Well this is a Cup tie that will be remembered for many a year, and it doesn't matter what the outcome is. Think about it - if United win, all the visiting fans will remember that famous day in Gretna, when everyone got blootered in the Borders town and had a great day out. If however Gretna win, it will be long remembered for very different reasons! We won't lose, will we?
Add to that that both sets of fans have been gifted free tickets by their respective (and respectable) Chairman (Gretna's millionaire chairman Brooks Mileson), and that the sides have never played before, and you have a tie that smacks of all the romance of the Cup.
Gretna, the team, will be no pushovers either. They are leading the Scottish third division, striker David Bingham was awarded the 'Best Player in the SFL' for Novemeber 2004, and their manager, former player Rowan Alexander picked up the manager's award for October. On top of that, they are the top scorers in the entire Scottish league with 72 goals in 20 games, nearly four goals a game, not to mention their 5-1 drubbing of Stenhousemuir in the last round of the Cup! Their strikers certainly know where the net is, and our defence will have to be at it's most alert to stop Gretna notching, and believe! they will be keen to do so.
There is to be temporary seating at the game, which is highly likely to set Gretna's all time attendance record of 2200, set at last season's top of the table clash with Peterhead. The extra seating will increase the capacity to 3700, and with the game being essentially free it will be a capacity crowd. The atmosphere will no doubt be cracking also.
Drinking In Gretna
(Map to Stadium/Dominion Road - click here by StreetMap).
The Crossways Inn on Annan Road is only a 10 minute walk. Tel 01461 337465
The Royal Stewart on Glasgow Road is only a 10 minute walk. Tel 01461 338210
The stadium itself, Raydale Park, is situated on Dominion Road, which actually leads off Annan road, and both appear, judging by the map above, to be in Gretna's main cluster of central streets.
The Social Club at Raydale will comfortably take a few hundred fans but may be best to phone them first on 01461 338392.
There's also Hunters Lodge Hotel on Annan Road and The Gables Hotel on Annan Road too. The Chase Hotel is over the border in England and is a good 20 min walk.
Most of the above do pub meals etc as well, should you fancy a bite to eat! Many thanks to BJ1 for helping with the pub information.
The photos I have here are mostly from a league game against Albion Rovers, and whilst they show the ground's size, I'm not sure at the time of writing where these extra seats are to be erected, as the Gretna Official Website is offline. Suffice to say, and with all due respect, it's not a large ground with an average attendance of around 450, and that their attendance record is about to be broken by some distance!!
It should be a cracking day out that will live in the memory for a long time, and let's not forget the gestures of the two Chairmen in letting all fans into this cup tie for free.
A Few Pictures Showing The Ground (Raydale Park)