Welcome to The 100 Football Grounds Club

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 - 434 Blackhall Colliery Welfare

Hartlepool United U-18s 2v2 Hull City U-18s
Youth Alliance League - North East Division
Tuesday 27th January 2015

 Hartlepool United Academy play home matches in the former pit village of Blackhall Colliery  The village is situated on the North Sea A1086 coast road between Pools and Horden. The colliery closed in 1981 with an industrial estate built over part of the site, and following the pit closure the once busy village became a commuter link on the east coast.
Blackhall beach was the setting for the final scene in the 1971 film Get Carter starring Michael Caine, when(*spoiler alert*) Carter is shot by a sniper after a chase across a coal-strewn beach. The film shows the beach black with coal dumped by the mine's conveyor system. Following its closure £10 million was spent removing the huge concrete tower, the conveyor and clearing tons of coal from the now spotless beach. 

 Blackhall Colliery Welfare FC was formed in 1927, winning the Wearside League on three occasions during the 1930's. Just before the Second World War they joined the North Eastern League which they took part in until 1955. During the 1951-52 season they had their best run in the FA Cup, reaching the First Round proper after navigating four qualifying rounds they were knocked out at home to League club Workington 5-2. They later returned to the Wearside League in 1987 but struggled badly and unfortunately called it a day after failing to complete the 1991-92 season.
 The Welfare ground is still used by a village team as Sunday league and former Durham Alliance League side Blackhall Hardwick FC play at the Welfare. The ground is fully railed off with hard standing on three sides including a five step terrace at the far side. The changing rooms are in the new cricket pavilion which was officially opened in 2011 by former Newcastle United, Manchester City and England centre-half Steve Howey. Within the Welfare Park is the local bowls club, cricket pitch and children’s play ground, as well as the Blackhall War Memorial.

 Hartlepool United faced league leaders Hull City in a Youth Alliance League fixture rescheduled from the 17th January. Pools denied the Tigers the chance to extend their lead at the top of the North East Division coming back to grab a well earned draw.
The hosts made a bright start and took the lead on the half hour mark when Dylan Armstrong found room in the box to pick out full back Scott Howes who fired in from ten yards. The advantage only lasted a minute, as Jake Buckle stepped up to take a free kick wide on the right and surprised everyone by curling his 25 yard shot into the top corner of the net.
Hull took the lead early in the second half when Mitch Langton was giving a simple task when the defence failed to clear a corner, but they fought back to earn a deserved draw when fantastic wing play from Jack Blackford saw him pick out Connor Smith, arriving into the box to fire in the equaliser.
Matchday Stats
HUFCU-18 2(Howes 30 Smith 71) HCFCU-18 2(Buckle 31 Langton 47)
Top Bloke - Jack Blackford(Hartlepool United)

Foetoes (Web album of 19 pictures from Blackhall Colliery Welfare)

My Matchday - 433 Valefield Park

Kilbirnie Ladeside 4v2 Kilsyth Rangers
Scottish Junior Cup 4th Round
Saturday 24th January 2015

My new groundhopping project for 2015 and over the proceeding years is to visit the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup throughout my lifetime, which will add up to half a century this year. My original plan today was to visit Arthulie FC, but this like many others fell foul to the brutal Scottish weather, but thankfully my second choice of Kilbirnie Ladeside got the go ahead.

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Kilbirnie is a wee town situated in the Garnock Valley area of North Ayrshire, around 20 miles south-west of Glasgow and approximately 10 miles from Paisley. The town was historically  built up around the flax and weaving industries before the Glengarnock Steel Works opened its blast furnaces around 1841. Since the works closed in 1985, the area has very few local employers, making it a commuter town.The suburb of Kilbirnie in the New Zealand capital of Wellington is named after its Scottish counterpart.

Plantpot History
Kilbirnie Ladeside formed in 1901 and are nicknamed The Blasties,  which derives not just from the steel works but from a Robert Burns poem, The Inventory, written in 1786. The poem refers to the local Saint Brennan's Day Fair, the largest horse market in the west of Scotland and his purchase of a plough horse.
My furr-ahin 's a wordy beast,
As e'er in tug or tow was traced.
The fourth's a Highland Donald hastle,
A damn'd red-wud Kilburnie blastie!

