Fir Park (Motherwell)

I’ll keep this brief because, let’s be honest, it’s Boxing Day. You must have better things to do than look at photographs a man has taken in the dark of Motherwell’s ground.
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On second thoughts, maybe not. But I certainly bloody do. I visited Fir Park late at night with Lee Kyle and it’s easy to both love and hate. It’s easy to find and there are a few quirks about it. But it’s also hard to navigate and poorly lit at night.
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You can only really access two sides of the stadium at a time. The third is done by trespassing into a nearby school that has the Alan Partridge-esque warning that there are blind children about (“deaf kids – so does that mean there will or won’t be noise?”) So bonus scores for randomly reminding us of that.
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Other points are awarded for it looking like a proper football ground. Old school turnstiles, loads of brickwork plus massive amounts of steel also on show. Plus daft signs.
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The downsides are only really thateing all sides of the ground will be a slog that involves driving further than you should have to. That and how poorly lit it is means a night time visit is hard to really recommend.
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But in the spirit of Yuletide I’m going to suggest it’s worth a trip anyway and get back to eating chocolate out of a tin. Hope your Christmas is going well, and I’ll be back with some exciting news next week.
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Keepmoat Stadium (Doncaster Rovers)

Any regular readers of this blog will know that I’m not a fan of new grounds. They’re soulless identical monstrosities that lack the character that older stadiums have. So you may be quite surprised to learn that I quite enjoyed this one.
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Yes, the coloured cladding at each corner of the ground is a bit much, but at least it makes the thing stand out a bit more, without resorting to the same tired nonsense as most stadiums. No statues here, thank you very much. Granted, that may be a little grand for a club like Doncaster anyway, but it’s appreciated all the same.
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Truth be told, there’s plenty of those little things that win you bonus points which move it into the realms of being one of the more memorable stadiums as a tourist. First off, can you see inside of it? Absolutely. That’s number one checked off the list.
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Two. Are there any other stadiums nearby? Check. There’s a little mini stadium that adjoins. Although it doesn’t seem to have any official name other than still being the Keepmoat, it has a 500 seater stand, an athletics track and is also home to the club’s reserve and ladies sides. Champion.
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Truthfully, there’s not a lot extra that I could add. The mere fact that it replaced one of the better named grounds (Belle Vue) when it opened in 2007 should be enough to hate it. But I don’t. Two stadiums for the price of one here, and one of the better new ones to boot. That’ll do me for now. Happy Christmas.
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Pittodrie (Aberdeen)

Sometimes it’s wonderful to give the readers of this blog what they want. Other times, I take an almost sadistic pleasure in just flinging another Scottish ground at you. “Could you maybe do it in the dark, too”, I hear you sarcastically beg. Certainly.

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It is genuinely a bit of a shame that we did this one at night, as I suspect it’s a brilliant looking thing when you can see it. All we had were some signs and wonderful looking walls.

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The whole ground looks a bit old school from the outside and so it’s a real shame that what I present to you now is a little limited. One crumb of comfort is that we were able to see one of the great walls in football, second only to Oakley United.

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Isn’t it beautiful? If it’s not going to win in the “best wall” category then I think it’ll run away with “best turnstile”. It’s absolutely wonderful and worth the drive up to Aberdeen alone.

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In short, it’s that horrible dilemma with the darkness that it’s difficult to tell you much more. There’s enough to see from the outside, that’s for certain, but aside from the turnstile there’s not much visible at night that will win it any extra points. But it’s definitely worth a visit.

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Stokesley Sports Club (Stokesley)

This was a very brief late night visit and while I’m sure it’s charming during the day, there’s not a lot to see under the cover of darkness.
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I’ve attached a Google maps screen grab of the ground during the day so that you can see that it’s perfectly pleasant, however it’s also very similar to a lot of new grounds at this level.
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I feel like I’m being negative and I’m fairly certain I know why. The ground is based at the home of the North Riding Football Association and so my hatred of authority is almost undoubtedly rubbing off.
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Don’t get me wrong, it might be that it’s not the most loveable of grounds either, but I’m going to go easy on them and put it down to that. There’s two stands and plenty to see if you visit during the day, so if you’re in the area it’s worth dropping past.
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