As the contemporary replacement for Boothferry Park, the completion of the KCOM Stadium in late 2002 marked the end of a five-year quest for a new stadium to house Hull City AFC.
Affectionately referred to as ‘BP’ by the Tigers faithful, their former home became less than enticing in its final years of existence. Crumbling due to financial worries, supermarkets Kwik Save and Iceland moved in to allay those fears. The unlikely tenants remained at the abandoned stadium a full five years after the final fixture, but when the building work reached its conclusion two years after the new millennium, it marked a new lease of life for the club.
A smart construction – almost space age in comparison – was a welcome change for a side who, historically, had spent much of their existence in the lower echelons of the English football pyramid. But the improvement in stadia wasn’t immediately reflected on the pitch in the first half-season, with a 13th place finish in Division Three.
The 2003/04 campaign was the first full season at the KCOM and promotion to League One was achieved automatically. Now, fast forward to the present day, and it has hosted every one of the five seasons Hull have spent in the Premier League; Assem Allam’s ownership has no doubt helped, but you could almost say the move has been the making of the club.
This weekend’s trip will be just the third time The Bees have battled Hull since their relocation and on both occasions they’ve come away reeling from a 2-0 reverse. But with 915 North Stand tickets allocated to Brentford fans – and all costing just £12 - Dean Smith and his men will be hoping that a bumper following can go some way to altering their previous losing record at the KCOM.
How to get there:
There are two potential routes to the KCOM Stadium. Firstly, drivers can opt to follow the M1 to Doncaster, before taking the M18, M62 and, subsequently, minor roads to reach their destination. This route comes further inland and avoids the Humber Bridge’s £1.50 car charge, though it will add a further 19 miles to the journey. The more direct route will see drivers incur the small toll charge to cross the 1.38-mile-long bridge – once the longest single-span suspension bridge in the world – by exiting the M1 at junction 13, picking up the A421 and taking the A1 from Chawston, just south of St Neots, Cambridgeshire. Leaving the A1 at Newark-on-Trent, take the A46 towards Lincoln and then the A15, before crossing the Humber and driving along Boothferry Road towards the stadium.
Parking is available at the Walton Street car park - just five minutes’ walk from the KCOM - and costs just £5 per car, though exiting the car park following the conclusion of the game can be incredibly lengthy. Therefore, supporters might prefer to use the Park & Ride facility on Priory Park, which is signposted from Clive Sullivan Way on the A63 and provides space for up to 650 cars. There are also two further multi-story car parks on Pryme Street in the city centre in addition to a surface car park at Freetown Way. At the time of writing, there is limited availability on train tickets from London Euston to Hull at a reduced rate, however on-the-day prices cost £106.20 for an adult and £53.10 for children. The majority of trains are direct, though many stop at Doncaster, and the walk to the ground from the station takes around 20 minutes.
Where to eat/drink:
If fans aren’t looking to head far away from the stadium prior to kick-off, there are places close by that welcome away supporters, including the Park View opposite the Walton Street car park, the Walton Street Social Club and, a little further on at the corner of Anlaby Road, the Boot Room. All three locations serve food and show Sky Sports. Away fans also have a dedicated bar - Pitch Side - at their disposal. The bar – which is located on the outside of the stadium - stops serving alcohol 45 minutes prior to kick-off and isn’t particularly large in size, though it does serve cold food, drinks and snacks.
Many home fans have kept to their pre-match routine of frequenting the pubs in the vicinity of former home Boothferry Park, so visiting fans are advised to find alternative venues for pre-match entertainment. Just a mile walk away, Princes Avenue in the city centre is an ideal destination – in particular Bowers, formerly known as the Linnet & Lark – as is Anlaby Road where you’ll find two adjacent bars: the Admiral of the Humber and the New King Edward.