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Official Review by Gary Foxall, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Sixfields Stadium is the home of English fourth tier soccer club Northampton Town. The club moved to the 7,653 all seated capacity stadium in 2001 having previously played at the County Ground in the town centre which was shared with the County Cricket team.
The stadium is a typical box style design which replicates many of the newly built lower league stadiums in Britain. Comprising of four separate stands, the club’s main facilities are located in the main stand. This includes the club offices, changing rooms and hospitality suites and a small club shop.
Modern in design, the complex with its surrounding retail park outlets is an excellent facility for the club and their move here has helped both the town’s football and cricket clubs prosper as the County Cricket ground has now been made into a decent cricket venue.
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I have visited this venue twice and have experienced two levels of service. On my first visit in the first year of the stadium's opening, I sat in the main stand where excellent catering facilities for this level of football were available. On my last visit I sat in the visiting supporters end of the stadium where there was one kiosk selling hot dogs, fries, tea, coffee and cold drinks. The quality of food was not excellent although it was reasonably priced for a sports venue.
Apart from the odd exception, clubs at this level of the English Pyramid structure suffer from small crowds which naturally affects a stadium's atmosphere. Northampton are a typical example of this. Although the Sixfields atmosphere is not excellent, it is a vast improvement on the atmosphere the club experienced at their previous County Ground home, which was a three sided venue due to cricket.
The County town of Northampton is famous for its shoe industry from which the football team takes its Cobblers nickname. Although the town is surrounded by many lovely villages, the town centre itself has little to offer the visitor other than the normal range of High Street shops.
The stadium's adjoining retail park however has developed over the years and now offers plenty of eating and drinking options prior to a game. I can personally recommend Frankie & Benny's which is directly opposite the stadium. For the price of a meal with good service you can also obtain a car parking ticket free of charge.
If Italian food is not your preferred choice then there is KFC, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Bella Italia, TGI Friday's and a Hungry Horse Public House to choose from.
Despite the town of Northampton being a Rugby Union stronghold, the football club averages home attendances of over 3,000, which is the norm for a town of its size at this level of the English game. Local rivals are Kettering Town, Peterborough United and the M.K Dons.
The stadium is easily reached by exiting Junction 15a of the M1 motorway and then following the A43 towards the town centre. The stadium is then signposted. Northampton is well served by trains, but the station is well over two miles from Sixfields so you will need to take a bus or taxi.
Northampton is geographically convenient for both London Luton and Birmingham International Airports.
Although admission prices for home games are £19, the club do their best to entice youngsters with reduced rates including free admission for under 7's. Although steep for individuals this is good value for families. The club also offers reduced admission for cup games dependent upon the opposition.
There is a small club shop outside the main stand offering a range of club souvenirs and replica shirts. A match day programme is available for all home games priced at £3.
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