Everything Hartlepool United fans need to know ahead of their return to Victoria Park for the first time this season
This Saturday, Hartlepool United fans will finally return to Victoria Park for the first time in almost 15 months.
Pools will host Weymouth for the final match of the regular 2020-21 season and will also play a play-off match at The Vic in June.
Here’s everything supporters need to know ahead of the match…
When does it kick-off/when do turnstiles open?
All National League matches taking place on Saturday will kick-off at an earlier time of 12:30pm.
Turnstiles will be open much earlier than usual (before 11am) with fans strongly encouraged to arrive at the ground in plenty of time in order to ensure a quick and safe entry.
How many fans are allowed to attend?
Approximately 1,700 supporters will be allowed to attend Saturday’s match at Victoria Park Roughly 1,500 supporters will be 2020-21 season ticket holders with the remaining tickets going on priority and general sale in the days leading up to the match.
Why can’t more people attend?
Victoria Park has an official attendance of 7,856 however current coronavirus restrictions and social distancing safety measures have limited the stadium’s capacity to around 1,700 for the time being.
This figure is roughly based on government guidelines but more specifically the restrictions from the sports ground safety authority. Pools have had to follow the strict SG02 guidance which takes into account the stadium’s layout, distances between seats, walkways, turnstiles and access areas.
Following that guidance, the club were permitted to allow just under 1,700 supporters in, a figure they have been able to increase slightly as a result of allocating tickets based on households and supporter bubbles rather than individually.
Are tickets still available?
Unfortunately tickets have now sold out. This is an all ticket game so you will not be able to purchase tickets on the day.
All ticket holders, including season ticket holders, will only be able to access the ground using a ‘paper’ match ticket which designates their seat or terrace location for the match.
Will you be able to sit in your usual seat?
Due to social distancing measures and capacity restrictions, the club cannot guarantee that supporters will be seated in their usual location. Fans will be required to sit in the area designated on their paper ticket.
The club have attempted to keep as many fans as possible located in the same area as stated on their 2020-21 season ticket.
Which turnstiles will be in use?
All four stands at Victoria Park will be in use for the match.
Supporters in the Smith & Graham Stand (Rink End) should access turnstiles 3 & 4 via Raby Road.
Supporters in the Teesside Airport Seats & Terrace (Neale Cooper Stand) should access turnstiles 5 & 6 via Raby Road.
Supporters in the Brunel Group Stand (Town End) should access the ground via turnstiles 13 & 14 via Raby Road.
And supporters in the Cyril Knowles Stand blocks A to C should access turnstiles 3 & 4 via Clarence Road while supporters in blocks F to J should use turnstiles 5 & 6.
Will you have to wear a face covering?
Yes. Although the match is taking place outside, all attendees will be required to wear a face covering at all times whilst in the ground unless they have a medical reason not to do so.
Players and match officials are also exempt from wearing face coverings whilst on the field of play.
Will there be a live stream available?
Don’t worry if you can’t get a ticket, the club will be running its pay-per-view live streaming service as usual this weekend. It is priced at £9.99 and can be bought via Pools’ official website.
Will food and drink be available to purchase inside the ground?
No. Food and drink will be provided to hospitality guests but no catering outlets at Victoria Park will be open.
Supporters looking for a mid-game drink or snack are advised to bring their own food and drinks in plastic bottles only.
No alcoholic beverages will be allowed into the ground and searches will take place to enforce this.
Are there any entry requirements?
Yes. Supporters will have their temperatures checked on arrival and be required to check in via the NHS track and trace app. Hospitality guests will also need to fill out a short questionnaire made available via a QR code, this doesn’t apply to regular ticket holders.
If someone’s temperature is 37.8C or more they will be asked to stand aside for 10-minutes before being tested again. If their temperature remains above the threshold then they will be denied entry.
Will there be restrictions on movement around the ground?
Yes. Supporters will enter the ground via their designated turnstile and will be directed to their seats by yellow markings and one of the matchday stewards.
They are advised to stay in their seats or standing areas at all times when possible – one exception being to use the toilet facilities.
A one way system will be in place in the Neale Cooper Stand (clockwise if facing the Town End) which anyone with a ticket in that area of the ground will have to follow.
Can supporters sing and celebrate whilst in the stadium?
Of course, although the club has advised supporters to respect social distancing guidance and take ‘extreme care’ when doing so.
This includes following a spectators’ code of conduct which tells supporters to avoid hugging, high fives or any form of physical contact with anyone outside of their household ‘bubble’.
Singing and celebrating is encouraged as long as it is safe and within accordance to the spectators’ code of conduct.
How will fans leave the ground?
Previously fans would be able to leave at their own discretion but this will not be the case on Saturday as supporters will be instructed to remain in their seats or standing areas at full-time and a staggered exit of the stadium will take place.
So if you’re thinking about beating the rush and nipping off early, think again.