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Official Review by Rob Campion, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Featherstone Rovers Rugby League Football Club were formed in 1902, reformed in 1906 and became members of the Northern Union (now called The Rugby Football League or RFL) in 1907. They have won the prestigious Challenge Cup three times in 1967, 1973 and 1983, and became league champions for their only time in their history in 1977. Since the sport adopted a summer calendar, Rovers have spent their time in either the 2nd or 3rd tiers, and currently compete in the Rugby League Championship.
Since 1904 the club have called Post Office Road their home, though due to a sponsorship deal with a nightclub in nearby Pontefract, it is called The Big Fellas Stadium. It is located in the middle of the town with the railway station being a short walk away.
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There are plenty of places inside the ground to get food and drink, and they all have the same offerings. The first one you come to is just through the turnstiles and then all the others are located in various parts of the stadium. All can be accessed as there are, apart from the corporate area, no restrictions and fans can move about freely.
The offerings are the basic staple choices that are found at sports venues in this country. Examples being pies (£3.50), burgers (£3), hot dogs (£2.50) and chips (£2). Hot drinks retail at £1.50 and cans of soft drinks are £1. For anyone wanting alcohol you are limited to three choices - lager, cider and bitter. The first two cost £3.30 a pint or £1.65 for a half, while the latter costs £3.10 a pint or £1.55 for a half.
The stadium is made up of both seating and standing sections. The main stand is immediately in front of you as you enter the turnstiles, with the only terracing being behind the right hand posts and around to the sides at both corners. On the far side opposite the main stand there are two sections of seating - the larger one being called The Community Stand. Behind the left hand posts is another seated section that runs the whole length of the goal line.
There is no segregation inside the stadium and there usually isn't any at rugby games in England. Regardless of attendance, the atmosphere is very good with both sets of supporters playing their part by creating plenty of noise.
Featherstone is a small former coal mining town with a population of 15,244 in 2011, and lies in the shadow of its larger neighbours Leeds and Wakefield. The following point might come across as harsh, but unless you are here for the rugby, the town does not offer anything or any reason to visit it. If you are in the area you are more likely to be based in Leeds - one of the largest cities in the UK.
On a positive note, as after years of decline the town though is going through some regeneration with projects including new housing and schools.
The crowd is made up of supporters of both sides and they mix freely before and during the game. Not a hint of trouble and you will hardly hear any bad language. Like all spectator sports in this country, and probably across the globe, it is a male dominated environ, but there is a good mix of families supporting both sides. They know their sport, and the rival fans will voice their differing opinions on the same incidents.
The ground is located in the centre of the town and is no more than a five minute walk away from the railway station. There is parking at the ground that costs £3 - getting in is fine but it takes a while exiting due to everyone leaving at the same. The town itself is easily accessible from all points, with it being only a few miles south of the M62 motorway that runs east-west across northern England. For anyone coming from a northerly or southerly direction the A1 is between 15 and 25 minutes away, depending on which exit you take.
There is a one price fits all policy for anywhere in the stadium. Match day prices are £18 (adult), £12 (OAP/concession), and £5 (children). Season tickets are available and the normal prices are £170 (adult), £110 (OAP/concession), and £45 for children.
Featherstone have their prices about right compared to other clubs in the division.
Sport in the UK is generally no frills, and this without being disrespectful is the case here - no complaints from me on this. A match day programme costs £2.50 and has some interesting articles inside. There is a small club shop that sells a variety of Rovers merchandise, with examples being pin badges (£3.50), replica shirts (£45), polo shirts (£26) and scarves (£12). The full range can be found on the club's website.
A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon out at a ground. A visit here is recommended if you like your sport that treats you like a customer and not a number.
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