Originally scheduled as a Saturday game a large number of Hereford supporters were due to make the trip, however, the number of Bulls fans attending will no doubt be curtailed somewhat. However, if you are able to make an ‘away day’ Gosport is well worth a visit as Richard Tomkins explains in this Talking Bull guide.
“This must surely count as Hereford FC’s “first overseas trip”. I will be crossing from Portsmouth on the Gosport Ferry. Why sail across when you can cruise? Lots of people recommended I take a cruise. This will be my first ‘taster’ “Richard Tomkins
Almost three years ago in May 2015, Gosport finished sixth in Conference South. An unpaid tax bill and a mass player exodus later, Gosport’s downwards velocity is beginning to resemble that of Hereford United. Changing the Chairman, manager and the entire squad has (of late October) only made the situation even worse. A transfer embargo and a long injury list are a deadly combination. In vicious contrast to Kettering and Kings Lynn, Gosport secured just one point out of the first 30 available.
Toughest other job at the club (apart from treasurer?) Match commentator. Brave soul Jeremy Fox covers all games home and away. At home, he uses the vintage Press Box which has both power and lighting which will have Radio Hereford FC very excited.
I’m grateful to Bob McHale of the Gosport Academy for showing me around. Privett Park is a curious mixture of the old and the new. The old is a large 1930s style wooden grandstand with 4 pillars and two floodlight plyons obstructing the view. The seats are hard, the majority benches even more unyielding and both are combined with big steps. The roof has the odd crack and a suspiciously football-shaped hole. Next to this and jarring in its contrast is the gleaming two-tier hospitality suite.
On the opposite touchline and with a much-improved view is a modern terrace level grandstand (the Harry Mizen stand) on the opposite touchline, funded by Gosport’s FA Trophy Final appearance in 2014. These provide the only real cover. All else is good concrete or tarmac standing but open to the elements. There is broad hard standing all around the pitch with grass areas behind it at bottom end and on Harry Mizen stand side. Admission is a steep £12 for adults, £8 concessions with Under 12s free with a paying adult. Our Disabulls can whiz around comfortably on the flat concrete or tarmac areas all around the ground. There are ramps to the toilets. Covered viewing is available in front of the clubhouse and the club shop.
Car parking? Basically, there isn’t any. The club car park holds only 40 vehicles. On street and side street parking is available but please be respectful and expect to walk some distance. Please do not block driveways. This is Southern England. It’s very residential with multi-car families and parked cars most everywhere. There is a parking option at the Cocked Hat pub (see below).
The Kiosk to the side of the main stand serves a good range. Chips £1.30, Cheesy or Curry Sauce Chips £1.60, Sausage & Chips £2.40, Cheeseburger & Onions £2.50. Must also mention the ‘Fully Monty’ – Bacon, burger, egg and sausage bun for £4.20. The all-important Clubhouse The ‘Inn Off the Post’ has a reasonably sized and spacious function room with 50+ seats. It has an excellent steward and offers a good range of fizzy beers, including London Pride for £3.20. Bottled beers are also available – HSB, Spitfire and Spitfire Gold.
Opposite the ground in Queens Parade is a chippy, a Chinese takeaway and a Coral’s betting shop to place your pre-match bet. Also, a Lloyds pharmacy for your aspirin in case of a trouncing. A ten-minute walk will bring you to the Cocked Hat, Privett Road. A Greene King ‘Flaming Grill’. Reasonably priced food, fizzies and an acceptable cask IPA and London Glory. Ciderheads must make do with Strongbow. The car park holds 70 spaces with a £5 charge which is refunded to customers. To explore much further, you’ll need a car.
BY Road: AA Route offers two options: (i) A-roads to Swindon and then as option 2: 140 miles, 3 hours (maybe!) (ii) Join M4 at Newport, A34, M3, M27, A32: 180 miles, 3 hours 30 mins (maybe!) Leave the M27 at J 11 and follow “A32 Gosport”. After four miles you will reach two roundabouts in quick succession. Go straight ahead at the first and take the third exit (signposted Alverstoke, Stokes Bay, Privett Park) at the second. Follow this road (Military Road) until reaching the roundabout at the Cocked Hat pub. Take the first exit into Privett Road. The ground is signposted on the left after 300 yards. Use postcode PO12 3SY (not club postcode which is different)
By Train and Ferry (ooh): Horrendous! London Bulls, your presence is needed! Direct from Waterloo in less than 2 hours. The nearest railway station is Portsmouth Harbour served by trains from London. From here its ferry then bus. How much fun is that? Cross the harbour by the regular ferry service which departs from the Gosport Ferry pontoon. This is immediately adjacent to the railway station (£3.50 return, tickets from machines, pay by card or cash). Frequent sailings day and evening. No need to book, just turn up. Sailing time 5 minutes.
Gosport Bus Station is situated alongside the ferry pontoon and First Hampshire service X5 (to Southampton) and 9/9A (to Fareham) pass close to the ground. After the ten-minute journey, either alight the bus at Jellicoe Avenue (X5) or Oval Gardens (9/9A). The ground is only a few minutes’ walk from the stops.