Welcome to The 100 Football Grounds Club

Welcome to Shaun Smith's Groundhopping blog ...
 'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) ... the original internet ground logging website.
Check out my blog reports and pictures from over 400 different football grounds in the A-Z Matchday Index

site updated on post date

At the beginning of the season the Premier League odds suggested that Spurs were going to have another good season, although not quite as good as their second place finish in the 2016/17 season. They are expected to finish in the top four this season, meaning that as they move into their new stadium ready for the 2018/19 season, it is expected that the fans will get to witness Champions League football in their new stadium.
With a capacity of 61,000 the new stadium will be slightly bigger than their rivals’ Arsenal as well as other big clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea. We’ve taken a look at some of the biggest stadiums in English football in our infographic below.

Odyssey through the Alphabet

Following on from 100FgC Squad #1 having a book published this year,(that’s me by the way) another one of our merry band of ‘hoppers has followed suit. One of my former travel companions and a star of many of my old blogs (along with his other half) has written a gem, an incredible idea and a groundhopping challenge, that I’m extremely jealous of. (wish I thought of it first)

Odyssey through the Alphabet is a football adventure from A to Z. A journey to visit a different football club and a new ground in order of the alphabet, all achieved in a season long quest.
As someone who understands how difficult it is to get the public interested in your publication, having released “a cult classic” rather than a best seller this year, I’m only too pleased to give my fellow author a plug, so please show your support by checking out this Amazon link with details on how to purchase the book ... here

✔592 Damson Park

Solihull Moors 1-1 Gateshead
National League
Saturday 25th November 2017
Solihull is a town in the West Midlands, historically part of Warwickshire, found eight miles south-east of Birmingham.  (Population almost 210,000).
Solihull's name derives from the position of its parish church, St Alphege, on a 'soily' hill and its motto is Urbs in Rure (Town in Country). “Silhillians” live in one of the most affluent areas outside London, named as the best place to live in the UK in November 2013, by the uSwitch Quality of Life Index.
Solihull Moors FC was founded in 2007 by the merger of Moor Green and Solihull Borough. Moor Green F.C formed in 1901 and originated from the Hall Green area of south Birmingham, before moving to Solihull. Neighbours Solihull Borough date back to 1953, originally playing at Widney Lane in Solihull under the name Lincoln FC, before changing their name in 1969.

Following an arson attack at Moor Green's Moorlands Ground in 2005, the two clubs once again ground shared, having done so in 1989 when Solihull Borough were forced to sell Widney Lane due to financial problems.  In January 2007, the two clubs applied to the FA to merge, which was confirmed on the 30th March 2007. Solihull Moors were officially formed on the 1st June that year and took Moor Green's place in the Conference North. In 2015-16 the club won promotion as National League North champions and also lifted the Birmingham Senior Cup.
Damson Park
Automated Technology Group Stadium
Damson Parkway, Solihull, B91 2PP
Capacity 3,050 (770 seats)
Current National League grounds visited 22/24
The Main Stand has seats in front of the Social Club and changing room building, with an added shelf above which is used by club officials and sponsors. This side also has the team dugouts, clubshop and an additional section of open seating.
There is full width cover behind both goals, with the Damson Lane End split with half seats and terracing, while the DrainTech End has seven steps of terracing.
The far side of the ground is open, with clear views of the nearby Birmingham Airport Conning Towers behind it. At one side a small partially covered temporary seated stand has been added.
Solihull Moors(24th) v Gateshead(13th)
National League matchday 22
Weather:sunny and cold
Att.534 (107 away)
Gateshead had to settle for a point, following the dismissal of Russell Penn after two yellow card offences late in the first half.  Jordan Burrows had fired The Tynesiders ahead from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, after Darren Carter fouled JJ O’Donnell in the box, and they had chances to extend their lead before half time.
Solihull were on top in the second half and made the extra man advantage count, with Wes Atkinson heading in a Courtney Richards cross on 66 minutes.
The shared points means the Heed failed to make it three away wins on the bounce, while it's now six matches without a win for the Moors.
Matchday Stats
SMFC 1(Atkinson 66)
GFC 1(Burrow 13pen)
Top Bloke - Wes Atkinson (Solihull Moors)
Entertainment 6/10
Admission £15
Programme £3
Pin badge £3

