Brinkburn Road (Darlington Railway Athletic)

This will be a quick one for several reasons. Firstly, I’m currently stood in my dad’s sweet shop in Lytham St Anne’s. I’ve got better stuff to do (such as eating) than provide you with free entertainment. Secondly, actually no, that’ll do. So here we go…
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Brinkburn Road is a canny little ground that I’ve inadvertently driven past every week for the last couple of months to record my weekly show on Star Radio. Do feel free to listen, Sundays between 9pm-10pm.
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Anyway, there’s only one stand but it looks a decent size and a nice structure. The rails around the pitch are all painted red and white which is a nice touch too.
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But mainly, for us football tourists, it’s a doddle to see inside from the road. There’s loads of little gaps in the fence outside and while you can’t get all the way round, it’s not like there’s much to see from the other side.
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So all in all, it’s worth a visit. Not loads to see but you’ll catch it all from the road and for that reason it gets a thumbs up from me.
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UPDATE FROM WOODHORN LANE

Exciting news – they’ve moved the old stand round to the other side of the ground, or at least started. I’d hoped they were going to put it behind one of the goals but it still helps make this a far bigger looking ground.

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Finally, do me a favour and buy my book, will you? Cheers.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00SKGT3VI?ie=UTF8&redirectFromSS=1&pc_redir=T1&noEncodingTag=1&robot_redir=1

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Almondvale Stadium (Livingston FC)

I’VE GOT A BOOK OUT. Sorry, I was going to try and be less blatant with the plugging. That didn’t work, did it? But you can buy it on Amazon and it is about football, so it’s sort of related. I’ll tell you more about it instead of an update on Woodhorn Lane this week, so scroll down to the bottom if you’d like more info. Anyway, let’s have a look at a football stadium north of the border.
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“Woah Andy,” I hear you say, “I thought you said you’d lost all your photos from Scotland?!” I’ve got a couple of grounds that have been rescued from the phone that died, but I visited Livingston’s ground on a separate occasion and it was lovely too. Its official title is The Energy Assets Arena, which is absolutely horrible, but that’s one of very few negatives about this one.
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First off, I have to say – there’s absolutely loads of places you can peak inside. It’s absolutely brilliant. There’s a hill behind one of the goals allowing a decent view into it and plenty of the exits have gaps that you can see into. It means that for the casual tourist you’ll get a cracking idea of what the stadium is like inside and out and so it’s absolutely maximum marks on that front.
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It also scores well in the mental vandalism scale. One drawing of a golf green with “hole in two” went over my head, as did the reference to the Japan Four. Hopefully neither are offensive, as they both seem bonkers enough to both score points and merit inclusion. There’s also a massive spiral staircase, which was brilliant and made me love it. I can only think of Oxford’s Kassam Stadium as an example of another, although I’m happy to be corrected.
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The only other negatives are the office block in one corner of the ground. It made it look a bit, well, I don’t know. But I’m not a massive fan of things being built into stadiums, although there are exceptions. This wasn’t one of those. There was also a fairly naff piece of artwork outside. It was nice that it wasn’t a statue, but still, it wasn’t my favourite sculpture. But hey, let’s not get bogged down in any sort of art critique, this is a blog dedicated to football grounds. And for the passing tourist there’s plenty to see here. Top marks.
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Book Information

I’VE WRITTEN A BOOK! As it says on the tin really. I’ve done a book. It’s about me and my friend Mark Tearney, who spent last year following the FA Cup. We picked a game at the beginning of the competition in the Extra Preliminary Round and followed the winner into the next round, then the winner of that game into the next round, the plan being to do it all the way to Wembley. Did we make it? You’ll have to read it to find out. You can buy it for the bargain price of £2.99 from Amazon or Kobo and hopefully a few other places by the end of next week. Cheers.
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Oakwell (Barnsley)

This is a fairly quick one due to the fact that I’ve only got one photo of it. Yep, it’s one of my stash that I lost when my phone broke.

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I hit lucky in that I passed through Barnsley earlier this season, just a few hours after they’d played Crawley there. I tweeted a friend who supports them to mention I’d been and embarrassingly that’s all I have left.

