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Welcome to Shaun Smith's groundhopping football blog 'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) the original internet ground logging website. Please feel free to leave any comments if you wish. Cheers!!! site updated on post date

My Matchday - 420 Langtree Park

Liverpool U-19 3v2 Real Madrid U-19
UEFA Youth League Group Stage
Wednesday 22nd October 2014
I’ve been bragging for weeks that I was heading to Merseyside for Liverpool v Real Madrid until having to confess it’s actually not the UEFA Champions League, but the youth equivalent played at Langtree Park rugby league stadium at St Helens.  



The  UEFA Youth League was launched last season with games played at a group stage, reflecting the same matchday schedule as the 2013–14 UEFA Champions League group stage. The tournament  was held on a 'trial basis' with the eight group-winners and runners-up participated in a knockout phase, with single-leg ties and the semi-finals and final played at neutral venues. Barcelona became the first champion, beating Benfica 3–0 in the final-four held in Nyon.
After a two-year trial period, the UEFA Youth League will become a permanent UEFA competition starting from next season, with the tournament expanded from 32 to 64 teams to allow the youth domestic champions of the top 32 associations according to their UEFA country coefficients to also participate. 
Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
St Helens is a large town and metropolitan borough in Merseyside, found 11 miles east of Liverpool and 23 miles from Manchester city centre. 
The origin of the name "St Helens" stems from a "chapel of ease" dedicated to St Elyn, with the earliest recorded documented referenced in 1552. Between 1629 and 1839 St Helens grew from a small collection of houses surrounding an old chapel to a village, before becoming an important urban centre of the four primary Manors and surrounding townships.
St Helens did not exist as a town in its own right until the middle of the 19th century. During the Industrial Revolution St Helens became a significant centre for glassmaking, coal mining and historically it was also home to a cotton and linen industry, most notably in sail making. Today, St Helens is a commercial town and an ideal commuter location, as it shares borders with the towns or boroughs of Prescot in Knowsley, Skelmersdale, Warrington, Widnes, Wigan, and has direct transport links by road and two main railway lines. 
Ground no.420 Langtree Park
Langtree Park  is home to St Helens RLFC, located in the Peasley Cross area of the town. The club played at their former home at Knowsley Road in Eccleston for 120 years until the ground closed in 2010. The new stadium was built on the land formerly occupied by the UGB Glass plant with construction beginning in August 2010 and completed in November 2011, one month after the neighbouring Tesco store, which was also part of the redevelopment scheme was finished. The Langtree Group, the primary developers in the project gained the naming rights, with the first Super League fixture taking place on Friday 20th January 2011 as St Helens beat Widnes in the stadium opener.
Langtree Park has a capacity of just under 18,000 made up of two main standing areas totally 7,695 and seated stands at each side.  The main stand is on the south side having a capacity of 5,233, with executive boxes, disabled seats and houses the club shop, bar and ticket offices. The North Stand is slightly smaller with a capacity of 4,718, with both stands decked out in red with white lettering and have the floodlights perched on the roofs. There are standing terracing behind both goals totalling 7,695 with a small section of seating meeting the main stand in the corners. The overall capacity is just under 18,000 with 10,150 seats.
The match was a cracker played to the soundtrack of screaming school kids who made up a large majority of the crowd. I wish these sort of fixtures took place when I was a bairn, it would have been fab to spend an afternoon out of the classroom at the match instead of the swimming baths or some boring museum.
The young Liverpool support were soon in full voice as the reds took a two goal lead after 20 minutes. Cameron Brannagan fired in after a keystone kops type scramble, then five minutes later Tom Brewitt netted the rebound after a Wilson free kick was saved.
The comedy spot-kick
Real finished the half strongly and missed a golden opportunity when they were awarded a penalty after a high foot challenge by Phillips on Cedre. Borja Mayoral stepped up to take it but as he was about to shoot he slipped and fell on his backside, so the ball flew high over the crossbar...a regular sight here at the home of the egg shaped ball.
The Spaniards made up for that mishap in the second period by drawing level, with defender Lienhart nodding in a right wing cross on 53 minutes followed by Borja Sanchez playing a lovely one-two before placing his shot in off the far post with 66 on the clock. The goals were greeted with youthful cheers, with screams just as loud as the Liverpool goals, as the young Evertonians in the crowd were adopted Real Madrid supporters for the day.
In the later stages both team pushed for the decisive winning goal and it was Liverpool who clinched it when Sinclair found Harry Wilson in space who fired his right foot shot into the far corner. An excellent game played in good spirit with an array of talent on show, some of which could become household names within a few years.

