A Saturday night in Bath followed by an early start in Manchester the following morning left me with something of a dilemma, football wise – Bath City or Bristol Rovers?
If it had been any other Sunday, I’d have done both plus dropped by Ashton Gate for a bit of Bristol City. As it was, I had the mrs in tow, and needed to be in Manchester early on so I really had to narrow it down. After giving it way too much thought than was necessary, I decided that the name of the game is really visiting the stadia of the place I’m in, and so I settled on Tiverton Park. And I’m sort of glad I did.
It’s a grand old ground, one that almost looks too big for the level of football it hosts (Conference South), but it seems proper. There’s old terracing to give it the feel of a proper ground, a big massive grandstand and good old fashioned turnstiles. Also, you have to walk up steps to get in.
That might not seem like a massive deal, but my earliest memories of watching football as a child involved walking up steps, reaching the top and then seeing a lush sea of green below. I don’t know what it is about that elevated position that makes the grass greener or the view any more exhilarating, but it’s something missing on a lot of ground level football stadiums.
With time being of the essence, there was little time for anything other than a mooch around the main stand, although it appears that there’s only really one side of the stadium you can get in through. I could be wrong – one thing is for certain though, and that’s Bath’s insistence on being pleasant and welcoming to officials with various signs discouraging disrespect or foul language. It’s a really lovely touch that wins them massive points from me.
One let down was the bloke who wandered out of the main entrance and stood there with a cigarette, glaring at me as I took my photos. Maybe he’d have been alright if I’d approached, maybe he was waiting for me to make the first move, but he had an air of hostility about him that made me glad to get back in the car.
Aside from him, this is a beauty of a non-league ground.