Chris Ingram joins us to provide Hereford supporters with an insight into next Tuesday nights’ short journey as the Bulls visit Banbury in the Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division.
Tuesday, 10th October
This is a necessary but mildly irritating evening fixture. Famously, the ground is 400 yards from Banbury station on the London to Birmingham line. Great on a Saturday, only the determined will go by train midweek from the Shire.
Banbury United were taken over by supporters two years ago. In 2015/16, they did a Tivvy being promoted from Step 4 via the playoffs. Last season, they finished just outside the Step 3 Play-Offs. If they can do it with less than 400 supporters, what might Hereford manage?
The stadium is among the better ones we’ll visit this term though the narrow approach lane creates notorious bottlenecks after games. The 250-seater stand features “proper” seats but choose them carefully with three vertical pillars holding up the stand roof. There is a covered terrace at the Town End but the opposite Kings Sutton end is open to the elements and cows can be seen behind it. Plans are afoot to add a roof but not until after our visit (as in, we’re contributing towards it?) Standard admission prices are Adults £10, Concessions (Over 60s and Full Time Students) £6, Under 16s £1. Being midweek, this fixture is highly unlikely to be all-ticket.
Parking – once at the ground – should be OK. The main car park was recently resurfaced and there is a smaller parking area behind the Town area. Additional parking areas can be made available for the mighty Bulls with places reserved for blue badge holders.
Given the geographic isolation of the ground, the Clubhouse could be popular. Recently refurbed, it offers draught bitter, lager and ciders. Hot food too with sausages, chips, pasties and locally sourced burgers on sale. Drinks can only be taken outside in plastic glasses. Clubhouse has level access for our thirsty Disabulls – one in particular – and disabled toilets are available.
There are no pubs near the ground. The nearest are a mile away which doesn’t really work in the evening. Early arrivals could try the Bell in Middleton Road, with a decent food menu and real ale such as Purity Mad Goose and Half Mast. There is a Toby Carvery on the way in which might be tempting. Very early arrivals with a designated driver might think of diverting to the famous Hook Norton pub, the Elephant and Castle in Bloxham, 3 miles away. (postcode OX15 4LZ) to properly admire real ale drinkers in their native habitat.
By Road: 86 miles (OX16 5AB). Leave M40 at J11. Take 4th Exit A422 To Banbury. At roundabout, take 2nd exit A422. At next roundabout after 500 yards, look for 1st exit A4260. At next roundabout Take 1st Exit. Keep in left lane approaching traffic lights. Turn Left at light onto Bridge Street. Entrance to Train station and BUFC approx. 50 yards on right. When approaching the station keep right. A steward will direct traffic.
By Train: From Hereford – easy to get there but is a nightmare return journey of 4 hours with 3 changes (including Didcot) and a 2.35am arrival at Hereford!
From London Marylebone choice of trains to and from. Just an hour each way.
BANBURY UNITED OFFICIAL UPDATE: SEGREGATION
This decision was not taken lightly but was agreed by the board after meeting with Thames Valley Police; they strongly advised us that this should be implemented.
The board looked at the logistics of segregation at our ground and Hereford supporters will use the Town End turnstiles and will have access to the Town End and the end block of seats in the covered stand. Banbury supporters should enter the ground by the Clubhouse turnstiles and will have access to the rest of the ground including the clubhouse.
Segregation will be provided through stewards and heras fencing.
We know that this decision will not be popular with some of our loyal supporters. Please rest assured we spent a long time looking at other ways to have a segregated area but with the layout of the ground as it is we just cannot provide this and the required ancillary facilities in any other way.
Hereford supporters should use the Town End car park and Banbury supporters the Clubhouse car park. As well as allowing parking on Tramway as usual, Chiltern Railways have very kindly agreed that any one attending the game can use parking in the main station car park. Vouchers for this will be issued on the evening by stewards at the top of Station Approach.
Portaloos and a mobile food unit will be in operation in the area between the main stand and the Town End for Hereford supporters. Limited bar facilities will be provided out of Ann’s tea bar. This will shut at half time or sooner if circumstances dictate that.