Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Ground safety should always be a priority

Ground safety is something that came to mind at the weekend when we went to the Matchroom Stadium. Leyton Orient have a fairly old stand in Brisbane Road for the away supporters and it made me think how lucky we are to have our new facilities at AFCB.

It did not escape anybodies attention on Saturday that we had an intricate set of passage ways leading to our wooden stairs and seats. No doubt fans have been sitting on those seats to watch football matches for many years. Once a few people decided to stand at the weekend's game it made it pretty well compulsory for every Cherry supporter to get to their feet to see the match. I'm not annoyed at this, it was just a fact.

Security at the game had been pretty tight apparently because a few games ago, when Crawley Town visited Leyton Orient, some of the Crawley fans let off a flare. I can imagine that that this could be a very bad idea in a stand that is made almost entirely of wood. Anyway, a few minutes of bag searching at the gate is no big deal. I wonder in the good old days if they used to let people smoke in that stand?

Of course a lot of effort is being made by AFCB to ensure that everyones' match day experience at the Goldsands Stadium is a pleasant and a safe one. The seating in the Family stand is superb in comparison to many league grounds at our level and at least we have concrete floors. Safety around the ground has also been stepped up another level with the new walkway to the ground along side of the car park, leading to Gloucester Road. At least you don't have to dodge the cars, at the end of the match, any more.

Fans track across the newly laid path way at AFCB
However, I am not so sure about the reasoning for now only having one exit from the car park. Traffic congestion on match day is pretty bad with so many cars and I wonder what the future plans for cars are if we do have the opportunity to build a new North stand at the ground? I imagine that the car parks near the ground will become busier as well as the residential streets. Perhaps our Chairman will pull out a new set of plans for a multi-storey car park - just kidding. I don't think it would be very easy to get that one past the Council.

Still, I am sure that the club is well aware of such issues if we have bigger crowds and more capacity at Dean Court in the future. Eddie Mitchell has already made several comments in recent weeks saying how he wants the club to work with local residents to keep parking problems to a minimum. I hope the club can keep finding solutions to everyones' satisfaction.

How do you feel about car parking now at AFCB?

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