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Cans & Megabus Away Guide: Everything Sunderland fans need to know about the trip to Gillingham

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Off to Gillingham? Here’s everything the discerning Sunderland supporter needs to know - where to grab a pint, what the ground is like, how to get there, where to park and, most importantly, WHO THESE JOBBERS ARE.

Soccer - FA Cup - First Round - Gillingham v Bromley - Priestfield Stadium Photo by Daniel Hambury - PA Images via Getty Images

Who Are These Jobbers?

The world has witnessed so many iconic trilogies - Ali v Frazier, Steelers vs Cowboys, Federer vs Nadal, Toy Story - and on Saturday afternoon another will reach its encapsulating conclusion. It will be an epic tussle we talk about for years and something you will be able to tell your grandchildren about.

Yes, amid the white hot atmosphere of Priestfield Stadium, Sunderland and Gillingham will finally determine who is the slightly less shit League One football club. I won’t lie, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster played out in front of tens of fans. There’s been lows and marginally less lows but who will emerge victorious?

The Gills, managed by human blimp Steve Evans, have the slight upper hand having won the previous pulsating encounter 1-0 but Sunderland, led into battle by sad bus driver Phil Parkinson, will be hungry for revenge. While they only have 90 minutes to register a shot on target this time round, Parkinson has issued the barrel-chested rallying cry of “they’ve performed well in training”.

There are already so many questions to be answered such as: can we sink any lower?, does the away stand still not have a roof?, why do we keep watching this shit? and, everyone’s personal favourite, why is this man still in charge of our football team?

So, come on down to Kent and see the epic end to this tête-à-tête of English football’s most mediocre third tier sides!

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

What’s The Ground Like?

I feel I’ve written about this tip of a ground far more than I should’ve in the past two years. The away stand doesn’t have a roof and resembles a golf stand (yes, I could rehash my Ryder Cup gag but we’re all just so very tired). If you’re in the Gordon Road Stand, lucky you, you’ll have a roof over your head. If you’re in the Brian Moore Stand, unlucky.

Gillingham v Sunderland: FA Cup First Round Replay Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

How Do I Get There?

Doesn’t it feel great to travel over 300 miles to see Sunderland lose in the rain? Yeh, it feels good, doesn’t it? Let all that lovely cold rain wash over you, and then get back in your car miserable and soaking. Doesn’t that feel good? Mmmm.

If you’re driving take the A19, A1(M), M11 and M25 before joining the A2 after crossing the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge. Join the M2 before exiting junction 4 following the signs into Gillingham. You’ll see directions for Priestfield Stadium which is located close to Canadian Avenue. There’s a resident’s only parking scheme around the ground but there is still plenty of parking nearer to the town centre.

Plop ME7 4DD in your sat nav if you get lost.

Gillingham Railway Station is just 10 minutes away from the ground and is served by trains from London St Pancras, Victoria, Charing Cross and Stratford. Also, if you’re travelling down to London on West Midlands Railway or London Northwestern Railway services, check your journey as there’s a strike on affecting the whole West Coast line.

It’s a good job I didn’t buy tickets for West Midlands Railway or London Northwestern Railway services...oh wait.


Where Can I Get The Sesh Started?

As mentioned in our utterly illuminating cup guide to Gillingham, this corner of Kent is not the kindest when it comes to alehouse options. One of the closest pubs to Priestfield is the Fleur De Lis on Gillingham Road which, despite its la-dee-dah, name will serve you a mean pint of Guinness, well, according to its Google Maps picture at least.

Hey, do you want to sup the finest beverages of “Medway’s First Micro Pub”? Of course you do! So get yourself to Past & Present on Skinner Street and sample their delicious real ale and cider. I’m also reliably informed, through my extensive research, that you can find a scrumptious CAMRA approved pint at The Will Adams on Saxton Street.

Fleur De Lis

Is There Anything To Do Around Here?

There’s this massive city called London about 45 minutes away by train, go there. There’s loads to do there.