Matchday Stats
LFC 3(Brannigan 15, Brewitt 20 Wilson 87) RMCF 2(Lienhart 53 Sanchez 66)
Att.TBC
Top kid - Harry Wilson(Liverpool)

Spondoolicks
Admission £5
Programme - Free team sheet
Bait and drink (None purchased because of big queues of school kids)


My Matchday
Its a good job that the match was excellent, the beer decent and the stadium extremely nice...as my day of travelling was a pile of dog shite! I left Newcastle on the 0924 Northern rattler which arrived in Carlisle(as always)spot on time. From the Border City I was heading down to Preston, booked on the scheduled 1110 to London Euston, which eventually arrived twelve minutes late. I had a 16 minute window at Preston before catching the connection to St Helens, so I thought the four spare minutes was sufficient enough to make it, but by the time we arrived the train was 21 minutes late, which was hard to comprehend considering it only stopped once at Penrith. I only had one option if I was going to make the 2pm kick off and that was to stay on the train and alight at Wigan North Western, hoping it gets there before the St Helens train.(I hope your following this)
It reached Wigan with a minute to spare, but I needn't have worried it was also running late, so after a stressful morning I was delighted to arrive in St Helens at quarter past one, only ten minutes behind schedule.

There are two JDW'Spoons pubs in the town, so I went to both, calling at the Running Horses before the match and The Glass Works afterwards. In the pub I received a phone call from 100FgC Squad#187 Alan Oliver apologising for not being able to meet up with me for the game. I told him about the journey and mentioned that it hopefully wouldn't be as bad heading back home.....well..
..The train from St Helens obviously arrived late into Preston, then I was flabbergasted to discover my 1741 was cancelled. I was told by a member of staff to catch the 1758 instead, but..aye, you guessed it...that was running at least ten minutes late. There was a Virgin train to Edinburgh due which called at Carlisle so I jumped aboard, and at long last I felt I would get to hold my loving breadknife in my arms and cuddle into her warm bosom before the day was out.
For a change the train made good time so I had a good 20 minutes spare in Carlisle to nip into The William Rufus and cross off a couple of more ales in the Wetherspoons Beer Festival bingo. I caught the 1938 back to Newcastle so I was home at my intended time, so I shouldn't really complain about the transport because if this match took place 24 hours earlier in the atrocious weather I’d more than likely would have never made it there or back. 

Foetoes (18 pictures from Langtree Park)

Bevvy Almanac
The Running Horses (Water Street) ;
Weetwood 'Best Cask Bitter' (3.8%)***+
Abbaye Du Val-Dieu 'Blonde,' (6%)****+
The Glass Works (Market Street) ;
Shepherd Neame 'Whitstable Bay Pale Ale' (3.9%)***+
Liberation American Brown Ale(4.2%)***+
Wicked Weed 'Freak of Nature' (7.5%)****

Revisiting Shielfield

 The occasion for my return to Shielfield after 14 years was for another of our days on the lash, this time for the pending 47th birthday of best pal Zippy. Apart from a map with a list of pubs, I also took my camera to click together a web album of the home of Berwick Rangers.

