Since Southampton’s return to top flight football, St Mary’s Stadium has once again received frequent appearances on shows such as BBC’s Match of the Day, as well as being broadcast into the living rooms of homes around the world. But for those of you who have only seen St Mary’s through the television and haven’t experienced the thrills of a match day in the south coat of England, let me visualize it for you.
St Mary’s Stadium itself is located in the centre of Southampton, meaning it’s only a stone throw away from a selection of pubs and bars where supporters can grab a drink and bite to eat before and after kick-off. It’s also about a ten to fifteen minute walk from Southampton central train station, so fans don’t have too far to go.
Inside the 32,000 plus seater stadium, you’ll easily notice what section holds the livelier and louder fans. The Northam Stand is extremely popular amongst the die hard Southampton fans, and it is usually this stand that maintains the singing of famous Southampton chants, as well as starting them. The Northam Stand is also situated next to the away fans, but they are separated by barriers, stewards and sometimes police officers. St Mary’s also has a family section located in the Chapel Stand for those accompanied by younger children. This area of the stadium holds the quieter fans, except for the kids who get caught up in the excitement of the match day experience and put in strong performances chanting along with the rest of the crowd.
Like most grounds, St Mary’s has areas to purchase food and refreshments before the game and during half time. There is also some half time entertainment for those who don’t go to get food. The stadium holds a competition for two teams of kids that have to race around the touchline and score a goal, before their opponent does.
The area around the ground consists of residential areas and walkways to the high street and shopping centers. Directly outside of the ground, though, are food vendors selling hot dogs and burgers, as well as those selling match day programmes – the perfect memento to remember your time at St Mary’s.
So if you ever have the opportunity to attend a game at the south’s largest stadium (outside of London), you should do it. You’re in for a real treat.