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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Ashton Gate has been the home of Bristol City Football Club since 1904 and has an all seated capacity of 24,479. The club's record attendance at Ashton Gate is 43,335 set in 1935 for an FA Cup game against Preston North End. The stadium is located in the southwest corner of the city just south of the River Avon.
The most recent addition to the stadium was in 1994 when the Blackthorn Atyeo Stand replaced the previous open ended terrace giving the ground cover on all four sides. The stadium's largest seated area is the Dolman Stand with away supporters being housed in the Wedlock Stand which is an old covered terrace area with seats bolted on to it following the Taylor Report after the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster. The club has made several attempts to upgrade the stadium but this has met with planning permission objections. Plans for a new stadium are on the horizon with plans originally submitted as part of England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Hot dogs, burgers, pasties, pies, and hot and cold drinks are available in the stadium kiosks priced at between £2.40 and £3.00 with meal deals starting at £4.70. Although the food is of an acceptable standard, as with most British Stadiums better quality and cheaper prices are the best option away from the ground.
With the exception of games against Premier League clubs or Derby games against local rivals Bristol Rovers the atmosphere at Ashton Gate has always been somewhat muted on my many visits there. Most of the home support noise comes from the fans located in the Wedlock Stand where general singing banter is exchanged between the home and away supporters.
Like most large cities, Bristol has its good and bad parts, however a visit to the city can easily be an enjoyable one as it has plenty to offer the visitor. In addition to Bristol Zoo, the historic harbour side hosting Brunel's SS Great Britain is a popular tourist attraction. The city's other most famous attraction is its Clifton Suspension Bridge built in 1864 which has its own Visitor Centre. Fifteen miles down the road from Bristol you will find the Roman City of Bath, one of England's most popular tourist places. Bristol possesses an excellent shopping centre with the Cribbs Causeway Retail Parks located on the outskirts of the city.
The Robins average attendance is around the 14,000 mark and although not being renowned as a football hotbed in relation to other major cities, there is an immense rivalry between the club and their city neighbours Bristol Rovers. Other derby games tend to be against Cardiff City and Swindon. Robins supporters are a friendly bunch and always offer a warm welcome and a chat on the way to the stadium.
The stadium is reached by car by exiting the M5 at junction 18 and following the M4 towards the city centre. Once under the Clifton Suspension Bridge turn right over the swing bridge and then left into Winterstoke Road. There are some small car parks priced around £5 otherwise it is street parking. Getting away after a match can be quite slow. The city's main railway station Bristol Temple Meads is well served by trains from all over England and is approximately two miles from Ashton Gate. Buses run from the City Centre and Temple Meads to the ground.
General admission prices are between £25 and £30 for adults with concessions for under 16's and O.A.P's. This is average for the Football League Championship level, although the facilities are lacking compared to some of the newer stadium developments in this league.
There is a small club shop by the main entrance to the stadium and stadium tours are available on some non-match days priced at £8. Programmes are sold for each game at £3 and betting shops are available inside.
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Bristol, England BS8 3HA
0117 974 7300
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