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West Bromwich Albion - 9 March

INFORMATION FOR TOWN FANS

We travel to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday 9 March in the Championship.  The following guide has been produced for Town fans making the trip to The Hawthorns.  This is based on West Brom’sinformation for fans visiting The Hawthorns plus additional information specific to this game.

For any further information, please contact Elizabeth Edwards, Supporter Liaison Officer on slo@itfc.co.uk or (+44) (0)7968 876504 or on Twitter at @ITFC_SLO.

West Bromwich Albion information

The address for West Bromwich Albion Football Club is The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, West Midlands, B71 4LF.

West Brom’s visiting supporters guide can be found on their website (https://www.wba.co.uk/) at the following link:

https://www.wba.co.uk/siteassets/documents/pdf/wbafc-away-supporters-guide-2018.pdf

Some further information for disabled supporters can be found in the West Brom access statement.

https://www.wba.co.uk/siteassets/documents/pdf/wbafc-access-statement-2018-19.pdf

www.footballgroundguide.com provides some information here:

https://www.footballgroundguide.com/leagues/england/championship/the-hawthorns-west-bromwich-albion.html

We have picked out the key information for Town fans below and added other material based on previous visits to the Hawthorns and information that is specific to our fans.

Specific information for Town fans:

Ticket sales

Tickets are available for this game at a cost of £20 for adults with concessions for 60+, students with ID, U23s, U18s and U11s.  Tickets can be purchased on www.itfcdirect.com under tickets/away matches or in Planet Blue.

West Brom have confirmed they will be selling tickets to Town fans on the day. These are available from the away ticket office & will not be subject to a price increase.

Disabled fans requiring tickets should contact ITFC’s Disabled Liaison Officer Lee Smith on 01473 400556 or by email on disability@itfc.co.uk

Travelling to West Bromwich Albion

Supporters Coach

For those travelling from Ipswich the official coaches are leaving Portman Road at 09:15 at a cost of £24 for adults (with concession prices for U23s, U19s and 65+ Seniors), and are estimated to arrive back at Portman Road at 21:30.  Coach travel is now on sale, subject to the usual priorities, and can be booked onwww.itfcdirect.com or in Planet Blue.

There is a planned stop at Cambridge Services on both the outward and return trip.

Pick-ups at Stowmarket, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket can be arranged for this game.  If you want to organise a pick-up please call the Ticket Enquiries Team on 03330 050503 or email mainticketoffice@itfc.co.uk.   The cut-off point to request a pickup is midday on Wednesday 6 March.  Your details will then be passed onto the coach company, Galloway Travel Group.

Note that all official coaches are non-smoking and the consumption of alcohol on board is strictly forbidden.   ITFC recommend that all supporters under 16 are accompanied by an adult.

Car

Note 1:  The long-term roadworks on the A14 (several miles either side of Cambridge) are resulting in evening and weekend road closures.  These are not normally announced until just a day or two in advance.  We recommend that you keep an eye on @A14C2H on Twitter – any closures are announced here.

Note 2: West Brom advise that a significant programme of Highways work is currently ongoing on the M5 Junction 1 – Please refer to the Highways England Website for the latest news: https://highwaysengland.co.uk/regions/west-midlands/?postcode=B71%204LF&keywords=&roads=&status=

The Hawthorns is located on the A41 (Birmingham to West Bromwich road), about half a mile from Junction 1 of the M5.  The Sat Nav postcode for the stadium is B71 4LF. 

Note that there is a comprehensive matchday travel plan in place which results in a single lane of the A41 heading west towards Junction1 of the M5 directly outside of the stadium and Halfords Lane being closed off to all traffic 90 minutes prior to kick-off.  These closures remain in place for up to one hour after the final whistle.

From Ipswich the route is the A14 to the M6 which you join at the Catthorpe Interchange.   At Junction 8, use the left 2 lanes to join the M5 exit to Birmingham (W & S) / West Bromwich.  At Junction 1 of the M5, take the A41 exit to West Bromwich/Sandwell/Birmingham (NW).  At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Birmingham Rd/A41.  The stadium will be on your right-hand side.  Beware of speed cameras on the A41.

As noted above there are major long-term roadworks on the A14 for several miles either side of Cambridge, with a 40mph limit policed by cameras.  The stretch of the M6 you’ll be using also has a long roadwork section with a 50mph limit. 

The journey time is around 3 hours. We generally recommend allowing at least an hour beyond the AA / Google / SatNav suggested journey time, to allow for possible delays. 

Parking

There are a number of private car parks close to the stadium at some local industrial units.

The Hawthorns station also has parking.  www.footballgroundguide.com suggests this is £4.

Previously we have parked at the Beeches Road Methodist Church (B70 6QE) which is about a 10 minute walk from the ground.  Parking is very limited here, but there are several other options in that area. 

