Date: Saturday May 01 2010
Ground: Stadium MK
Comp: League One
Match: Milton Keynes Dons 0 Brighton 0 HT: 0-0 ATT: 12,023
Additional: Entrance £18, Programme £3.00, Coffee/Tea £2.00
Stadium MK in pictures
I took my oldest son on his first big league away visit to watch Brighton, and as so many football excursions turn out (especially in the league) everything was brilliant except the football bit. We got the train down in plenty of time to get some lunch in town. We wandered to the ‘town centre’ from the train station which was weird – it was like being transported into an 80s computer simulation. We strode up empty paved areas, half expecting a pixelated monster to come out at us. Despite being Saturday afternoon there was no sign of life save for a lonely janitor peering at us from inside a shiny office block.
A Wetherspoons appeared amongst a mini-oasis of restaurants, up the arid dual carriageway, and we had dinner there. For a Wetherspoons it wasn’t too bad, and it was packed. We got the bus to the ground which is quite a way out of the centre. The striking thing about the ground as you approach is its colour scheme, which is more suited to a living room than a football ground. It’s beige and black hues do not suit it well and makes you realise why most new builds go for white. Everything irritating about new grounds was in evidence in abundance at the MK Stadium. Despite the bus dropping you ‘next’ to the ground on the main road, there is still an seemingly interminable walk to the ground, across a huge retail park car park, and then the mandatory one and a half circuits round the ground to find the away entrance. Then there is the insufferable nonsense of queueing up for a ticket for a game that will be 40% full. And despite the small crowd for the size of the stadium the queue is enormous and every ticket transaction takes an agonisingly long time, to the extent that despite being ‘at the ground’ before 2.30 we will be late going in.
MK Dons were very extravagant in their choice of seats for their new ground – going for sumptious cushioned faux leather numbers, more suited to a theatre than a football ground. So we could watch the absolutely dire excuse for a football match in comfort. The match was a disgrace to league football and an insult to every paying fan. Neither side seemed to care as they played out a 0-0, with Diego Arismendi’s sending off the highlight of the game. Refreshments were absurdly expensive and the queues were once again enormous. This was a real affirmation of my existing belief in the utterly bland sanitisation of league football and concomitant bureaucracy at eye-wateringly high prices.
Despite the football Dylan and I had a great day out and hopefully it hasn’t put him off football for life. From now on we will be avoiding new grounds like the plague and watching proper football.