Coffee £1.20
0735 Cross Country train to Birmingham New Street arr.1027
Return to Newcastle on the 1830 arr.2145
It’s been a long time since I was last in Birmingham, so before heading out to Solihull, I spent a few hours in the four pubs I needed to complete the Brum ‘Spoons. I then caught the 1240 train, but stopped off in Acocks Green for a pint first, before eventually arriving in Solihull at 1.35. The ground is a bit of a hike from the town centre, so after a drink in The White Swan I caught the x12 bus service at 2.15. Around our way if a bus is prefixed with an X, it means “express” and has less frequent stops, but this service went all around the doors, taking a good 20 minutes, but at least I got to see how nice Solihull is.
After the match I bumped into York based Keith Arthur (100FgC Squad#194) at the bus stop, so we had time for a catch up and a pint in the Post Office Vaults before we headed back north. A canny day out with the only fly in the ointment being a certain tribe of citizenry, who later boarded my train home gleeing with delight over a very rare win for their club.

✔591 Marsh Lane

Oxford City 3-2 Wealdstone
National South
Saturday 18th November 2017

This was my second visit to Oxford, the previous occasion came when I was doing The 92, when ticking off The U’s in September 2011. So for the full beef on the city and what I got up to on that day, you can read all about it here.

Oxford City formed in 1882 and played their first recorded match in December 1883. The club were the top team in Oxfordshire at the beginning of the twentieth century and had nationwide success, appearing in two FA Amateur Cup finals.
Isthmian League 1907-1988
South Midlands League 1990-1993 Premier Division champions 1992-93
Isthmian League 1993-2004 Division One winners 1995-96
Southern League West Division 2004-05
Spartan South Midlands League 2005-06 - league champions
Southern League 2006-2012
Conference North - 2012-15
National South 2015-present
FA Amateur Cup winners 1906 runners-up 1903, 1913
FA Vase runners-up 1995
Oxfordshire Senior Cup winners 33 times
Marsh Lane
Current National League South grounds 5/22
Capacity 3,218
Best attendance: 2,276 v Oxford United, 8th July 2017 – Pre-season friendly

Oxford City previously played at The White House, which was cruelly taking off them by the landlords - Brasenose College in 1988. After a nomad period they moved to Court Place Farm in Marston, with the Marsh Lane ground opening in 1993.

The Main Stand sits next to the changing rooms and club office's, having four rows of approximately 360 blue flip seats. There is covered terracing on the opposite side and behind the far goal, both of which are a similar size and style to the stand, with all three having the club name across the roof’s facade. Another 158 capacity seated stand was added in the north west corner in 2016, this too has four rows of blue seats, with the team dugouts also found on this side. At the entrance goal is a sizable clubhouse, with a refreshment bar which has the nice feature of the old entrance gates from the White House ground at the front. The ground has two pylons on each side and a 3G pitch which was laid last summer.

Oxford City (20th) v Wealdstone (10th)
National League South matchday 17 & 18
Weather: raining

City continued their FA Cup form and boosted relegation fears with a fine win over Wealdstone.  The Hoops took a fifth minute lead, when Cristian Oxlade-Chambelain raced down the right flank onto a defensive clearance, before poking the ball past the ‘keeper, who made his task much easier by bizarrely racing out of his goal.
They doubled the lead three minutes later, when a lovely interchange of passing was topped off by Zac McEachran, who fired in a left foot drive from the edge of the area.
The visitors finished the half strongly and halved the deficit when a low hard left wing cross was fired in by Abobaker Eisa from close range.

The second half was finely poised, with the match decided late on when Reece Fleet tucked in a left wing cross, however City still had to sweat it out, as Eisa immediately curled in a shot from the edge of the box, to set up a tense finish with The Hoops hanging on to claim the points.
Matchday Stats
OCFC 3 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 5 McEachran 8 Fleet 87)
WFC 2 (Eisa 35,88)
Top Bloke - Zac McEachran (Oxford City)
Entertainment 8/10

Admission £12
Programme £2.50
Pin badge £3
Coffee £1.20

The match at Marsh Lane coincided with a weekend break for me and the breadknife in Oxford. We left Newcastle on the 0735 Cross Country train, arriving at 11.45, just in time from a late breakfast at the Four Candles. After seeking out a few more pubs, we booked into our digs, before I toddled off to the match, while she took a look around this fine picturesque city.
We met back at the guest house after the game, to quickly get ready for a cracking night out, partaking in a mega pub crawl around ten of Oxford’s top hostelries.

