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
Yesterday I went across to Hillheads to watch Dunston play Whitley Bay in the FA Vase. The match was switched to a 3.30pm kick off to allow everyone to see Newcastle United's historical(41 years of hurt) win at Old Trafford which was live on Sky Sports. The later start time alerted me to a potential double with a match kicking off two hours earlier just around the corner in Cullercoats.
I've added my report and pictures of Links Avenue to my latest Around the Alliance blog post which you can read HERE.
I've added my report and pictures of Links Avenue to my latest Around the Alliance blog post which you can read HERE.
Linlithgow Rose 1v2 Shotts Bon Accord
Scottish Junior Cup 3rd Round
Saturday 30th November 2013
You know what grinds my gears and really boils my urine? Its people posting links on social media sites about severe weather warnings of snow over the forthcoming winter months. Snow in winter - imagine that!..whatever next? Gifts at christmas….Valentines cards in February...daffodils in spring? Anyways the reason for this wee rant is before we head into hibernation and the south of England comes to a grinding halt, I just needed the apocalyptic snowfall to hold off until December so I could have one last trip to Scotland in 2013.
Over the last few years, this weekend in the calendar has been a regular trip north of the border, so before my mid-season train travel break, I was again off to Edinburgh before heading 20 miles west to the Royal Burgh of Linlithgow in West Lothian.
The town is famous for its loch and Linlithgow Palace, the home of the Stuart kings. After a disastrous fire in 1424 destroyed most of the town, the present palace was build by James I of Scotland and became the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots. In January 1746 troops of the duke of Cumberland's army marched out of the palace leaving fires burning which soon caught hold of the building and burnt it out, and ever since the palace has remained unroofed and uninhabited.
Another tourist attraction next to the Palace is St. Michael's Church, one of the largest burgh churches in Scotland The 15th century building is named after Linlithgow’s patron saint; the town motto is "St Michael is kind to strangers".
Linlithgow Rose formed in 1889 and are one of the most successful junior clubs in the East Region of Scotland. The club have won the prestigious Scottish Junior Cup four times in 1965, 2002, 2007 and 2010 and also finished runners-up in 1974, 2003 and against last season, losing the final 1-0 to Auchinleck Talbot at Livingston.
Linlithgow’s originally played at Captains Park, winning their first trophy in the Forth League in 1902, followed by more honours in the County Cup and St Michaels Cup while playing at this ground.
Just before the First World War they moved to Upper Mains Park, winning the Lumley Cup in 1914. The reformation of the Junior set up in 1924-25 placed Rose in the West Lothian Junior League and the club comfortably won the championship in their debut season.
Another move a few hundred yards down the road to Lower Main Park in 1930, coincided with the clubs leanest spell with no honours won throughout that decade. After the Second World War the club looked for a new ground, eventually purchasing land adjacent to the Glue Works in 1947 which they named Preston Park. The ground was renamed Prestonfield two years later and it’s been their home ever since with the ground’s record attendance of 3,626, recorded for a game against Petershill in the late '60s.
Rose were Edinburgh League winners in four consecutive years from 1965 and were dominant in the East Region League, lifting their first of nine Division One championships in 1974-75.
Linlithgow Rose are the current East Super League champions, winning the title for a third time following success in 2004 and 2007. They are also the holders of the Fife & Lothians Cup which was won for the fifteenth time. Their excessive trophy haul also includes 14 East of Scotland Cup’s, 10 East League Cup wins, a dozen successes in the St Michael’s Cup and lifting the Brown Cup on eight occasions.
Prestonfield is probably the best Scottish Junior ground I’ve visited so far.The ground is dominated by the eye catching Davy Roy Stand, which sits proudly on the half way line. The stand has elevated seating with staircase access at the sides, with standing room, dugouts, club offices and changing facilities underneath. There’s a seating capacity of 301 made up of maroon and white flip seats under a cantilever roof.
