27th June 2019 – Hull KR v Hull FC
Brian and myself both attended this fixture, so I felt it would be a good idea to get two different view points, as I was seated on the wheelchair platform and Brian was seated in the stand.
The long-awaited derby game at the home of Hull KR, the KCOM Craven Park was getting somewhat closer.
As Mum is also registered disabled we have tried in the past to secure a parking space at the ground and this usually proves impossible, so with this in mind I tried to get through both on the telephone and sent an email to the email address on their website.
Now the main ticket line number is an 0871 number which as far as I am aware have been outlawed for use as a customer service line for several years.
Something that was confirmed to me when I put out a tweet about it, so begrudgingly I went through the menu on the phone call and finally got through to the ticket office to be informed the manager who could help me was not available they would get her to ring me back.
It got to the Sunday before the game and I still hadn’t received a response, noticing an advert from their official twitter I chose to respond it saying” I would love to attend but no one was replying to my emails and the manager was supposed to be ringing me back”.
Now in fairness if I had just needed a standard ticket I would have just rung Hull FC but because I needed a wheelchair space I had to ring Hull KR.
My tweet was quickly responded to by their Marketing team asking me to forward the email I sent to them and they would sort it out for me.
I duly did this and the response was they would get on to it first thing Monday morning.
Lunchtime arrived and still hadn’t received a call, so I emailed the marketing team again and informed them of this, the response this time was my phone ringing.
The manager asking if she could help me, after a bit of shuffling about she managed to secure me a wheelchair seat with a carer but was unable to secure me a parking space.
The decision was made to travel as near to the ground as possible and get a taxi, I would only be taking my wheelchair, so my friend would meet me at the ground and take me in.
Deciding to book at taxi from a nearby pub we made our way there on the Thursday evening, the taxi was on time and the driver managed to drop us off right in the ground where my friend was stood waiting.
At the turnstiles after our tickets and bags where checked we were allowed through the gate.
When we got to the north stand we were sent through a set of double doors to the lift to the wheelchair platform. We reached the entrance and were greeted by Sarah from the hospitality team who advised me they hadn’t managed to secure a carer seat near to me, but they were working on it.
Sarah then took my chair and wheeled me to the platform and Mum got to sit next to me while they sorted out her seat.
After about 15 minutes Sarah came back and advised Mum she could stay where she was, also advising me if I needed a drink to ask the steward behind me.
The view was very good from the platform you could see all sides of the ground and even the screen at the opposite end.
The noise was incredible though throughout and I had my Bose headphones on all the time for this one, only taking them off at half time.
Half time arrived, and Sarah came out and asked if we wanted a drink, Mum got up though and went for one herself. But the offer was still there as was the offer for someone to take me back down in the lift for another of my friends to meet me at the bottom of the stand at the end of the game.
At the end of the game I turned myself around and made my way to the disabled toilets, which wasn’t on a radar key, just a turn key.
After waiting for someone to come out when I entered it was a standard disabled with toilet with a low seat, sink and grab handles in all the necessary places.
Exiting the toilets Sarah and Hannah asked me if I had had a good experience to which I replied I had they had all really looked after me which I was very grateful for.
I said my goodbyes, thanking them again and a member of the hospitality team wheeled me to the lift to meet my friends on the ground.
My friends where waiting for me to take me out of the ground to the Cemetery gates where the taxi was picking up us from.
This is where the fun started as the pavements where shocking in parts once you got away from the ground onto Poorhouse Lane, I don’t think these have been repaired for years, very bumpy, paving missing, a tree that has taken over the pavement making a large slope, so it was a bumpy ride to the taxi pick up point.
The taxi was booked for 22:15 and there appeared to be several people waiting for taxi’s when we got there at 22:00 I made a couple of calls and people around where disappearing into arriving taxis and still we waited.
Eventually at 23:00 there was only a couple of us left and a taxi pulled in for someone else and they didn’t show. So we got in.
By this time, I was frozen, and Mum was totally stiff as she doesn’t stand very well for any length of time either.
The driver though was very helpful taking the chair and stowing it for us and helping us both to the car, when we arrived at the pub car park he pulled right up against Mum’s car and waited until she opened the doors to transfer the chair from his car to hers.
In summary for accessibility I am going to score 8 out of 10, this is purely on the match day experience I received from the hospitality team.
I do however feel, there does need to be more support for getting into and leaving the ground, whilst I understand it would be difficult to pick up from inside the ground at the end of a game, there should be more parking spaces available for visiting fans nearby.
The much anticipated third derby of the season saw us make the journey across Hull to face Rovers in a vital fixture for both sides, but for different reasons.
As per usual it is difficult to obtain a parking bay at KCOM Craven Park, so we made the decision to park in a near by side street. The walk to the ground was on a very uneven footpath and the path leading to the ground had high kerbs and no drop down section to assist wheelchairs.
Once in the stadium grounds the surface was better. Our tickets were for the North stand and we made our way to the side entrance. We were greeted by a steward who checked Jane’s bag but didn’t bother with mine.
We had a side gate opened for us and tickets scanned, yes by the steward at the gate, and entry was made. As obtaining a wheelchair bay at Rovers is difficult I had purchased a seat in the stand and also had been given a free carer ticket.
We left the wheelchair at the front of the stand as I climbed up six steps to the front row where we took our seats. Climbing the steps was not too bad as they had a good solid hand rail. Also a Hull KR steward escorted me up the steps offering to catch me when I fell, loved the humour, WHEN.
We took our seats and had a fair view of the pitch but the far end line is difficult to see with sitting so low down.
We didn’t participate in food as I’m tight and don’t want to give Rovers any more money than I have to.
I must note here as a collector it is disappointing that a club like Rovers do not produce a match magazine, clubs like Hull and Castleford do a monthly magazine and I think the RFL should make it compulsory for all clubs to do this.
The game was better best forgotten a tight first half with neither side really getting a grip on the game.
At half time I went to use the facilities and once again the steward escorted me down the steps, my carer pushed me to the toilets which are situated under the stand. They are not Radar key operated and it seems it is a free for all to use them. When entry was made they are roomy and very clean and even the soap dispenser worked. All in all not bad toilets, just need to be key operated.
Heading back to our seat the concourse had a lot of uncontrolled children running about and no one seemed to want to stop it even when a lad clattered into my wheelchair stewards just stood and watched.
The second half was disappointing from our point of view and the mass exodus with three minutes left summed up our night. At the end of the game the Rovers fans were permitted to walk the concourse in front of the remaining Hull fans and a few gestures and comments were made as the crowd drifted out together.
Back in the street crossing the road was difficult as the car park was opened as soon as the game finished meaning traffic blocked our route back. The walk back to the car was marred by an idiot who insisted on using language fit for the docks trying to wind us up, several Rovers fans moved in around us an apologised on behalf of the club for the idiot.
This was much appreciated by our group. Overall the experience for a disabled person within the confines of KCOM Craven Park is very good, the only moan I had was the keyless toilet and no programme but then again I am a bit picky and it is Rovers.
In summary for accessibility Brian scored 8 out of 10 also.
For me the stadium experience was exemplary with the hospitality staff going above and beyond, would I attend again? Yes if I could secure parking at the ground.
I look forward to your comments/thoughts etc.,