There was a point where I thought The CNG Stadium (formerly Wetherby Road) was going to prove elusive, but thankfully I managed to sneak a quick visit in on an unrelated trip to the beautiful Yorkshire spa town.
I’d driven past the home of Harrogate Town FC a week earlier on my way to play the beautiful Harrogate Theatre, however due to running horrendously late I thought it’d be taking the mick to arrive after the gig had started with nothing but apologies and photographs of my latest trophy. Sometimes less is more.
It was with some relief then that I ended up at their neighbours’ Harrogate Railway just seven days later and was able to make the detour. We got there with the ground padlocked, but with a club official unlocking it to leave. Cheekily I decided to ask if I could pop in a minute to take a couple of photos.
I was informed what a pain and inconvenience this would be, but given permission to run into one corner of the ground, take ten seconds worth of photos then get the hell out. I duly did.
There’s not a lot can be said about The CNG. Town themselves have had a lot of money invested in them and the ground is very new and smart but slightly devoid of character. We’ll cover their neighbours in a future edition but it’s safe to say their sloping pitch and run down stands warm the heart more than a billiard table with freshly painted off-the-shelf stands.
There is the slight saving grace of a covered terrace which I’m praying is more popular than the seated stand opposite, although that touch line having two separate stands is a redeeming feature. Still, the brand spanking new paint around the sponsor-clad terrace made it look suspiciously corporate for my liking.
Even more annoyingly, as we got in the car to drive home, was the other end of the stadium. Having been chastised and told off and had fingers wagged for wanting to run in, the opposite end of the ground was still open for fans drinking in the clubhouse, meaning we could just walk in that end and get any extra photos that we needed anyway!
A nice ground, very smart for this level, but one weird club official left me a little cold towards it.