There are two turnstile entrances, one in the car park next to the Linlithgow Rose Social Club and the other at the top end of the ground.In between the two entrances are ten steps of terracing which runs full length with a covered centre paddock. The refreshment bar is at the back of the terrace and serves a great selection of savouries, including the delightful curry pie which is now a serious contender for this years ‘Scabby-eye of the Year’ award. There’s grass banking at the top goal and behind the nearside goal is five steps of terracing which continues around towards the main stand.The current maximum capacity is 3,500.
The 3rd round of the Scottish Junior Cup paired the Rosey Posey with the 2012 winners Shotts Bonn Accord. The hosts went into the game as favourites to progress but it was The Bonny who won for the first time at Prestonfield since 1962. There was a good crowd for the game including a decent away support and amongst the home fans was one man who has to be the loudest bloke in my 40 years of attending football matches.This Rose supporter constantly shouted instructions throughout the game, every kick, every tackle, every decision, he made Neil Warnock sound like a shy little schoolboy. He even got a mentioned by one of the Rose players in the new club magazine ‘The Gallant’ and it comes as no surprise that he is nicknamed “Coach”
Shotts were the better side in a tight first half and should have took an early lead when a Chris Walker header struck the crossbar.However they gained the advantage five minutes before half time, when McKenna robbed the defender and found Andy Cross who was left unmarked and finished well with just the goalkeeper to beat.
Rose worked hard to draw level but the Shotts defence held firm and added to their lead just minutes after a Smith effort hit the crossbar which denied Rose an equaliser. A long ball found McKenna who stayed onside, before finding McStay who played the ball out to Cross who fired in his second goal with a left foot shot.
With time running out substitute Gordon Herd halved the deficit, firing home after a goalmouth scramble but the chance of a replay was never likely as Shotts seen out the final ten minutes and deservedly booked their place in the fourth round of the Junior Cup.
I arrived in Linlithgow just before noon after catching the first available connection from Edinburgh. As I was still feeling slightly rough from being on the lash the previous night, I took a stroll down the High Street, along the loch and up to the palace. Once the cobwebs had blown off I still had enough time for a couple of pints before the 1.45pm kick off, calling at the GBG listed Platform 3 and The Four Marys. I really enjoyed my afternoon in Linlithgow. It’s a smashing little town, steeped in history with some cracking pubs, plus of course it has a traditional football club with a ground to be proud of. After the game I had a couple of hours to kill in Edinburgh before catching the 1830 back to Newcastle, so I thumbed through some records in Vinyl Villains and watched the first half of the Toon match in the pub.
This is my last train trip of the year and I was pleased to get to tick off Linlithgow Rose before the savage winter arrives. According to the media scaremongers we’ll all be suffering cabin fever and having to make the daytime dilemma between eating or heating, but if I’m honest I couldn’t care less, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, just as long as it f**ks off in time for my next matchday train journey on the 8th February.
LRFC 1(Herd 80) SBAFC 2(Cross 39,65)
Programme:none - but first issue of new monthly club magazine 'The Gallant' produced £2(pic to follow)
Ground no.376 Prestonfield - Matchday web album (30 pictures)
Curzon Ashton 3v1 Kendal Town
Evo-Stick First Division North
Saturday 23rd November 2013It’s been a few years since I’ve had a day out in Manchester, so I booked train tickets a few months ago, but without any idea what my football destination was. That decision was made just last weekend, when I decided that after a few pub and record store visits in Manc I would head across to Ashton-Under-Lyne and visit the Tameside Stadium, the home of Curzon Ashton.
Ashton-under-Lyne is a market town in the Metropolitan Borough of Tameside in Greater Manchester. The town lies on the north bank of the River Tame at the foothills of the Pennines, situated just over six miles from Manchester city centre.
Ashton was once considered "bare, wet, and almost worthless” until the introduction of the cotton trade in the 18th century. The town grew in prominence during the Industrial Revolution and by the mid-19th century became an important mill town at a convergence of newly constructed canals and railways, plus the transport network allowed for an economic boom, which led to the granting of honorific borough status in 1847. Ashton’s heavy industries declined during the mid-20th century but the town has continued to thrive as a centre of commerce, and is "considered the hub of Tameside”
Curzon Ashton was formed in 1963 after the merger of Curzon Road F.C. and Ashton Amateurs F.C. originally known in their early years as Curzon Amateurs. The club are nicknamed The Nash in reference to their former home National Park.
