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Ian Cartwright's guide to Deepdale

Posted on: Fri 04 May 2012

Ian Cartwright reports

So as a mission that began in Welling in June draws to its conclusion, it looks like it's time to party like it's 1999/2000 and celebrate our elevation to the Championship.

Our final trip of the campaign is again to the North West of England, this time at Deepdale, home of Preston North End, against whom we famously clinched promotion back in 1975.

We have around 2,000 tickets for this game, and these are on general sale, priced £17 adults, £10 over 60s, U21s 21s (last chance of the season to gripe!) and students. U16s pay £5 while U8s enter free of charge if accompanied by an adult.


The usual rules and the same prices apply to ambulant disabled fans and wheelchair users, with helpers admitted free of charge. There are 12 wheelchair spaces.

Deepdale is a ground steeped in history, despite being completely renovated over the last few years, and just in case you didn't know, it used to be home to the National Football Museum. The club has further recognised its own history by embedding the images of Sir Tom Finney, Alan Kelly and Bill Shankly in the seating.

Those attending this great moment in the history of Charlton will be located in the Bill Shankly Stand behind the goal, which is excellent in all respects, although I would quite happily have sat in a cowshed in order to see our final away game of a promotion season!

The view is excellent and totally unimpeded, and the leg-room is good. You enter at the bottom of the stand and climb (which is a bit steep) accordingly, so there is a bit of a recess between the stand and the pitch. Those in the front row should therefore exercise a little care if celebrating a goal!

The front rows are a bit exposed to elements, as I discovered back in 2007/2008 when it chucked down with rain and blew a gale, which made for a great weekend in Blackpool - it took about five minutes to open the door of the taxi, such was the strength of the wind. Hopefully, we will be April shower-free.

The concourses are also excellent - modern, clean and spacious, with TVs and a bookmakers. You can get a beer throughout the game (well you could last time, so don't shoot the messenger) and they show the game on the TVs throughout.

The food was fine and I particularly enjoyed my pie on my last visit, but given that despite my wiry frame I eat virtually anything, whether I am in a position to make a recommendation or not is open to question, but I thought it was very nice.

In terms of pubs, there are not too many in the immediate vicinity. The best is the Sumners, beyond the opposite end of the ground to the away section. It is pretty big, has satellite TV and a garden, so if it is a nice day then there should be enough room for quite a few people. The beer is good, I quite liked the mild and they do serve food - I ate there when I visited the museum and it was very good (but remember the previous paragraph!).

Charlton could face Preston in the second round of the Carling Cup

There are a couple of clubs nearby, a Catholic Club and a Conservative Club, so if you have strong theological or political views then those may not be for you, but they sell beer, let away fans in and the Conservative Club has a car park.

If coming by train, the places by the station are all OK, and there is quite a nice little crawl towards the ground - the town also has a large student population, so bargains are to be had! I would envisage quite a few people being in a nearby seaside resort over the weekend…

Getting there is a bit of a trek, and it's deceptively further north than you would first think. The postcode is PR1 6RU, so whichever your preferred route, leave the M6 at Junction 31 and follow the signs for Preston.

You will then climb a hill before finding a mini-roundabout with a BP garage on the left. You will then come to another roundabout, where you will find the Hesketh Arms pub, turn right here onto Blackpool Road. You will then go over three sets of traffic lights before seeing the ground, complete with quirky floodlights, on your left.

There is no car park at the ground, but there is plenty of street parking, although, as ever, check the lamp posts. There is also a car park at Moorfields special school - basically keep going past the ground and it is on the left.

As ever, congratulations if you have done the lot this season. It has certainly been one of the most rewarding for travelling fans in the club's history. Thanks for reading - see you in the Championship!

* Read Syd Cheeswright's guide to train travel to away games, plus local transport, here.

Preston North End's Deepdale
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