Monday, 7 September 2009

Day Two

The day began at Kew Bridge Travelodge in Brentford at about 6am. We needed to get around the first few grounds quickly so the early start was a must.

We reached Chelsea at 6.45 and after walking past the main entrance which was blocked off, we reached the Millennium Hotel through road where the security for Stamford Bridge were based. We spoke to a guard who asked us to wait until 7 o'clock. We did and he took us through the shed end entrance and into the ground as his last act of a long night shift. This was a real result as letters and emails similar to ones from Arsenal had given us no hope of any help.

Fulham was next and after a very good run we were there 10 minutes early but the security officers were already working. They should have been expecting us but seemed to know nothing about our tour. However, they were more than happy to help and allowed us in for pictures of the cottage.

From there we headed back towards our starting point and with a little help with parking we were able to visit and see inside both QPR and Brentford and head off towards Wembley with a 2 hour cushion. When we turned up at Wembley the parking assistant allowed us to leave the car for 5 minutes which was a huge help.

Watford are having a lot of building work done and to gain access inside we had to park next to a £40 charge for parking here sign, clamber across the building site and up into the stand behind the hospital end to find the manager. He was very happy to show us round and told us about a similar tour to ours that he's got in the pipeline.

Barnet was next and although i'd had 3 responses to my 1 email, 2 rejections and 1 acceptance they were very happy to have us. The lady at reception asked the groundsman to 'sort us out'. He was possibly the friendliest person we've met on the tour so far and told us all about being called up to help work on the pitch at Wembley for the England v Croatia game on Wednesday. He also had a large Chelsea tattoo on his leg that he has to cover up on match days, especially when Arsenal are in town as the chairman is a gunners fan.

After leaving Underhill we had to shoot off home very quickly to pick up some pills Dad forgot to take. Noticed twice today how Dad's becoming the stereotypical male on the roads. I drove from 6am until we reached home and twice, as navigator, Dad decided that the google map instructions were wrong and that his internal gps was much more trusted. Both times, we turned round half mile down the road and followed google after all...

Our penultimate ground was the new Colchester United's Weston Homes Community Stadium. After seeing Ady Boothroyd leaving the car park we met our contact at reception and he showed us round. Impressive facilities and lots of room for expansion if needed.

We took a slow drive up to Ipswich for our last Stadium of the day and Camilla welcomed us with a parking space and entry inside. We took lots of photos and she told us all about the stand which will be renamed in Bobby Robson's honour at the Newcastle game in the coming weeks. Outside the ground is a statue of Sir Bobby and also one of Sir Alf Ramsey. It's lovely to see them both remembered by a club they both served so well.

All in all, a great day and the time we managed to get ahead gave us great optomism for the rest of the tour.

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