Curzon originally played in the Manchester League before becoming founder members of the Cheshire League Division Two in 1978. They won promotion in their debut season and the following year they navigated through six rounds of the FA Vase before losing out in the semi-finals to Stamford. They lost both legs 2–0 with the home tie played in front of a record home attendance of 1826 at National Park.
Curzon became founder members of both the North West Counties League First Division in 1983-84 and the First Division of the Northern Premier League when the Non-League pyramid was reshuffled in 1988. The club returned to the NWCL in 1998 after playing a single season in the North Counties East League, winning promotion from Division Two in 1999-2000.
Their debut season at the Tameside Stadium was a memorable one, amassing 99 points in the 2006-07 title race, finishing runners-up to FC United of Manchester and promotion to the Northern Premier League First Division North. They also reached the semi-finals of the FA Vase, but again missed out on a trip to Wembley, this time they were denied by Truro City, winning the first leg at home 1-0 but lost out 3-2 on aggregate.
Since winning promotion The Nash have consistently finished in the top five, but on each occasion have failed to win further promotion via the play-offs.In the 2008–09 season they reached the first round proper of the FA Cup for the first time where they defeated League Two side Exeter City 3–2, before losing 2–0 away to Conference National side Kidderminster Harriers in round two.
Curzon Ashton moved to the Tameside Stadium for the start of season 2005/06, the ground formally opened by Sir Alex Ferguson before a game against a Manchester United XI on the 8th September.
On the approach to the stadium there’s a statue commemorating three local football legends – Denton born Jimmy Armfield with World Cup winner Geoff Hurst and 2006 Italian World Cup star Simone Perottta, who were both born in Ashton.
The main stand holds 527 blue seats with TMBC picked out in white lettering (that’s the coonsill..Eddy) with the changing rooms and clubhouse underneath. The club shop is housed in a storage container near the turnstiles, which stocks a good range of programmes and souvenirs. On the opposite side is a large covered terrace which shelters 1100 and the rest of the ground is made up of built up terracing, behind the goals and at the wings of each stand. Overall a smart looking stadium, which has a current capacity of 4,000.
Second placed Curzon Ashton were up against Kendal Town for the first time in a league fixture since 1997, when they were still called Netherfield.
Although I was attending the game as a neutral I always favour a team wearing black and white shirts, plus I lived in a street with the word Kendal in its name on and off for 30 years, so today I favoured the Cumbrians.
The visitors made a positive start and took the lead on 27 minutes when Rob Wilson fired in at the far post. The game turned on its head early in the second half when Danny McGahon was harshly shown a second yellow card and the hosts took advantage of the extra man with a three goal burst in a four minute spell from the 70th minute.
Matty Warburton got on the end of a right wing cross to slide in and score followed by a neat turn and shot from Ryan Brooke to fire Curzon ahead. From the restart Ryan Watson was on hand to make it 3-1 and the points were bagged. Kendal were awarded a penalty deep into injury time when Zak Brown was fouled by Ashton ‘keeper Anthony Thompson. From the resulting spot-kick he got down well to save Wilson’s effort to round off a fine victory for The Nash.
This matchday had all the ingredients of a good and somewhat typical day out, that my dozen or so regular readers will be familiar with. I arrived in Manchester at 1050am and after some record store shopping, I went for a few bevvys. I arranged to meet up with 100FgC Squad #187 Alan Oliver (aka The Casual Hopper) for the first time and although he’s now on the wagon he was good enough to take me around the city’s ‘Spoons pubs, of which I was confused by which ones I had previously ticked off. Alan was also good enough to pay for a taxi to Ashton where on arrival we alighted at The Ash Tree JDW boozer for a quick drink before heading to the match.
