When you take in 25 Scottish football grounds in a two day stadium marathon it’s hard not to get excited. Let’s be honest – could you control yourself if you visited the home of Ormiston?
Actually, you’d best wait until we take in the delights of Recreation Park before answering that one. Anyway, it’s safe to say that the home of junior side Haddington Athletic is a cracker.
It’s also worth pointing out that junior is essentially the Scottish name for their non-league system. It’s quaint and lovely and some of the grounds they play in are absolutely tremendous. Take Millfield Park, for example.
Treated as a conservation area, it’s surrounded by bushes and has a gorgeous wooden clubhouse decorated in a variety of colours. It’s an obscenely pretty place to watch football from.
There’s also a rockery within the ground and who doesn’t want a neatly-kept garden for when the football gets dull? Obviously loyal readers will be aware that Congleton FC had similar decoration, but it’s safe to say that Haddington edge it.
There’s also a lovely looking chimney visible, which also adds to the rural feel of this ground, with just one stand to complete things. It’s soft standing around the rest of the pitch but it’s a nice place to congregate.
Named after club legend Wullie Brunton, who literally saved them for going under, it’s a small but perfectly fine structure that gives this the feel of a football ground. It’s been adorned by vandals, some who’ve simply repeated Wullie’s name, which seems a bit pointless, but the rest is a tad more graphic.
It doesn’t matter though. There’s character and charm by the bucketload here. A real little gem in a rural corner, it scores highly in my book.
The second instalment of our mediocre Scottish marathon involved New Countess Park, home of another Scottish junior side, Dunbar United.
The ground is relatively new, having opened in 2001. In fact, only a railway line separates them from the school that has appeared in place of their former home. And yes, obviously there’s bonus points for being so close to a railway line.
Bonus points also go out to the ground that is the closest to a long jump pit in the United Kingdom. There appear to be no other athletic facilities nearby so it makes a welcome if not unusual addition. And yes I’m aware it might actually be a triple jump pit.
In terms of what there is to see, the answer is both little and lots. There is a fence that you can peak over, but there’s not an awful lot to look at inside. There are two towers, one that contains the club’s PA announcer and another that houses a turnstile.
Perhaps the main attraction is the stand covering one side of the ground, by which I mean plastic covering. It’s such a half-arsed yet charming structure that, coupled with a park bench in front of it for those wishing to sit down, it’s impossible not to like.
The set up at Dunbar is terrific though – the pitch appeared in perfect condition and the ground also houses community facilities as well. It’s a shame there’s not much to really see, but it was a welcome addition to our trek.
The home of Eyemouth United begins a new little occasional mini series after a ridiculous adventure between myself and fellow idiot Lee Kyle.
This blog started life as away of documenting my travels after I’d decided to visit a football ground when I arrived at the town or city I was playing in. That soon changed into that being the main focus of the day, occasionally fitting in other stadiums along the way or driving via Penrith in the middle of the night to sneak another one in.
It culminated in me and Lee booking two nights at The Stand comedy club up in Scotland and deciding to visit as many grounds as we possibly could in the two days. We got through way too many (25) to run this every week for half a year, but I’ll intersperse the regular posts with updates from the grounds we visited, starting with Eyemouth.
Setting the story up has essentially excused me from writing too much about Warner Park, largely as there’s nothing to see. The views around it are spectacular, but save for two marvellous looking dugouts there’s not much else other than a clubhouse and the goals lying in the car park. Oh and a slightly weird amount of advertising hoardings for how small and unspectacular it is.
The ground is easily accessible for passing tourists to look at, the main problem is there not being much to occupy you once you arrive. The only interesting fact I can offer is that the venue used to be called Gunsgreen Park, but I’ve no idea why it was changed and have no real inclination to find out. Still, it was ground number one checked off our list, and the journey had started.
Leeds United are a club that attracted both love and hate in equal measures for their playing style and I suspect Elland Road will be the same.
It seems to have a mix of everything that makes a football ground wonderful, although there’s an argument that they have too much thrown in the pot. The stadium equivalent of too many cooks.
There’s statues of Don Revie and also a Billy Bremner complete with ginger hair. There’s an entrance named after cult hero Lucas Radebe and steps to enter one part of the ground. A massive main stand that dominates the skyline and a couple of horrendously old looking ones with corrugated roofs, as well as corners made solely out of concrete. And of course one side that doesn’t look anything like a football ground.
For me though I’d struggle to give it anything other than top marks. As I was wandering around it with fellow comedian John Scott we spotted an open door and so snuck in for a very quick look.
As you all know, a look inside always scores highly and so a chance to stand and take in Elland Road from that angle makes it a memorable visit. There’s plenty to say that it’s worth a trip just to see the outside, but I enjoyed mine without a doubt.