Ground Stade Maurice Postaire
Wednesday 25th Jul 2007
Match Amical AS Cherbourg 2 Avranche 0 HT 2-0
Entrance €4; No programme
This was my first foreign ground, so it was quite ironic and somewhat amusing that it looked quite like the Withdean Stadium! It should change its name to Le Stade Avecdean. I was on a family holiday in Barneville, Normandy for two weeks, and with the season coming up fast, I couldn’t help but look to see if there were any friendlies on in the area (or Match Amicals). On the Saturday I arrived I missed what would’ve been a good one and fairly close by; Caen 2 Lorient 2. They are both in the French top flight (Championnat France Ligue 1). We actually drove round the Caen bypass! I wonder if Leyton Orient fans know there is a French club called Lorient.
After buying a local paper I saw that Cherbourg were playing a couple of friendlies while I was there, of which one was against Avranche, a town at the bottom of the Cherbourg peninsula, near Mont St Michel. They were in the fifth tier of French football in the CFA 2 League, which is split into eight different groups, whereas Cherbourg play in the third tier known as the National.
Cherbourg is a nice port town, the area around the ground being particularly pleasant with narrow streets and typically french houses.
This shot was taken from the main stand. There was no sort of terrace or stand behind either goal, but you could walk round either side, behind the fences – which brought back memories of english football in the eighties!
On the far side, opposite the main stand was a terrace stretching maybe two-thirds of the length of the side and mostly covered with a marquee style deckchair-striped canvas roof. This is where the Cherbourg hardcore were stood, singing throughout with a flag with the letters ASCF on, which stands for Association Sportive Cherbourg Football. You can just see them on the left.
This is the other end. If you look close you can see the long jump pit and the shotput throwing circle.
This is the main stand taken from the covered terrace. It has a steep elevation and holds around 1,500 at a guess. The vast majority of the 400 odd at the match were seated here .
This is shot from the left of the drinks building which is a little up from a cracking hot dog stand with real sausages!
The game actually ended early as a fire in one of the bins was giving off poisonous fumes. I think it got to about the 85th minute when they called it a day. It was all a bit weird because the pompiers had arrived about half an hour before and seemed to be watching the match while the fire raged behind them.
Cherbourg won 2-0 quite comfortably, their first after about a minute, thanks to some very amateur defending. It looked like it might be a cricket score at that time, but Avranche got back into it somewhat. Cherbourg scored a neat second on the stroke of half time.
It was an interesting evening!