The Kassam and Me: Simon Atkinson

In the first in a series “celebrating” a decade of “football” at the Kassam Stadium, guest Oxblogger Simon Atkinson offers what he likes and dislikes about football’s answer to a three sided concrete Jabba the Hut. Follow Simon on Twitter.

Things I like about the Kassam:

  1. The journey. Coming from London, going to an Oxford game is all about coming home. I really enjoy the last 15 mins between the motorway and the ground – i.e. driving through Little Milton, Stadhampton etc. Although I grew up in North Oxfordshire, it all feels very familiar and mildly nostalgic.
  2. Walking to the ground. I increasingly seem to end up parking close to the roundabout near Cowley. It’s not the most beautiful walk, and it normally rains. But as you get closer, with everyone going to the same place, it feels like a pilgrimage.
  3. The wall. I like looking at the wall with the supporters’ bricks there. There is one with my daughters’ names on it. They still seem touchingly proud of being a brick in the wall. I also like having a snoop at the away team’s coach. A bit geeky, I know.
  4. The stadium. I know it’s not architecturally striking. But it is unquestionably a stadium and, for our level, one to be proud of.
  5. The shop. Again, for our level, it’s pretty impressive!

Things I like less about the Kassam

  1. Only having 3 sides. I know we can’t justify/afford the final piece (yet). But it would be great if we could have a really mini pre-fab effort. They’ve got one at Bournemouth now and it somehow makes all the difference.
  2. Being able to see people leave early – from the South Stand in particular you can see the headlights becoming a steady stream from about 4.35pm. It drives me crazy when people leave before the end, and the void that would be the 4th stand means I can see the early exodus earlier than I would like.
  3. The name. I know we’re stuck with it for now, but am looking forward to the debate about what it should really be called at some point in the future. The Beauchamp Bowl, The New Manor, etc etc. Maybe we could be more creative with the names of the stands – The Roy Burton Stand would have a fine ring to it.
  4. The toilets. Were they ever finished?
  5. It’s not exactly a fortress. Does its general spick-and-span-ness mean other teams are able to treat it as a quasi-neutral ground? They hardly seem intimidated, and our record – particularly last year – doesn’t feel great. What do the stats say?
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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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