Ainslie Park (Spartans FC)

Lee leaving the journey meant taking stock a little bit. We’d been in touch with loads of clubs who’d agreed to open up their grounds to us and chat, but I didn’t really fancy facing them alone.

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As I headed into Edinburgh city centre on the way to the train station I had to decide whether to continue or pack in and call it a day. Lee wouldn’t even let us stop as we passed Meadowbank stadium, home of Edinburgh City. I knew there and then I wasn’t finished though and so made my way to Ainslie Park.

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Several people from The Spartans FC, a wonderful footballing name, had agreed to meet us but embarrassed to turn up alone I just went along, got my photos and headed home. Ignorant, but less humiliating,

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So whilst I can’t add Spartans to the list of wonderfully hospitable Scottish hosts, I’ve no doubt at all that they would have been excellent company and you’d have gotten to see even more of the ground than these photographs allow.

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That’s probably a slight exaggeration, but as it’s open as a community facility during the week turning up and walking around is a doddle. There are turnstiles there so that it can be closed off on a match day but on a Monday afternoon there were no such worries.

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And that is probably Spartans’ main downfall in terms of where it ranks as a stadium. It’s basically an artificial pitch with a big modern stand on the touchline. An impressive stand all the same, but it’s hard to think of it as a ground rather than simply a sports facility.

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Fortunately this blog tends to focus as much on what it’s like as a visitor driving past and so whilst it might not bring back misty-eye memories in the way that some of the older grounds do, it scores pretty much perfectly on being able to turn up and see everything there is to see.

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So as much as I’m no fan of 3G pitches at football grounds, and there’s not loads to occupy your eyes at Spartans, there’s no doubting a drive-by is worthwhile if you’re in Edinburgh.

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For me, it was the end of day one on an eventful groundhunting day. I’ll probably post an English ground next week before resuming the Scottish odyssey with Rosyth FC in a fortnight.

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