If you are intending on having a drink at the Vine pub, just round the corner on Roebuck Lane is a St John’s Ambulance Depot that offers matchday parking at £3.

As mentioned above, there is a matchday travel plan in place which results in a single lane of the A41 heading west towards Junction 1 of the M5 directly outside of the stadium and Halfords Lane being closed off to all traffic 95 minutes prior to kick-off.  These closures remain in place for up to one hour after final whistle so do take this into account when choosing where to park.

Disabled Parking

Many of the car parks operated by private business may not be suitable for wheelchair access.

The West Brom access statement states ‘Away disabled fans are encouraged to park on the east side of the stadium adjacent to Middlemore Road to ensure a smooth exit following the fixture.’ 

The also mention that they have a provision of free parking for Blue Badge holders holding match tickets (including away fans) on the Sandwell Academy Car Park on Halfords Lane. This is ideal for easy access to the designated Disabled Access entrance on the corner of the West Stand and Smethwick End. 

If you require disabled parking you are advised to contact the Albion’s Disability Access Officer, Annie Reuben on 0871 271 1100.  Alternatively, contact ITFC’s Disability Liaison Officer Lee Smith on 01473 400556 or by email on disability@itfc.co.uk

Train, including from Birmingham New Street to The Hawthorns

Note: There are planned engineering works on the Ipswich to London line with buses replacing trains between Ingatestone and Newbury Park.

The Hawthorns Train and Metro station is 0.3 miles (5 minutes) from the stadium.  This station is served by direct trains from Birmingham Moor Street and Birmingham Snow Hill. 

The station is also served by the Midland Metro service from outside Birmingham New Street.  Alternatively, from Birmingham New Street you can take a train to Smethwick Galton Bridge and change there for The Hawthorns.

From Ipswich there are two options, cross country or via London.

There is a cross country option – the 08:00 from Ipswich with a change in Ely arrives at Birmingham New Street at 11:38. To get to The Hawthorns station, you then need to walk to Birmingham Snow Hill to pick up a train to The Hawthorns.  The journey time from Snow Hill to The Hawthorns is 6 minutes.  (note also the options above for getting to The Hawthorns station)

On the return journey there is a train at 18:22 from Birmingham New Street.  Changing at Cambridge for the 21:47 train will get you to Ipswich at 23:03.   www.greateranglia.co.uk shows that the 17:37 from The Hawthorns to Moor Street will connect to the 18:22 from New Street.  The 19:22 from Birmingham New Street via Peterborough will get you back to Ipswich at 23:22.

Travelling from Ipswich via London will involve buses from Ingatestone to Newbury Park.  From Newbury Park you will get the tube to London Euston (Central Line to Liverpool Street and Circle or Hammersmith & City or Metropolitan Line to Euston Square with a short walk to Euston or the Central Line to Oxford Circus and Victoria Line to London Euston).  From London Euston there are regular trains to Birmingham New Street.  From New Street to The Hawthorns see above.  The journey time from Ipswich through to The Hawthorns is shown on www.greateranglia.co.uk as around 5 hours.  The return journey is shown as up to 5 hours 20 minutes based on connections.  There are regular trains and metro services from The Hawthorns back into Birmingham Moor Street or Birmingham Snow Hill.

From London there is also an option to travel from Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill from where you can travel directly to The Hawthorns station.  The journey time to Marylebone is slightly longer than that to New Street but the trains are comfortable and can be a reasonable cost at a weekend.

Note that that rail tickets to The Hawthorns are not valid on the Metro line.  A separate Metro journey ticket will need to be purchased.

If you are travelling down from the North West, www.footballgroundguide.com suggests that if your train calls at Wolverhampton it is much easier to get to The Hawthorns station using the Midland Metro from Wolverhampton – the tram leaves from Bilston Street.  You can get off at the Kenrick Park stop for the Vine pub (see pubs below) or The Hawthorns for the stadium.

Whatever your travel plans, it’s worth checking www.greateranglia.co.uk for updated times and any late changes to engineering works. 

By bus from Birmingham City Centre

If you want to travel by bus from Birmingham City Centre the number 74 bus, operated by Network West Midlands, leaves from the City Centre every 10 minutes and has a stop right at the stadium.  The total journey time is around 24 minutes.  

These buses are all low floor vehicles which means they can be lowered to pavement level when the door opens.  Each bus has a minimum of one dedicated wheelchair space and clearly marked priority seats.

Pubs

The Vine (postcode B70 6RD) is the main pub for away fans.  It is about a 15 – 20 minute walk from the ground.   From Junction 1 of the M5 turn left towards West Bromwich town centre – note this is the opposite direction to the ground.  Take the first left into Roebuck Street.  The Vine is down the street on the left-hand side.  www.footballgroundguide.com comments that the Vine offers Indian food and has an indoor tandoori b-b-q from 1pm on a Saturday.  It has a beer garden with a children’s play area.

