Back on the train today and one of what I call my London ‘Away-days’ – the 6.10am from Long Eaton to St Pancras and then on to somewhere exotic. Sadly, the prats who run East Midlands Trains have changed the timetable and cut the discounted price structure, so it looks like I could be off the train and back in the car for 2009. This early morning train is never full, and will be even emptier now they’ve jacked up the prices! A brisk walk through London and I’m at Waterloo where I get ripped off by the Bonaparte Cafe advertising breakfast at £2.99. I get charged £5.99 for a veggie breakfast which is basically a £2.99 brekkie minus the meat. Beware!
My pre-booked train gets me into Dorchester South where I pick up a book about Brian Clough from Waterstones and head for Tom Browns, home of the Goldfinch Brewery. Not a bad pub, nice and quiet with four local brews on tap. Then it’s across the road to the Blue Raddle which is busy but I manage to nick a seat. The nearby Wetherspoons has beers on which I’d like to try, but you can’t get served (surprise surprise) cus of all the food orders coming in so I set off for the ground. The Jewson stadium is about 20 minutes walk from the station and is easy to find to the south of the town, right next to Tesco. From the outside it looks a bit like a prison, but unlike a prison its hard to get IN. I get my bag searched by a jobsworth, then have to squeeze through the wierdest-designed turnstile I’ve ever encountered – if you’re over 14-stone don’t try! Oh, nearly forget, the bar is accessed from outside the ground and has big-screen sports TV but no proper beer. The food stalls are inside the ground but sell the usual crap – burgers and chips. Don’t think I’ll bother this week.
The stadium inside is very impressive, and definitely (although I’m not counting all the seats) up to Football League standard. The large main stand occupies half of one side of the ground, with covered raised terracing running most of the length of the other. There’s raised terracing behind both goals, with a cover over one end. As usual, I pick a non-feast of football as lowly-placed Dorchester battle out a drab 1-1 draw with mid-table Welling. The crowd of 350 or so (including about 35 from Welling) try to get excited but I find myself pining for the Eredivisie (or maybe it is just the Wildeman).