Blog: Mike Hughes - Through the eyes of a fan

Wrexham supporters

I have Nystagmus and Albinism. I'm registered partially sighted but you wouldn't know if you saw me in the Mold Road Stand. No cane, dark glasses nor assistance dog.

 

However, I'm sensitive to light; slow to focus; struggle to follow anything moving; have no 3D vision and red/green/yellow/blue colourblindness. It’s like macular degeneration with someone occasionally shining a torch at you. My vision also worsens with stress and tiredness. You may well ask why I support a non-league team playing in red on a green pitch under floodlights kicking a moving ball!

 

My match day experience is perhaps different to many because of this. I love what the club and DSA have done on physical access. It’s really important but, for me, accessibility is all about information, light, colour and contrast.

 

I’m not allowed to drive and rely on others for transport. A Saturday journey (with a 10 yr. old) from Manchester starts at 10am and ends around 8pm. That's bus; tram, 5 trains and a lift home!

 

Travel is a military operation, booked in advance, so I can sit backwards and reduce direct sunlight on trains; leaving extra time for ticket collection; connections and lunch. My son reads me seat reservations on tickets as they’re too small.

 

We arrive in Wrexham around 1:50pm as the walk to the ground is quieter and it's easier to enter and get seated. Crowds are a hazard with a VI.

I buy a programme outside the ground. I can't read much of it as it uses capitalised headings, small fonts and images behind text, although we’re better than many at not doing the latter. Red and white offer good contrast and when we use them well on signage and in documents they stand out. I can’t read season ticket forms without magnifying them though. Ditto my WrexID.

 

Finding the right turnstile can be difficult as the signage is high; small and often handwritten.

 

Once in we’re near first for pre-match refreshment. I rarely move at half time as navigating a full row to crowded steps and concourse is difficult. My eyes can’t glance so if I've kicked your flask or food, now you know why.

 

My name is on my seat because I need it. I struggle to read seat numbers even if I find the row easily enough.

 

During a match a peaked cap keeps light manageable. I can follow play but can’t see players names unless I use my monocular. I probably need audio commentary but unless it's through my phone on wi-fi I've yet to explore it as public transport means there's no time to hand stuff back in before heading home.

 

Leaving the stadium can be complex. Going down steps with no 3D vision means tripping or colliding with someone most weeks even when leaving early to avoid navigating crowds. Step nosings rarely provide enough contrast to show where the step is. Now we own the ground…

My eyes and I tend to arrive home exhausted (and occasionally happy!)

 

Blog provided by Mike Hughes, Wrexham fan

 

14.04.16