The Borderers entered the Scottish League in 1951, some 70 years after their formation in 1881. Shielfield Park dates back to 1890, named after land owned and local butcher William Shiel Dods. The club moved from an adjacent ground pitch to the present site in 1954, purchasing steelwork from Bradford City to build the main stand.  Aston Villa were their first opponents and over its 60 year history the record attendance stands at 13,365, for the famous 1-0 Scottish Cup victory over Glasgow Rangers in January 1967.
Berwick Rangers was forced to sell Shielfield Park to the local council in 1985 due to financial difficulties, who in turn leased it to a greyhound company. The leaseholder sub-let Shielfield to the club, then after nearly going out of business in 1992 they were locked out , forcing the club to ground share. The company eventually relented and allowed the club back for three days a week, until the club's supporters bought the lease out in August 1995.

The ground is oval shaped due to its surrounding cinder track used by the Berwick Bandits speedway team and formerly the greyhounds. The Main Stand runs pitch length, fully covered with a single tier of 1,366 seats decked out in sections of red, grey and mostly yellow seats, The stand has a row of floodlights running across the front  which were switched on in 1972. There's open terracing behind each goal and at the far side is a small covered section known as the 'Ducket Enclosure' with a total capacity of 4,500.
 As this is a revisit it doesn't get the full 'My Matchday' report, so the tale of how me, Zippy, Jimmy Jimmy, Plymouth Pete and Honest Paul were all stranded in Berwick will have to be told another time.



Revisit
Matchday Stats
18th October 2014
Berwick Rangers 1(Currie 31) Elgin City 1(Gunn 43)
Scottish League Division Two
Att.410
Spondoolicks - 
Admission £12
Programme £2
Coffee £1.30


Originally ticked:
Ground no.74 Shielfield Park
Tuesday 1st August 2000
Pre Season Friendly
Berwick Rangers 2(Woods 71 Smith 85) Newcastle United 5(Ameobi 17 Ketsbaia 25,45 Coppinger 88 90+1)
Att.2,015

Foetoes - Matchday Web Album (35 pics from Shielfield)

My Matchday - 419 North Shore Academy

Stockton West End 0v4 BEADS FC
Teesside Football League Division One
Saturday 11th October 2014
 This was a free Saturday in my fixture diary, but because of work commitments I was unable to travel too far. I fancied bagging a new ground with a few boozers and maybe a record store close by. I receive regular supplies of Northern Rail Ranger tickets (thanks to the future breadknife of Jimmy Jimmy) so I cashed one in to take the rattler down to Stockton-on-Tees.

The market town in the unitary authority and borough of Stockton-on-Tees is historically part of County Durham. The borough incorporating a number of smaller towns and villages which are split with North Yorkshire.The name derives from the Anglo Saxon with the “ton” ending meaning a farm or homestead. The town is on the north side of the Tees, five miles from Middlesbrough and famously has the widest High Street in the UK.

 Stockton West End this year celebrated their 70th birthday having first been formed by young cricketers during the war. The club currently run teams at all age groups from under-10s to senior level with over 200 players on their roster. The senior side play in the Teesside League Division One and I dipped my toe into this league for the first time for their fixture with BEADS FC.


 A sweet 20 yard free kick from Carl Liley on fifteen minutes separated the two sides in a tight first half but it was the visitors that went on to dominate proceedings after the break. They doubled their lead on 58 minutes when Aninakwah dribbled his way to the by-line to set up Mark Sowerby for an easy finish. Minutes later David Aninakwah was on hand to fire home the rebound, after a long range shot from Liley was initially saved, then on 70 minutes a sublime exchange of quick passing football was rounded off by substitute Carl Matthews. This convincing win took BEADS to the top of the table and if they continue in this vein of form they’ll take some stopping.

Matchday Stats
SWEFC 0 BFC 4(Liley 15 Sowerby 58 Aninakwah 63 Matthews 70)
Att.15(HC)
Admission & programme:none
Top bloke - Carl Liley(BEADS FC)
 Building work on the North Shore Academy began in March 2012 and opened in April the following year, with Stockton West End moving there last season The club use the caged 3G pitch which is found at the back of the complex on Talbot Street, the academy is based just off the town centre on the Norton Road.