The club won their first honour in the Ayrshire District Cup in 1904, a trophy which they've won on ten occasions. Further cup success includes lifting the Ayrshire Cup eight times and winning the West of Scotland Cup in 2008. As for the holy grail of the Junior ranks, they won the cup for the first time in 1952 with a 1-0 win over Camelon, then a quarter of a century later they featured in the very first Scottish Junior Cup Final on TV (STV) when they beat Kirkintilloch Rob Roy 3-1 in the 1977 final at Hampden Park in front of a crowd of 11,476. Kilbirnie were denied the Junior Cup hat-trick in 1987 after drawing 1-1 with Auchinleck Talbot they narrowly lost the replay 1-0.
Kilbirnie Ladeside started their league career in the old Scottish Junior League, winning the title in 1903-04. They went on the win the Western/Ayrshire League five times between 1947-48 and 1975-76. They currently play in the West Super League Premier Division having won the Ayrshire District League in 2006-07 and finishing runners-up Super League First Division in 2008-09.
Ground 433 Valefield Park
(Scottish grounds 54, Junior grounds 11, Lifetime Junior Cup winners 6/27)

Kilbirnie Ladeside originally played at Ladeside Park on Mill Road. During World War II the army used the ground so the club relocated to Valefield. The ground had been the home of Glengarnock Vale, who vacated the ground after not reforming after the war.
The ground is found in the south end of Kilbirnie, just at the other side of Glengarnock village. The paying entrance is behind the goal, with another turnstile block off the main road which is currently out of use. There are two enclosures at the Kirkland Road side of the ground, both identical with one of the stands having a small section of wooden seat benches. There are three dugouts on the opposite side in front of the changing rooms and refreshment hall. This side also has a club office cabin and a bar incorporating a club shop which sells alcoholic refreshment in can and bottle form. The best part of Valefield (for a ground connoisseur like myself) is the terracing. At the entrance end is four large steps of terrace while at the far end the standing area sweeps around to meet the sides. The ground is nicely finished off with the stands, structures and pitch perimeter decked out in the club colours of amber and black.

The Match
After last weekend’s total whiteout of the 16 Junior Cup ties, this match was one of only five cup games to beat the weather this week with the Vale pitch looking in great nick, considering it was still under a blanket of snow in the middle of last week. 
The Blasties faced First Division side Kilsyth Rangers in a game which turned out to be a closely contested encounter, although the scoreline would suggest otherwise. 
Kilbirnie took the lead after just nine minutes when Richie Barr raced onto a through ball and calmly slotted home, but the Wee Gers were level on 24 minutes when Joe Barclay received the ball on the right flank before cutting inside and firing in from a tight angle.
The match was nicely poised at this stage but two goals before half time booked Ladeside’s passage into round five. Just after the half hour mark a Wilson free kick from the right was nodded past his own ‘keeper by David Water, the goal was quite bizarre as it looked as if he had forgotten he was defending and headed home like a top striker into the far corner, giving the ‘keeper no chance. 
Just before the break a long through ball found both Ryan Borris and Christopher Craig in acres of space. The linesman flagged for offside but the referee waved play on before Borris teed up his team mate up for a simple finish.
The visitors made an encouraging start to the second half and if they’d a been more clinical in front of goal they could have easily drawn level. They were made to pay for those missed chances as the hosts sealed the win when a quick break from midfield was finished off by Ryan Borris, before a late consolation from Barclay made the scoreline look a bit more respectable in a typical end-to-end cup tie.

Matchday Stats
KLFC 4(Barr 9 Waters 32OG Craig 44 Borris 75) KRFC 2(Barclay 24,89)
Top Bloke - Ryan Borris(Kilbirnie Ladeside)

Admission £5
Programme: none
Mince pie £1.20
Coffee £1

Richie Barr blasts The Blasties into an early lead.