Alan is currently doing the FA Cup through all 14 rounds which started at the extra-preliminary stage at West Didsbury & Chorlton in August all the way to Wembley in May, all in aid of The Christie Charity, which raises funds to help provide additional services and undertake vital research for cancer patients.
If you would like to show your support and sponsor Alan in his FA Cup quest then please visit his blog http://thecasualhopper.co.uk/ where you can make a donation to a great cause.
After the match I thanked Alan for a cracking day and heading to the train station, where there were no trains running just a bus replacement service. My plan was to just head to Stalybridge for a few pints and catch my train to York from there, instead of returning to Manchester. The man in the hi-vis jacket showed me what bus to get for the 10 minute journey but fifteen minutes later I still hadn’t reached my required destination, then when I saw the splendour of the Ethiad Stadium I knew a f**kin' blunder had occurred. Worse was to come when the bus by-passed Piccadilly and in heavy traffic with time running out, headed towards Victoria Station. I asked the driver to let me off the bus, but he stubbornly refused and told me to get the Metro back to Piccadilly. To cut a long story short I missed the Metro by seconds and ran up to Piccadilly making the 1811 train to Scarborough with 3 minutes to spare.
Funnily enough me and Alan were discussing running around chasing trains earlier, this is something I’m used to but when you’re in an unfamiliar city and have a belly full of beer its bloody hard work! So an enjoyable, action packed day and I look forward to returning the city that has so much to answer for and meeting up with Squad #187 - The Casual Hopper sometime in the not too distant future.
CAFC 3(Warburton 70 Brooke 72 Watson 73) KTFC 1(Wilson 27)
Programme £1.60(pic to follow)
Ground no.375 Tameside Stadium - Matchday Web album(19 pictures)
Consett 1v2 Newcastle United XI
Official Opening of Belle View Stadium
Friday 22nd November 2013
The development has saw the demolition of the club’s former ground, as well as replacing Belle Vue Sports Centre and Consett Baths with a £3m community based sports complex. I’ve featured Consett a couple of times on the blog but haven’t gave the club the full Google caboodle, so here you are..
Consett is a town in the northwest of County Durham, about 14 miles southwest of Newcastle upon Tyne, which sits high on the edge of the Pennines.The town is perched on the steep eastern bank of the River Derwent with the town centre being around 885 feet above sea level, therefore making it one of the highest towns in the country. Although I live 14 miles away from the town, my own home is 500 feet above sea level in Sheriff Hill, which is the highest point in the Gateshead borough, so I can clearly see Consett and in particular the nearby Pontop Pike transmitter from my bedroom window.
Consett was a basic village in 1841 with 145 residents before becoming a boom town, as it sits on top of coking coal and blackband iron ore, and along with nearby limestone, had the three essential ingredients needed for blast furnaces to produce iron and steel. The Derwent Valley was the cradle of the British steel industry helped by the easy availability of coal from Tyneside and the import of high quality iron ore from Sweden via the port of the Tyne. However, following the invention of the Bessemer process in the 19th century, steel could be made from British iron ore, so the Derwent Valley's geographical advantage was lost to South Yorkshire as Sheffield became the leading centre of the British steel industry.
The closure of the steel works in 1980 marked the end of the Derwent Valley steel heritage, and along with the closure of coal mines, it was also a first step in the decline of all heavy industry in the area, reaching an unemployment peak of 36% in in 1981.
Consett AFC was formed in 1899 as Consett Celtic and played local football until joining the Northern Alliance in 1919. The club switched to the North Eastern League in 1926 winning promotion from the Second Division in their debut season before going on to win the top division in 1939-40. When the league was disbanded in 1958 they moved onto the Midland League, then became founder members of the Northern Counties League in 1960, winning the title in 1962. In that same year they returned to the reformed North Eastern League which again ceased after only two years. The Steelmen joined the Wearside League, twice finishing runners-up and winning a couple of pots before joining the Northern League in 1970.
The club have finished league runners-up in 1976-77 and 2007-08 and have won the Second Division on two occasions in 1988-89 and 2005-06. They’ve also lifted the Northern League Cup in 1995 as well as winning the Durham Challenge Cup six times.