Afterwards I headed into town, stopping off for refreshments in the Sun Inn, Royal Oak and the Thomas Sheraton. Apart from having a few bevvys the main reason I frequently head down to Stockton is to visit the fabulous Sound It Out record shop. I first came aware of the store when I saw the documentary film on BBC4. 
Film blurp;
Over the last five years an independent record shop has closed in the UK every three days.
SOUND IT OUT (75 mins) is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England. A cultural haven in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, SOUND IT OUT documents a place that is thriving against the odds and the local community that keeps it alive. Directed by Jeanie Finlay who grew up three miles from the shop.
A distinctive, funny and intimate film about men, the North and the irreplaceable role music plays in our lives.

As long as this shop stays open then I’ll continue taking the hour journey on the Northern rattler to north Teesside and if I can also bag a new ground in the vicinity then what’s not to like

My Matchday - 418 Coach & Horses Ground

Sheffield 4v3 Spalding United
Evo-Stick Division One South
Saturday 4th October 2014
On this corresponding Saturday last season I visited the oldest surviving football ground at Hallam and I vowed to return (be it one year later) to the Steel City to finally tick off the oldest football club on the planet. 

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
The south Yorkshire city of Sheffield takes its name from the River Sheaf, which during the 19th century gained an international reputation for the production of crucible and stainless steel. However the musical birthplace of the Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Def Leppard,  the Human League and ..erm...John Shuttleworth.. wasn’t my exact football destination today, as Sheffield FC play home games seven miles south of the city in Dronfield.
The town is in the valley of the River Drone in north-east Derbyshire between Chesterfield to the south and Sheffield to the north, making it a popular commuter town. Dronfield is known to have been in existence prior to the 1086 Domesday Book, and has a 12th-century parish church. In 1662 Charles II granted the town a market and its industrial history includes coal mining, engineering, the wool trade and the production of soap and steel.
Plantpot History
Officially recognised by FIFA as the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield Football Club formed in 1855 when members of a local cricket club organised informal kick-abouts without any official rules. Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest formed the first football club with the inaugural Sheffield FC meeting taking place on the 24th October 1857 at Parkfield House in the suburb of Highfield. As they were the first club they obviously had no one to play against, so matches between club members took place with the likes of  "Married v Singles" or "Professionals v the Rest". on a field adjacent to their original headquarters on East Bank Road.
At the club's AGM on the 21st October 1858, the first set of rules were drawn up, which were referred to as the Sheffield Rules, which were distinctive with no offside rule and the introduction of free kicks for foul play.
Hallam formed in 1860, with the two clubs playing each other in the first ever local derby and by 1862 there were 15 clubs in the Sheffield area. They became members of The Football Association in November 1863 but continued to use their own set of rules, until reluctantly adopting the FA directive in 1878.
During the 19th century Sheffield were founder members of the Midland Alliance in 1889 and Midland League in 1891. They also played in the Sheffield League and Yorkshire League then in 1903 they won the FA Amateur Cup beating Ealing 3-1 in the final at Bradford.
They returned to the Yorkshire League in 1949-50, playing within its two divisions until becoming founder members of the Northern Counties East League in 1982. They won the NCEL Division One title twice in 1988-89 and 1990-91 to win promotions to its Premier Division, with relegation in between due to not having floodlights. In 2007-08 season Sheffield finished runner-up to Retford United to win promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One South. They’ve played in the division since including a 4th place finish in 2012, when but lost out in the play-offs to Chasetown.
Ground no.418 Coach & Horses 
English Non League ground no.206 
Current Evostick pyramid 24/68