My Matchday
This Matchday trip was split between using the car and letting the train take the strain. Engineering works on the Newcastle to Carlisle route, meant a replacement bus service from Hexham, which added an extra 40 minutes onto the journey. It was easier and a helluva lot quicker to just drive along to Carlisle myself and jump the train to Glasgow from there. I left home that morning not knowing where my final destination would be due to the bad weather in Scotland over the last week, which added to the excitement of just having a list of travel details for seven possibilities.
I parked up in Carlisle at 1025 and immediately checked my phone for messages to find out what was on and off. I received a tweet from Brian, a Kirkintilloch Rob Roy fan who informed me that his team's game at my original plan of Arthurlie was postponed. Paisley based Chris Sanderson(100FgC A38) kept me well informed throughout the morning and confirmed my main back up plan of Kilbirnie Ladeside was definitely on. 
Typically, the national train provider on the west side of the country let me down yet again, giving me another kick on the bollocks with the 1047 running 35 minutes late. I don’t know if its just me being unlucky when I use them or if they're frequently so incompetent. Thankfully there's a regular service for my onward journey to Glengarnock, so I had just enough time to buy my tickets and catch the 1248 which took around 25 minutes, so nicely timed to arrive at Valefield for the 1.45 kick off.
The train delay meant I didn't have any spare time in Glasgow, which was the only downer on a cracking day, although I did have a 20 minute window on the way home to pop into Fopp on Union Street to bag a copy of the new Belle & Sebastian LP.  I shouldn't be too disappointed as there'll be plenty of other opportunities to have time for a bevvy in Glasgow as my latest groundhopping pursuit will see me becoming a regular visitor to the west of Scotland, as its the most successful region for Junior Cup winners, and Kilbirnie is just the first of many cracking grounds to come.

Foetoes (28 pictures from Valefield)

All going well I’m in the process of writing a book on the winners of the Junior Cup over the last 50 years, so I’ll be writing a more thorough piece on my matchday at Kilbirnie. You can check the progress and a map of the grounds on my list on the T’Do Page

My Matchday - 432 Aldborough Road

Boroughbridge 1v2 Bardsey
West Riding County Challenge Cup 4th Round
Saturday 3rd January 2015

The most hectic and stressful time is over for another year at work, and its now a period of calm after navigating through the December storm. This means a few decent Saturday finishes at the beginning of the new year so I can jump in the car after my shift and hopefully tick off a couple of West Yorkshire League grounds, the first of which is Boroughbridge, who faced Bardsey in the West Riding County Cup.

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Boroughbridge is a small town and civil parish in the Harrogate district of North Yorkshire, situated 13 miles north-west of York. The origin of the town name derives from its location next to Aldborough, the principal settlement during the Roman period and known as Isurium Brigandom. After the Norman Conquest a new town grew as the roman road was diverted north of Aldborough where it crosses the River Ure. The Old Town became known as the "Ald-Borough with the new settlement became "New Borough on t'Brigg" (Bridge), which became "Borough on t'Brigg" and finally Boroughbridge. 
Between the two town are the Devil’s Arrows, which are a row of three large stones said to date back to the Bronze Age. The name comes from an 18th century legend, which states the Devil threw the stones, aiming at the next town of Aldborough, but the stones fell short and landed near Boroughbridge instead.
Plantpot History
History books show the first mentions of a Boroughbridge AFC at the turn of the 20th century, with the first known honours in 1921-22 as Harrogate Amateur League Division Two champions. After the second World War they won the Ripon League and later had two teams in the Harrogate & District League, enjoying league and cup success during the 1950’s. The Bridge won the Harrogate Premier League eight time and the York Premier League on three occasions before joining the West Yorkshire League in 2002. In their debut season they were Division One champions, winning promotion to the West Yorkshire Premier League, finishing runners-up in 2004-05, there best season to date. Currently the club also fields teams in the Harrogate & District, Claro Sunday and York Corinthians leagues.

Ground no.432 Aldborough Road
(English Non-League ground 213, 2nd in West Yorkshire League)
I was quite impressed with the set up at Boroughbridge AFC. The Club is based in a complex on Aldborough Road on the town’s edge, which boasts a bowls club, tennis courts, a cricket pitch and two full size football pitches. The main pitch has a small white brick stand at the near side with room for about 30 spectators made up of  two rows of benches next to the away dugout. On the opposite site are some unique dugouts which is basically a container cabin with the dugouts built at the front. The structure is also painted white and has the club name at the top. The pitch is fully railed off on all side apart from a hedgerow behind the goal next to the tennis courts.
The changing rooms are found at the side of the impressive clubhouse which serves  a selection of draught beers and a proper cup of tea in a mug at half time.

