“The partygoers had a great time”

A relatively new addition to the area, this sports arena shines its floodlights over artificial football pitches and offers indoor sports facilities, as well as a first floor function room & bar for hire.  Our mystery diner – Claire – took her grandson along to his friend’s birthday party and made notes…..

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The venue is only accessible by car via the one-way Grimwade Street, so after an enforced detour around the centre of Town, I parked in a poorly signposted car park that appeared attached to the centre. Upon closer inspection of the on-site signage, I was instructed to sign my car in at reception for free parking.  The car park is a bit rough looking and there is no clear path back to the centre itself.  SCORE 2/5

AMBIENCE & GREETING

The building is only a few years old, so is still smart looking and has that sports centre feel about it.  External signage clearly indicates a tie-in with Suffolk New College, so you could be forgiven for thinking that it is for student use only.  The reception is bright, spacious & airy, but the general greetings going on were very matter of fact and felt like staff were going through the motions.   SCORE 3/5

FOOTBALL

The centre has 11 all-weather pitches and floodlighting.  The posters around the site seem to indicate that football is played 7 days/nights a week and many alternative league tables are displayed, indicating that the facilities are well used.  The partygoers had a great time playing their unofficial matches and the area is kept in great condition.  SCORE 5/5

PARTY ROOM/BAR

The first floor function room is spacious & well equipped with good quality tables & chairs and a large TV screen which shows live sports.  There is access to a small balcony which overlooks the pitches from the side.  The bar is well-stocked for its size.  Bar staff were adequately trained, but needed to be more adaptable to a kids’ party atmosphere.  SCORE 4/5

MENU

Standard fare.  Everything that kids would expect from a birthday party…..a parental choice of burgers, pizza, sandwiches, tortilla chips etc etc. and with limited veggie options.  SCORE 3.5/5

TOILETS

Decent toilet facilities outside the function room, kept to an average standard and easily accessible for partygoers.  SCORE 3.5/5

STANDARDS & DÉCOR

The venue is definitely more appealing on the inside than the outside, but as far as the building itself is concerned, the presentation is what you would expect from a sports arena.  Staff seem to ensure that standards are maintained, but don’t seem to bother to go above & beyond.  SCORE 3.5/5

Goals is competing with many other local venues to host kids’ parties.  However, the modern facilities and the quality football pitches will ensure that soccer-mad kids will plead with their parents to hire the centre for their special day.  Management just need to ensure that their staff don’t show complacency, because today’s birthday boy/girl is potentially tomorrow’s mini-league footballer.

Overall score : 3.5/5