While Victoria Road has never exactly been a cauldron, the atmosphere at home games, even when the team has been doing pretty well this season, has been dire at times. Yet it was a fortress in days gone past so why has it become a place that is too easy for away teams in recent seasons.
DiggerDagger has been thinking about this and, particularly after a trip to Nailsworth yesterday, has reached the conclusion that... wait for it... ARNU IS RIGHT!
One way to effect the atmosphere is to retain the best part of Victoria Road, the Traditional Builders Stand, for the home fans. This will have two effects, firstly making it a home area only will mean that those that want to gather and make a noise can do so, but without having to compete with occassionally noisy away fans and the resulting issues around stewarding.
The Pondfield End (right) used to be a long, shallow open terrace, and when it was, it didn't really matter how many away fans gathered there, it was hard for them to dominate the ground with the noise they generated. The effect of this was graphically demonstrated yesterday at Forest Green, where they allocated the Daggers a long shallow open terrace and despite there being pushing 500 people there, we made virtually no noise all game.
So, where do we put away fans?
Well we have a long shallow open terrace at the Bury Road End (left). It has the worst sight lines in the ground, faces the prevailing wind, and the setting sun and is evil on a rainy day. Perfect for away fans in fact.
While this will reduce income from away fans, if it also makes the Daggers a less friendly place to visit for away teams, that has to be a benefit surely? If seats have to be offered to disabled fans they could be accomodated in other areas of the ground, or alternatively, when not take down the old Daggers shop and put a few seats in the corner there?
Segregating the Bury Road End is a fairly simple matter of some fencing. It has separate catering and toilet facilities already. There would need to be a modification of gates to be able to get people into the Sieve, which can already be done via Bury Road, and although this is less than perfect it cannot be beyond the wit of man to do.