The club have played at a number of grounds around the Steel City, initially at Strawberry Hall Lane Park, before renting grounds at Newhall Athletic, Old Forge and a ground near Hunters Bar on Ecclesall Road. There was a charity match between Sheffield and Hallam played at Bramall Lane in late 1862, with the ground then being used by Sheffield for important fixtures, however the owners were never keen on the pitch being used for football, so the reluctant agreement lasted until 1875 when the club vowed to never play at the ground again.
Sheffield finally settled at the new Abbeydale Park ground in 1921, until moving to Hillsborough Park in 1988. The club moved to the  Don Valley Stadium in 1991 but the ground was unsuitable for the NCEL, so they relocated to the former greyhound stadium at Owlerton.  
Sheffield FC finally found a ground they could call their own when they purchased the Coach and Horses pub and the adjoining land in 2001.The field was previously used by the Coach and Horses pub team, and was also home to Dronfield United and Norton Woodseats. 
The stadium is now called the Home of Football Stadium and has all its main facilities in one corner of the ground at the admission entrance. The main stand is behind the goal having 250 red and white flip seats, next to this is the snack bar, players tunnel and in the very corner the club shop. There are club offices in the form of a cabin perched on top of the dressing rooms, with everything decked out in the club colours of black and red. The East Terrace runs to the half way line meeting the rear of the Coach & Horses. The rest of the ground is hard standing with the team dugouts on the west side and a good old fashioned manual scoreboard in the far corner. There are three floodlight pylons on each side with the grass banking on the west side covered with blue plastic sheeting. The current capacity is 2089.
The Match
Sheffield held on to taking the three points against a spirited Spalding side who looked dead and buried in the second half. The home side took the lead on 11 minutes when a terrific cross from Reece White picked out Ash Longstaff who volleyed home from six yards. Spalding presented the hosts with scoring opportunities by TWICE passing the ball back to Michael Duggan who in turn picked the ball up, the ‘keeper seemed to have amnesia when it comes to the back pass rule which changed in 1992. However they weren’t punished from the free kicks and the hosts went into the break with a slender one goal lead.
The first of seven..1-0!
Sheffield made a frantic start to the second half, gifted a goal after only 30 seconds when a throw in by-passed the Tulips defence to present Longstaff with an easy finish, then moments later Reece White met a corner kick with a powerful header which beat the defender at the far post.
On 54 minutes Andrew Tidswell headed the visitors back into the game, but the three goal cushion was restored with twenty minutes remaining, with a sweet 20 yard drive from Tim Whittaker. That looked to be game over but two minutes later Lewis Webb fired in from the edge of the penalty box, then in the 85th minute he repeated the feat, rifling in another similar effort to set up a grandstand finish. 
The busiest person in the Home of Football this afternoon was the lad who puts the numbers up on the scoreboard, but his work was finally done for the day as both teams came close to adding to the score, but it was Sheffield who held on to win an entertaining match by four goals to three. 

Matchday Stats
SFC 4(Longstaff 11,46 White 48 Whittaker 70) SUFC 3(Tidswell 54 Webb 74,85)
Att.202
Top Bloke - Reece White(Sheffield)

Spondoolicks
Admission £8
Programme £2 48 pages(22 adverts)
Pin badge £3
Tea £1

My Matchday
No rushing for train connections or heavy boozing sessions for this one, as I took the Smudgers for a day out in Sheffield. We arrived just before noon and after a ‘Spoons lunch and a bit shopping, I headed off to the train station to catch the 1405 Nottingham train for the short journey down to Dronfield. The ground is a good 10-15 minute walk from the station up the Sheffield Road, so I had time for a swift drink in the Coach & Horses before kick off, as it would have been disrespectful and very rude of me to visit this ground without having a pint in its pub. After a thrilling match it was straight back to Sheffield to meet up at the car park, before heading back up the M1/A1, meaning we were back home by quarter to eight. A really enjoyable day out, although I’m not a great lover of driving to matches as this restricts my pub visits, but I don’t really mind making an exception when it comes to spending time with my family... then nicking off to a match!

Foetoes (26 pictures from the Home of Football)

Bevvy Almanac
As expected not much bevvy due to driving
Cotswold Spring OSM (3.9%)***+ (The Bankers Draft, Sheffield)
Atom ‘Blonde’ (4%)**** (Coach & Horses, Dronfield)

Pic of the Week Cup - Round 5

100FgC FB Stephen Carpenter - Crystal Palace

100FgC AF9 John McClure - Blaenau Amateur

100FgC Squad#155 James Little - Zell Am See

100FgC FB Tommy McMillan - Fethiyespor

100FgC Squad#138 Lee Stewart - Horden Colliery Welfare
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