By Connor Lawson
With the start of the new campaign around a month away, and with the fixtures released, League One fans will have already started planning their away days for the new season. I’m going to be going over some of the best away days in League One for this season that you should clear your diary for.
It’s no secret that Blackpool are a club in turmoil. Attendances at Bloomfield Road dwindled last season making for a fairly poor atmosphere. However, their promotion into League One will definitely improve the mood around the club, despite the Oyston’s still being in charge. Blackpool is a brilliant away day for many reasons. One of which is its seaside location. Many football fans enjoy visiting clubs close to the coast due to being able to make a weekend out of it. If your club is travelling to Blackpool on a Tuesday night, then you’re out of luck. There are quite a few good pubs nearby to the ground, as well as a train station not too far away, Blackpool South, making it fairly easy to reach. For some clubs, this away day will be a bit of a trek, especially for the likes of Portsmouth and Plymouth, but I think the long distance away days always have something special about them. If you fancy a seaside weekender, then Blackpool away is a good option.
4. Bradford City
Valley Parade is, in my opinion, the best ground in the league. It is a cauldron of noise pretty much every week Bradford are at home. Bradford are a club who always seem to just miss out on promotion, and they will be keen not to do the same again this season. Their fans always get behind them, making for a fantastic atmosphere. One of the only real drawbacks to Valley Parade is that it lacks a nearby train station, unless you fancy a bit of a walk, you will have to get a taxi or bus to the ground. They also boast some fairly reasonable ticket prices, at £20 for adults and a tenner for U16’s. There are pubs close to the ground, and away supporters usually enjoy a decent view of the action in the TL Dallas Stand. The most appealing thing about Valley Parade is its vast history, and the size of the ground. It really is a sight to see, and it is a ground which has seen highs of Bradford in the top tier, and the lows of the Valley Parade fire. Unless your team gets hammered, you should enjoy a good day out at Valley Parade.
3. Plymouth Argyle
Plymouth are another newly promoted side who, after a fall from grace, seem to be back on track. Home Park has a fairly modern look to it after some renovation. The only ‘blast from the past’ at Home Park is the old grandstand which remains from its original opening. Home Park is a fair trek for many teams in League One, similarly to Blackpool. Plymouth is another seaside ground, and if you don’t fancy travelling back straight after the game, you could easily stay in a hotel overnight, perfect if you have come from a fair way away. If you were to get a train, Plymouth station is about 1.5 miles from the ground, so you could walk, or get a taxi if you don’t fancy it. Plymouth fans pack out Home Park for home games, and usually make a pretty good noise when they do. That, with the coupling of some good away fans could make for a brilliant atmosphere in the ground. Plymouth charge £20 for adults, but just £7 for U18’s, not too bad at all, though your travel is likely to be expensive in itself.
2. Charlton Athletic
Another club affected by a poor owner is Charlton, but it is still one of the best away days in the league. After all, who doesn’t love a London away day? Them and AFC Wimbledon are the only two London clubs left in the league, but The Valley is definitely the nicer of the two grounds. Although London away days are notoriously expensive, football fans still love them. You can have a wander around the capital before the game, and have a London night out after if you fancy it. The Valley is a very nice ground, although it is saddening to see it half empty due to Roland’s regime at the club. Away fans usually have a good view of the game, and they can make quite a bit of noise in the away end. Charlton fans behind the goal can be fairly noisy, but not nearly as loud as they were in their hay day. As it is in London, the travel links are superb. Charlton overground station is right next to the ground, and is fairly easy to reach if you know how. Even if your side lose, you can still enjoy a good day out in London.
There is an element of personal excitement in this choice. The ground I am most looking forward to visiting is Fratton Park. The atmosphere always seems brilliant, and the fact that they pulled crowds of 15,000 even in League Two proves they have some of the most loyal supporters in England. They will only be boosted by their promotion last season and will be keen to remain in the division and possibly climb further up the league ladder to a position their fans merit. This is another coastal away day which, as I already mentioned, seem to be adored by football fans everywhere. It has the potential to be a fairly expensive trip with travel incorporated, but ticket prices are not too bad, again at £20 for adults. It has a train station nearby, and a pub within a five minute walk from the ground. The away end allows away fans to make a good atmosphere, to add to the one created by the keen home fans. Portsmouth isn’t the nicest place in England, but Fratton Park is a fantastic ground and one which many League One fans will want to visit.
So there you have it. In my opinion, the best away days for next season. Hopefully everyone enjoys their away travels next season, hopefully your team isn’t the one who only gets one away win all season.
What would your top 5 be? Let us know in the comments below!