Like minded football ground enthusiasts will be disappointed with this new venue, for starters I thought that the powers that be would come up with a more original name than Belle Vue Stadium, but the club felt it was only too right to honour the old ground.
There are two seated stands, one to the right hand side of the dugouts at the entrance end and the other sitting on the halfway line at the far side. Both are the regularly seen meccanno type stands, filled with red flip seats. The changing rooms/clubhouse block are to the left of the dugouts and the rest of the ground is open. The best and most important feature is the 3G pitch, as Consett is notorious for being the first place in the north-east for snowfall and freezing temperatures, so there shouldn’t be any problems getting a match on now, just as long as they’ve got some big shovels!
In preparation for the game I called up to Consett earlier in the week to take some daylight photographs and on match night I set off early in anticipation of a big crowd. Upon my arrival at 7.20pm there was already a healthy queue and by the time I reached the turnstile fifteen minutes later, it had snaked out of the car park towards Delves Lane. Club Chairman Frank Bell appeared outside from the warmth of the clubhouse and reassured everyone that the match wouldn’t start until everyone was inside, so Consett born referee Mark Clattenburg eventually got proceedings underway at ten past eight.
In true Consett fashion the shiny new pitch already had a frost coating and there was the distinct Derwent Valley chill in the air. Prior to kick off the stadium was officially opened by the Vice-Chairman of Durham County Council John Robinson and Peter Beardsley, the Toon legend put on his boots and wore the number 10 shirt as a guest player for the evening.
I would have loved to see Peter score the very first goal at the Belle Vue Stadium, however that honour went to another Geordie as Adam Campbell fired United ahead on the half hour mark.
Newcastle made several substitutions at the break including two old warhorses from the Everton team of the ‘80s, now on the NUFC staff – Kevin Richardson and Dave Watson, the big centre half breezed through the game and hardly broke sweat.
On 56 minutes Consett equalised when substitute Luke Sullivan knocked in a right wing cross, but United snatched it late on when County Durham-born defender Jamie Cobain header home a near post header from a corner kick.
A fantastic evening and great reward for everyone connected with Consett AFC who have worked so hard in making this happen. The Belle View Stadium might not win any architectural awards but this won’t bother anyone at the club, as the whole point of the move is to benefit the community and built on a successful youth set up. The club run a large junior section covering all ages and have just announced a link with the Newcastle United Football Foundation, so things are looking bright and certainly heading in the right direction for The Steelmen.
CAFC 1(Sullivan 56) NUFC(Campbell 30 Cobain 86)
Att.TBC (approx 1,500)
Programme £2(pic to follow)
Previous Consett AFC posts
My first visit to Belle Vue
My last visit to Belle Vue
Consett by The Riverside
Ground no.374 Belle View Stadium - Matchday Web album(28 pictures)
373.The Bede Centre
Gateshead U-19s 9v0 Crewe Alexandra U-19s
Football Conference Youth Alliance - North Division
Wednesday 20th November 2013I don't usually do Academy grounds.Its not the fact I don't count them(everyone else does) its just I never get the chance to attend matches at youth level apart from in the FA Youth Cup.
I took advantage of some time off work to see the Heed young'uns in action for the second time this week, following on from their disappointing exit from the Youth Cup against a very good Luton Town side on Monday night.
Home matches are usually played on the Gateshead Academy 3G pitches behind the International Stadium, however some matches this season have been played at the Bede Centre, which is situated on the other side of the Felling-by-pass. The pitch is enclosed running parallel with the Northern Rail and Metro lines which run past here, between Newcastle and the coast.
Gateshead took out their cup exit frustration on Crewe Alexandra, going into a seven goal lead by half time and adding another couple after the break, so I just had enough fingers and thumbs left to tally up a final score of 9-0.
As there's no more FA Youth Cup ties this season I'll hopefully get more opportunities to see the bairns in action in the Conference Youth Alliance again this season.
GFC 9 CAFC 0
(scorers to be confirmed)
Goal times 5 21,26,37,40 36 45 46 59