Saracens fan Ben Ireland looks forward to the Men in Black's long-awaited debut at Allianz Park on Sunday

Times Series: Fan's View: Bye bye Watford, hello Barnet Fan's View: Bye bye Watford, hello Barnet

So, a major chapter in the club's history has (probably) come to an end. Last Sunday's thrashing of a pretty hopeless Edinburgh side was a fitting way to say goodbye to Vicarage Road, our home since 1997.

For all that it is good and important that we move away, the Watford stadium has been a very successful stomping ground for us.

It's where I started as a rugby supporter, as a 10-year-old collecting autographs from next to the players' tunnel, in the now unused East Stand.

It's where we've seen plenty of fairly dire games, but also some thrilling ones - Bath in 2009 and the Ospreys 2008 stand out for me.

What it lacked in atmosphere and homeliness, it has made up for - in my case - with familiarity and convenience.

However, there won't be much time for sentimentality - nor I suspect much call for it - as Sarries embark on an exciting new phase in north London.

I went to Allianz Park on Monday for one of the open days. First things first, as someone who lives in central-ish London (Camden), the journey was very easy - even if the roads were a nasty mix of snow, slush and mud. This convenience is crucial to attracting the much-needed capacity crowds.

Both from afar, and from inside, it looks like a cross between a state-of-the-art stadium and a building site - which it is.

But the playing surface is wonderful, and the mostly-completed stands look ready for action. You certainly won't miss the 'autumnal' colour scheme with the East seats. From what I could tell, any concerns about the running track and the gap between the seats and the pitch won't last long.

And so, what about 'atmosphere' and 'homeliness'? Will Allianz Park look, sound and feel more like Saracens?

First, it is far more compact than Watford. Second, it will have people on all four sides. From a practical point of noise circulation, these things will help.

Thirdly, now that we have a matchday experience that we can control almost entirely, we should attract more away fans to Barnet - which helps to raise noise levels on both sides.

Finally, and crucially, it will be Sarries ground - rather than a ground which we just happen to use.

I'd expect our supporters to be bombarded with visual reminders of that, and crucially to take pride in it. It's as much in the club's interest as in the supporters' interest to achieve the best possible atmosphere.

See you all on Sunday!

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