On paper norwich and west brom are probably the two teams you would pick to play when you need 6 points to end the season. Both very beatable but more importantly they don't have a massive amount to play for as they are both safe from relegation. Let's hope their minds are on the summer holidays and ours are not. Two cup finals....
gunnerman76
01/05/2012 22:03:00
0
There's just the little matter of Norwich city to come first.
Naijagunner
01/05/2012 22:10:00
0
Really not liking the fact Norwich is an early KO, we never seem to perform well then, like we're still waking up or summit.
nikolaijns
02/05/2012 07:19:00
0
Make sure you sing Woy a thank you song when you visit the Hawthorns!
Rocky7
02/05/2012 07:35:00
0
Just hope they're not too intent on giving Woy a good sending off by playing their socks off against us.
Wyn Mills
02/05/2012 08:18:00
0
We done alright against Tottenham, just can't quite see the same level of commitment coming up tho ... ://
shewore
02/05/2012 09:34:00
0
Hopefully Newcastle and Chelsea will draw tonight meaning a win on Saturday will guarantee us a top four finish. Here's hoping Bolton can do us a favour too.
Rocky7
02/05/2012 11:53:00
0
Bloody *****. Two teams 1 pt behind us. Absolutely no room for a ***** up.. ******** hell. We should be miles ahead by now..
Sajit
02/05/2012 21:26:00
0
Goals difference is cut down by Spurs, as well.
Naijagunner
02/05/2012 21:58:00
Page 1/3
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

Chelsea In For £50million Alexis?

A couple of reports are now doing the rounds suggesting that Chelsea will be expected to hand over around £50million if they have designs on Alexis Sanchez this summer.

Premier League Free Agents 2017

As the summer nears and contracts come to an end, should the club have an interest in any of the following free transfers from Premier League oppositions?

My Attitude's The Same - Alexis

Alexis Sanchez has been talking about his approach to maintaining his fitness levels and stating that his career won't last for ever, he insists his approach has always been the same.

2016/17 Golden Glove Battle (28/3/17)

The final international break of the Premier League 2016/17 season ticks on by and this year's Golden Glove battle could still take a twist or turn.

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Write for Vital Arsenal
Write For Vital Arsenal
Apply Here

Current Poll (see more polls)

West Brom MotM
Suggested By:
Cech0%
Bellerin4%
Mustafi0%
Koscielny0%
Monreal4%
Oxlade-Chamberlain0%
Xhaka36%
Walcott0%
Ramsey8%
Welbeck4%
Sanchez44%
Sub-Ospina0%
Sub-Giroud0%
Sub-Iwobi0%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 28 22 3 3 69 38
2 Spurs 28 17 8 3 59 34
3 Man City 28 17 6 5 57 24
4 Liverpool 29 16 8 5 56 25
5 Man Utd 27 14 10 3 52 19
6 Arsenal 27 15 5 7 50 22
7 Everton 29 14 8 7 50 21
8 WBA 29 12 7 10 43 1
9 Stoke 29 9 9 11 36 -9
10 Southampton 27 9 6 12 33 -3
11 AFC Bournemouth 29 9 6 14 33 -12
12 West Ham 29 9 6 14 33 -12
13 Burnley 29 9 5 15 32 -11
14 Watford 28 8 7 13 31 -15
15 Leicester City 28 8 6 14 30 -14
16 Crystal Palace 28 8 4 16 28 -10
17 Swansea 29 8 3 18 27 -27
18 Hull City 29 6 6 17 24 -32
19 Middlesbrough 28 4 10 14 22 -13
20 Sunderland 28 5 5 18 20 -26
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Arsenal Fixtures (view all)

Apr 2 2017 4:00PM : Manchester City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 5 2017 7:45PM : West Ham United (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 10 2017 8:00PM : Crystal Palace (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 17 2017 8:00PM : Middlesbrough (a)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 22 2017 3:00PM : Sunderland (H)
Barclays Premier League
Apr 23 2017 3:00PM : Manchester City (H)
FA Cup

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.connor2
2.Naijagunner1
Vital Football Comment