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So it’s back to my old friend Google Street view,  which in fairness is quite handy for seeing just how much is visible if you’re passing. It is a great ground for a wander around. There’s not much to see inside, but the stands are huge and very old school.

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I’ve nicked a picture my friend Ben tweeted from the away end at Oakwell so you can get a glimpse of the inside, but even without that it’s worth a visit. The club’s training ground is located opposite and even has a small stand by one of the pitches too, similar to Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium.

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So it’s totally worth a visit. Old fashioned and impressive, it’s just a shame I’ve only got one photograph left of it. I’ll have to go back!

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Woodhorn Lane Update

Not much action to report this week. The ground where the new stand will go looks a bit clearer, and the nearby pile of rubble has grown quite a bit. Hopefully the structure will start soon!

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UTS Stadium (Dunston UTS)

More commonly known as Dunston Fed in non-league circles, the club changed name in 2009 after the neighbouring Federation Brewery’s sponsorship with them ended. You may be able to tell that UTS is the company that replaced them on the front of the shirts, the stadium, the lot really.

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The ground has always been a favourite of mine despite having only ever been inside on a handful of occasions. When being dragged to the Metro Centre for boring shopping trips we’d always pass it on the bus and it served a split second where I could think about football rather than department stores and boredom.

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As far as the stadium itself goes it’s very tidy and well worth a visit. From the outside plenty of it is visible. Lots of it is obscured by trees but that makes it even more charming, the fact that a ground that sits in the middle of a very industrial area is surrounded by greenery.

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There are two stands, both very similar in appearance from outside. One houses some terracing, the other some seats and is named The Paul Gascoigne Stand. Gazza has helped the club out financially in the past and it’s their little way of saying thank you.
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I’d have to say it’s worth a visit. There’s plenty to see from the outside. The fences are low and a wonderful club barrier is easy enough for the more curious to hurdle, although please respect this ground and try and avoid that. The club have been victims of vandals previously and it’d be a shame if this lovely little corner of Gateshead fell to them again.
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Woodhorn Lane Update:
Doesn’t seem like a lot has gone on but hey, the Christmas break has only just finished!
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Cantilever Park (Warrington Town)

With it being FA Cup weekend it seemed a good opportunity to showcase one of the giant killers of this year’s competition and Warrington Town fit that bill perfectly.

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Managed by Shaun Reid, Peter’s brother, they reached the second round this year before being knocked out at Gateshead, having beaten Exeter, some 100 places above them, along the way.

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And I thought I’d lost the photos of my brief trip to Cantilever Park along with the others. However, a slice of luck meant my phone froze while we were walking around and so Lee Kyle took a couple of snaps just to be safe. And he sent them across a couple of weeks ago much to my delight. So you may criticise the camera work compared to usual weeks, go for it. But then feel guilty and maybe drop Lee a line to say sorry. It’s the least you can do.

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The ground is possibly the only stadium in the world named after a bridge. I’m willing to be corrected, but it takes its name from the Cantilever Bridge that it sits in the shadow of and I’m struggling to think of any other stadiums who picked up their name that way.

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In the dark there was very little to actually see. We were fortunate in that we visited on the evening after their first round victory so the club was open. It meant being able to slip inside for a couple of photographs of the side of some sheltered standing, but we couldn’t make a lot out.

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It’s almost certainly worth visiting by day. At the very least you’d get a decent view inside from the aforementioned bridge, and there’s a canal path that runs alongside too. At night your options are severely limited – we just hit lucky that a game had been on. So make sure you choose carefully. And happy new year!

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BIG NEWS

I noticed while walking the dog the other day that there’s some work going on at Woodhorn Lane, home of Ashington AFC. It’s a ground that was covered quite some time back and left little impression, but the club have recently received planning permission to build this snazzy looking 250 seater stand:

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As I walk the dog around the adjoining field on a semi regular basis, I’ll try and get a few snaps each week as work is in progress. There are also plans to build over the field itself, so it may be hampered eventually, but for now I’ll simply whet your whistle.

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There’ll be more updates next week on Andy Fury’s Football Grounds I Can Be Bothered To Watch Getting Built.