Heading to Rochdale on Saturday? Here's what to expect from an away day at the Crown Oil Arena...
A pleasantly large Addicks turnout means that our allocation is up to the 1700 mark and possibly rising in the Willbutts Lane Stand of The Crown Oil Arena (Spotland). Experience says that if you are paying on the day it's cash on the turnstiles, there is a collection point on the opposite side of the ground by the main car park. Prices are as follows.
Adults - £22
Concessions - £16
Juniors - £5
We've been a bit spoilt here. Firstly, it is not an away end, but runs along the side of the pitch. Secondly, it runs the whole length. In fact, it's not an understatement to say that this is one of the best away facilities, certainly in League One, and surpasses a number in the Championship and indeed the Premier League - it is definitely the best stand in the stadium so thank you very much. The view is excellent, you are in reasonably close proximity to the pitch, the cover is good and seating is unreserved, so you should be able to position yourself wherever floats your boat. Entrance is at ground level so climb as you wish, while the concourse is clean, spacious and ticks all boxes, although we have not taken a crowd of this magnitude to Rochdale before so it may be a bit cosier than usual. In fact, they are so accommodating they have even relaid the pitch for us. Well maybe. If there is one slight gripe, access to the turnstiles is from a narrow pavement so the queue can extend into the road once it swells. However, traffic access is restricted so it should not be too much of a problem. The turnstiles open at 4pm.
Food and Refreshments
For once, there is no retail park around. In fact, the ground is in a very pleasant setting indeed, so no fast food joints unless you go to town, although there are some takeaways at the top of the hill going away from the ground. However, the chippie over the road from our entrance is absolutely magnificent. There are two bars at the ground itself, the first, Studds, being below the Pearl Street Sand to our left as you look at the pitch, which is below the stand. Normally they admit away fans but, due to the size of our following, access may be restricted. They will definitely let you in Ratcliffe's Bars at the front end of the ground, which has a clubhouse feel, is reasonably priced and does a good bite to eat as well - all in all an excellent facility. Also up the hill is The Cemetery pub which does decent ales and good food. On Spotland Road you can find The Bowling Green and The Highland Laddie, while in town there are lots to choose from, including a Wetherspoons (The Regal Moon) and a Yates'. In fact, there are pubs dotted around all over the place.
A bit of a trek but hopefully worth it. The Post Code is OL11 5DR. Whatever your preference, get to the M62 from where The Crown Oil Arena is just over two miles from junction 20 . Follow signs for Rochdale along the A627(M). At the first set of traffic lights keep left, sign posted Bury and Rochdale Town Centre. B&Q will be on your right hand side, follow this road until the next set of traffic lights. Here you need to be in the second lane of four lanes, to head straight across (sign posted Blackburn). Follow this road (Roch Valley Way) until the next set of traffic lights, remaining in the left hand lane. At the traffic lights go straight ahead on to Sandy Lane (the Cemetery pub should be on your right hand side). Continue along this road and the Stadium is on your right hand side after approximately half a mile. Parking is either of the street variety or it is
also available at a local high school, which is around half a mile from the ground: Oulder Hill Community School, Greave Avenue, Rochdale, Lancashire, OL11 5EF.
The coaches are likely to drop off on Sandy Lane but then pick up outside outside our exit, there can be a bit of a jam initially but once up the hill it's not too bad.
Trains. On the way, fine, it's a case of either coming from Leeds or Manchester Victoria into Rochdale Interchange, or taking the tram from Manchester into the town centre. However, the ground is a long, long way from the station and the walk is nigh on an hour, therefore it's either the infrequent 444 bus or a taxi. On the return, it is definitely a taxi which is definitely worth prebooking as the only feasible connections are the 19.42 or 20.00 which even then are a bit tight so it may even be worth clubbing together and going directly back to Piccadilly. If you want to be ultra prepared, here are some cab numbers. to prebook. Always specify exactly where you are being picked up as that caused a bit of confusion last season and nearly sent that connection pear-shaped. All prefixed 01706, you have 677335, 750750, 644104, 710100 or 644211.