There is street parking in this area, a fairly short walk to the ground.  If you are travelling from Birmingham City Centre on the Midland Metro, for the Vine, you are recommended to get off at Kenrick Park Metro station (this is on the line from Birmingham Snow Hill).  Turn right out of the station and walk along Devereux Road.  At the end of Devereux road turn left – The Vine is just over the other side of the road on the right.

www.footballgroundguide.com also gives a recommendation for the Park Hotel, just off Junction 1 of the M5.  The hotel is a 10 minute walk to the ground with street parking in the area.

If you are travelling into Birmingham New Street, you may want to have a drink and food in the city centre before travelling on The Hawthorns.  Note that the Briar Rose (Wetherspoons) no longer accepts any football fans, but there are plenty of other options near New Street station.  The Shakespeare pub outside the station is popular with away fans.  There is also the Wellington, a great pub for real ale drinkers, and always popular with Town fans who enjoy their ale traditional and local.  You’ll find pork scratchings and/or pork crunch in every pub in the West Midlands.  

Any shops and food outlets near the ground?

McDonalds is located a matter of seconds away from The Hawthorns. There is a Greggs in the West Brom FanZone.    As mentioned above, the Vine Pub does food.  There are, as you would expect, various shops and takeaways along the A41 Birmingham Road. 

Can I get money?

The closest Cashpoint Machine to The Hawthorns is at the BP Garage situated approximately 200 yards from stadium on the A41 between Junction 1 of the M5 and the stadium.

At the ground

An interesting feature of the ground is that in one corner of the ground (between the East Stand  & Birmingham Road End) you will notice perched up on a wall, a large Throstle standing on a football. This has been kept over from the previous stand (it used to sit above the clock on the half time scoreboard) and maintains the links with tradition.

Outside the ground on the same corner are the 'Jeff Astle Memorial Gates' erected in tribute to the legendary striker, whilst just beyond the East Stand Car Park is a Memorial Garden.

One strange fact about the Hawthorns is that it is the highest ground in England (in terms of feet above sea level).

West Brom Family Zone

The West Brom FanZone is on the corner of Halfords Lane and Birmingham Road.  This is open for selected fixtures – information will be given on the WBA website (www.wba.co.uk).

The FanZone, which opens at 12noon to both home and away fans (you will be asked to show your match ticket), hosts entertainment including fun for kids and a big screen.  It is also home to Greggs.

Tickets on the day?

It is not yet known whether tickets will be available on the day of the match.  This information will be published on the club website (www.itfc.co.uk), twitter (@IpswichTown) and facebook (www.facebook.com/officialitfc) as soon as the information is available. 

Away end

We will be located in the Smethwick End which opens 90 minutes before kick-off.  Note that, after the match, there is a chance that all away fans will have to exit the stadium in an easterly direction, away from the M5.  Given that most car parking is on the other side of the M5, this adds quite a bit of time to your return trip.  For a start, it takes 10-15 minutes to work your way back around to the stadium on the Birmingham Road, by which time you will be behind most of the departing home fans as you at last head for your car park.  If you have mobility issues, you must speak to stewards to ensure that you can avoid this longish additional walk. 

Disabled Supporters

There are designated entrances around the stadium for disabled fans.  Any steward outside the ground should be able to direct you.

Programmes

Programmes can be purchased outside the stadium at a cost of £3.50.

Security

West Brom state that ‘the safety and welfare of all supporters and guests is our main priority at WBA.  All Security and Stewarding staff are NVQ trained and background checked.  Additionally, all Stewards undertake a bespoke ‘Disability Awareness’ training module and key staff have received Dementia Awareness Training.  Security on matchdays is a prime focus for the Club and all supporters will undergo checks / searches before entry into the stadium and the FanZone in accordance with EFL Ground Regulations.’

The club ask that you arrive at the turnstiles early so that searching can be carried out and you can enter the stadium with the minimum delay.

Note that there are no storage facilities at The Hawthorns for luggage or large bags.  Small bags/handbags will be allowed after being searched.

Food and Drink facilities

The kiosks serve a wide range of food and drink including the famous Balti pie.

At half time the exit gates are open to enable away fans to have access to the external catering kiosks.

Costs of food and drink are in the visiting away guide (for link see earlier in this guide).

Smoking

Smoking of cigarettes and e-cigarettes is not permitted anywhere in the stadium.  Supporters who wish to smoke or use e-cigarettes can exit the stadium at half time.

Anti-social behaviour

If you see, hear or are the victim of discrimination or anti-social behaviour, please report this to a matchday steward.

You can also report any discrimination or anti-social behaviour to Kick it Out using the Kick It Out app which is available to download from the App Store or Google Play, or via: Facebook /kickitoutofficial; Twitter @kickitout; email info@kickitout.org; phone 0800 169 9414.