✔590 York Road

Maidenhead United 0-3 Gateshead
National League
Saturday 11th November 2017
 Maidenhead is a large town in the county of Berkshire in England's Silicon Corridor, along the M4 motorway west of London. The area around the present town centre was a small Roman settlement called Alaunodunu, however its name derives from Saxon times, where the riverside’s first "New wharf" or "Maiden Hythe" was built.
(Population nearly 74,000)

The club was founded in 1870 as Maidenhead FC playing their first-ever fixture in December of that year, against Windsor Home Park at Bonds Meadow, close to the River Thames. On 16th February 1871 they played their first game on the York Road site against Marlow, which the The FA have acknowledged is the "oldest senior football ground continuously used by the same club”
The Magpies were one of the original 15 entrants for the first-ever FA Cup competition in 1871–72 and they reached the semi-finals the following season, losing to Oxford University.

Maidenhead were founder members of the Southern League in 1894, before dropping into and winning the West Berkshire League in 1902-03. They also played in the Berks & Bucks League and joined the Great Western Suburban League in 1904.

In 1918 the club merged with Maidenhead Norfolkians, winning the league title and changing their name to Maidenhead United.
Spartan League 1922-1940 champions 1926-27, 1931-32, 1933-34
Corinthian League (founder members) 1946-1963 champions 1957-58, 1960-61,1961-62
Athenian League 1963-1973
Isthmian League 1973-2004
Conference South 2004-2017 (apart from Southern Premier League in 2006-07)
National League South champions 2016-17
 York Road
(Current National League grounds 21/24)

Capacity 4,000 (550 seats)

Record Maidenhead attendance -  7,989 v Southall (Amateur Cup) 7th March 1936
Ground record attendance -  8,277  Slough Town v Wycombe Wanderers, Berks & Bucks Senior Cup Final, Easter Monday 1947

The Railway Stand opened in 2014, comprising of seven rows of black and white seats, with a capacity of 550. There is covered terracing being both goals. The Bell Street end is split into two separate sections, with the club name painted onto the back wall of the terrace. The East Terrace has a section of cover in the middle with the terracing continuing around to meet the stand. The entrance side of the ground, has the changing rooms, dugouts, terracing and the Stripes supporters bar, with a 3G training pitch encased in what looks like the foundations of an old stand.

Lest We forget

Maidenhead United(11th) v Gateshead(18th)
National League Matchday 19

Weather:dry, sunny
Att.1,377 (117 away)
In the battle of the National League’s two heads, it was the Heed who nutted the three points,producing a compelling away performance.
Gateshead were quickly out off the traps, going two up in the first eight minutes through a decisive right foot finish by Luke Hannant, quickly followed by a Scott Barrow shot which rattled the crossbar, but fell nicely to Danny Johnson to side foot home.
The Tynesiders went close to increasing their lead through Barrow and Johnson, but it wasn’t until after the break they added a third. It was O’Donnell who again provided the assist to Hannant with a similar goal to his first, firing across the keeper into the left hand post.
Full marks to the Magpies, who had most of the possession and kept plugging away in search of a reply, but the Gateshead defence was solid and looked more likely to add a fourth than concede one.
In the 146 year history of York Road, Gateshead are the most northerly club to ever play at the ground, so it’s fitting that the long journey for the Heed Army was rewarded with a fabulous display.

Matchday Stats
GFC 3(Hannant 5,50 Johnson 8)
Top Bloke - Luke Hannant (Gateshead)
Entertainment 8/10

Admission £15
Programme £3
Pin badge £4
Coffee £1.50

0650 from Newcastle to King's Cross, arriving at 1045.
Returning on the 2000, back at 0005. (extra hour on each journey due to engineering works at Grantham)

After arriving in that London, it was a quick tube via the Hammersmith & City line to catch the westbound train from Paddington. On route to Maidenhead I stopped off in Slough for something to eat. Unfortunately Chasers* was closed so I settled for lunch at the Moon & Spoon instead.
I arrived in Maidenhead at 1.15, with plenty of time for a pub crawl, calling into The Bell and The Maiden Head before meeting Simon, Tony plus a few more of the Heed supporters in The Bear. We still had time to nip in The Corner House before the match, so we were fully tanked up by kick off time.

Happy Birthday Mr Carter
The match was a joy, and the support and vocal backing from the Heed Army was the best I've experienced for a long time.
Afterwards we called into the Conservative Club which is just outside the ground. As proud Socialists, myself and Simon wouldn't normally frequent such a place, but as the hostelry is in the Good Beer Guide, I was only there for the ale!
I stopped off in Ealing on the way back to Paddington to complete a 'Spoons hat-trick at the Sir Michael Balcon, and arrived back at Kings Cross in plenty of time.(unlike
my last visit to these parts) After a bit of a break from this 'hopping malarkey, it was good to be back in the groove, with a cracking day "darn sarf!"

* Hope you got The Office reference.
Maidenhead pubs on The Completist