The Match
Boroughbridge have navigated their place in round four after receiving a bye then knocking out local rivals Ripon City, followed by victory over Campion in the last round. Today’s tie against Bardsey was their toughest fixture yet, with the visitors second in the table and having beating Bridge 3-0 at Aldborough Road just a fortnight ago. 
Another comfortable Bardsey win looked on the cards as they dominated the early stages, but surprisingly fell a goal behind after a quarter of an hour when Mickey Mullenger scrambled in a right wing cross from close range. The hosts finished the first half well and looked as if they could hang onto their slim advantage as the second half progressed, until the game flipped with two goals in a three minute spell. In the 66th minute a neat through ball for Danny Maw saw the striker race in on goal, before showing great composure to dance around the ‘keeper and slot the ball home, then minutes later a right wing cross found Nicky Seed who got in front of the defence and fired in a side foot volley.  The double strike was enough to send Bardsey into the next round of the West Riding County Challenge Cup, setting up a home tie against either Salt or Whitkirk Wanderers in the last eight.
My Matchday
After arriving in Boroughbridge at noon and parking at the ground, I walked into the town centre for something to eat and a quick look around before the 1pm kick off. The world is a small place especially when it comes to the Groundhopping community, so I wasn’t too surprised to bump into 100FgC A17 Peter Miles with his better half. They had travelled up from Essex, staying in Harrogate for the weekend to visit the two teams in the town and also catch the first half at the Bridge. I enjoyed my visit to Boroughbridge they seem a friendly club with good support and a community spirit, so this made up for a disappointing FA Cup 3rd round Saturday. The two clubs closest to my heart bowed out of the competition, one of which went out in style with a good hiding while the other produced a maladroit display, so a decent game at a nice venue more than made up for the anticipated big let down.

Matchday Stats
BAFC 1(Mullenger 16) BFC 2(Maw 66 Seed 68)
Top Bloke - Danny Maw (Bardsey)

Foetoes  (22 pictures from Aldborough Road)

The 100FgC 2014 Accolades

(Shaun's best bits of the year..aka The New Year's Honours List)

*Best Match Attended*
25th October East of Scotland League Division One- Eyemouth United 5v4 Hawick Royal Albert 
3-1, 3-4, 5-4 Full details in My Matchday report -  link

*Goal of the Year*
James Marwood(Gateshead) v Grimsby - Conference play-off semi final(2nd leg)
A moment of brilliance from James Marwood settled the tie as veteran playmaker John Oster picked him out on the corner of the box and the 23-year-old cut onto his left foot to bend a beautiful strike into the far top corner to send the Heed Army to Wembley.

*Favourite Previously Uncharted Senior Ground*
Ayr United - Somerset Park

*Best Previously Uncharted Non-League Ground*
Chorley - Victory Park

*Best My Matchday*
A great day and a splendid night out in Salisbury before heading across to Newport the following morning.          My Matchday - 385 Raymond McEnhill Stadium

*Best Pre-Match Bevvy*
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem - Nottingham
A favourite of mine during my weekend stay in Nottingham for the Notts Senior Hop. 
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem occupies the brewhouse site within the caves at the base of Nottingham castle and claims to be the oldest pub in England, dating back to 1189.

*Silver 'Spoons Award*
 The Wallaw - Blyth
 The Grade II-listed Wallaw cinema in Blyth, which had stood empty for six years is considered the best surviving work of the firm Percy Lindsay Browne, which designed many cinemas in the North East. The Wallaw opened in 1937 and is named after its owner Walter Lawson. JDW have maintained the cinemas original features and is a must visit for 'Spoons enthusiasts.

*Scabby-eye of the Year* 
Chicken shish kebab at Netherton United

 For the first time the award for the best pre-match bait goes to a non pastry based product as the tasty shish-kebab at The Grange was the grub highlight of the Peterborough Groundhop.     My Matchday - UCL and Peterborough & District Football League - The Opening Weekend Hop! (part one)

2014 Pic of the Week Cup - The winner is...

The inaugural winner of the Facebook Pic of the Week Cup is 100FgC A9 John McClure for his photograph of Blaenau Amateur, beating Lee Stewart's picture of the main stand at Horden CW in the final.

Winners in each round were; 

Round 1 - Billingham Town (Jon Blake)
Round 2 - Old Bradwell United (Peter Miles)
Round 3 - Corfe Castle (Paul Paxton)
Round 4 - Bury Town (Jack Warner)
Round 5 - Blaenau Amateur (John McClure)
(Most voted runner-up) Horden Colliery Welfare(Lee Stewart)
Round 6 - Clydebank (Joris van der Wier)
Round 7 - Harlech (Laurence Reade)

Horden CW beat Corfe Castle
Blaenau Amateur beat Old Bradwell United
Clydebank beat Billingham Town
Harlech beat Bury Town

Semi Finals 
Blaenau Amateur beat Clydebank
Horden beat Harlech

John wins an exclusive 100FgC cup, and if you would also like to own one of these fabulous pieces of crockery then please drop me an email or get in contact via our Facebook page.