My Matchday - 156 Turnbull Ground

Whitby Town 2v1 Gateshead
Unibond Premier League
1st January 2008
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A new year with a new ground, Whitby Towns Turnbull Ground is a ground that has eluded me so far, games between the two sides are usually an unavailable midweek fixture for me, but I managed to get myself out of bed on New Years Day, a fine achievement in itself, but when there’s an opportunity of a new ground and one that Gateshead are playing on then I wasn’t going to miss out.
Whitby is a historic town in North Yorkshire on the north-east coast, a favored tourist destination and fishing port on the mouth of the River Esk, football in the town goes back to the early 1890’s when the original club played in the Cleveland Amateur League and then the Northern League, before travelling costs forced the club to resign from competitive matches and revert to playing friendlies.
By 1926 the town had two clubs, both playing in the Scarborough & District League, Whitby Whitehill Swifts and Whitby Town decided to join forces and became ‘United’ thus gaining membership into the Northern League, where they resided over the next sixty plus years. In 1946 the clubs name changed to Whitby Town, they reached Wembley for the first time in the 1965 FA Amateur Cup Final, losing 3-1 to Hendon, but the biggest feat in ‘The Seasiders’ history came in 1997, winning 3-0 against North Ferriby in the FA Vase Final after clinching their second Northern League championship in the same season, this time the step up to the Unibond League was granted after being denied promotion four years earlier after winning their first title.
A successful start to life in the Unibond, winning the First Division at the first attempt in 1997-98, the club are now established in the Unibond Premier with the club continuing to progress with the opening of an award winning main stand in 2006. This season the team have had a poor first half to the season, culminating in the resignation of manager Lee Nogan in October, with Phil Brumwell and Graham Clarke stepping in to steady the ship until a decision on a new gaffer is made in the New Year.
The Turnbull Ground has a capacity of 3200, the main vocal point is the aforementioned new stand, named The Mileson Stand, winner of
Groundtastic magazines ‘Best New Non-League Stand’ in 2006, his has a seating capacity of 505 blue flip seats with the abbreviation WTFC picked out in white, at a cost of £370,000 it’s money well spent, as the spectators view is first class. The stand is made more attractive with floodlights perched on top of the cantilever roof, there is also a club shop and the toilets accommodated underneath, the changing rooms are in a separate building as well as refreshment bar and hospitality all on the near side of the stadium.
The far side has a covered terrace with three rows of seats at the front sitting in between the two dugouts, behind each goal there’s open hard standing and the ground has the chunky style floodlight pylons which makes the ground easy to spot from the seafront.
An 11am departure from a rain swept Gateshead with a 12.45 arrival at a ‘spitting’ Whitby, gave plenty of time to blow of the cobwebs and take an opportunity to get some traditional Whitby fare of fish and chips, which acted as good blotting paper to absorb the previous night/mornings booze. Having not been to Whitby for a number of years, I took the chance to have a look around and was amazed that the town was so busy with shops and restaurants open as if it was a normal week day. I made my way to the grounds clubhouse at around 2’o clock and had a few pints of Yorkshires finest; Tetley Bitter before kick off.
The pitch as you would expect was a bit of a mud bath, but full credit to both sides for providing an entertaining game, an even first half saw a Thompson header for the hosts hitting the crossbar and The Tynesiders taking the lead by the break courtesy of a Phil Cave penalty on the half hour. The second half saw The Seasiders cope better with the heavy conditions, choosing to pick out the long ball instead of trying to play short passes like their visitors; it was this tactic that produced the equaliser, scored by Andrew Thompson, running in between the Heed defence before rounding the keeper and finishing well. David Southern had a great chance to restore Gateshead’s lead after beating the offside trap but saw his shot go agonisingly wide before a winning goal from Danny Brunskill, who kept up his good record of scoring against the Heed with a well hit left foot shot from a wide angle, eluding keeper Keen and finding the corner of the net on 75 minutes, to give Whitby the much needed 3 points but disappointing for Gateshead in their pursuit of the promotion play-offs.
If you haven’t already visited the Turnbull Ground, Whitby is a ‘must do’ not just for the fact that the ground is a good venue, but the town itself is a great place to visit, however I’d recommend you try in August or April and make a full day of it, oh and don’t forget the fish and chips…top quality!

The coach trip to Whitby was completely free, thanks to Gateshead Chairman Graham Wood and the club who laid on the transport as a “thank you” for the teams fine support from the Heed Army so far this season, I’d personally like to thank Mr Wood for showing his appreciation to the supporters, a fine gesture and hopefully your own support and faith will be rewarded on the field at the end of the season.
LINKS-
Whitby match report

Ground no.156 Turnbull Ground – Matchday Web Album(19 pictures)

1 comment:

MK James said...

Happy New Year Shaun, great pictures as always. Hoping for a better year all round for the magpies no doubt.