Dean Street (Shildon AFC)

This was an unexpected bonus as I hastily headed through Shildon on my way to another gig, but it’s a brilliant Northern League ground.
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Previously I’ve been left a little disappointed as grounds at this level are either new and so lack character, or have been in the dark and badly lit.
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Admittedly Dean Street is probably no great shakes at night, but visiting during the day I got to see their wonderful main stand.
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There’s also a covered terrace opposite and whilst viewing places from outside are limited, it’s totally possible and thus this gets the thumbs up from me.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

It’s at that frustrating stage of looking like there’s not much going on. The brickwork is taking shape but to be honest I didn’t want to hang around taking photos of builders, so I didn’t spend much time there this week.

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If you’ve got £2.99 burning a hole in your pocket, why not buy my book?

DW Stadium (Wigan Athletic)

This was the briefest of visits and maybe that’s why, but I can’t say I enjoyed this one very much.

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A pleasant gig in Wigan was rounded off with a quick drive past Wigan’s home but I’ll be honest and say I was desperate just to get home.

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I do like that there’s a stand named after Springfield Park, their previous home, but that’s one of very few redeeming features.

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It’s in the middle of a retail park and just doesn’t seem special. I hate that you can pop for a Frankie & Benny’s  before the game.

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Still, I’ll end on a positive note and say that it is easy to access and visible for the tourist, although I didn’t pay enough attention to how much you could see inside. But at least it’s another ground off the list.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

Not much to report this week other than more brickwork externally, and what looks like a couple of internal walls beginning to take shape too. Worryingly it feels like it won’t be long until all external walls are completed and things will seem a lot slower.
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My FA Cup book, which included Wigan’s epic Semi Final tie against Arsenal, is available here.

Blackwell Meadows (Darlington AFC)

It’s becoming more and more infrequent that we encounter firsts on this blog. There was a time that we were critically acclaimed for our inovative approach but those days seem a long time behind us.
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But not this week. Oh yes friends – we’ve had grounds that aren’t football grounds any more (Highbury), ones that aren’t actually football grounds (Worcestershire Cricket Club) but not a ground that isn’t a football ground but is about to become one.
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Yep, you read that right. After Darlington reformed after going bust in 2012, they’ve played their home games in Bishop Auckland, some 15 miles away from Darlington. But they’re returning home soon, thankfully.

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Plans are afoot to transform Darlington Rugby Club’s humble home into a stadium that can host football matches at a reasonable level, potentially even Football League in the future. And while all there is at the minute is a couple of rows of covered seating, there are plans drawn up to whet the appetite.
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The club will need to raise a lot of money to make sure the plans come to life, but if they do they could be back in Darlington as soon as the beginning of the 2015-16 season. So it’s worth dropping past the rugby club quickly if you want to see it before its redevelopment.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

A week of high winds have possibly scuppered some of the work, although I’ve noticed a couple of internal staircases now in place, and external walls starting to go up. It’s definitely taking a wonderful shape.
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You can buy my book here if you so wish. No big deal, I’d just quite like to eat this week.

Cardiff Arms Park (Wales)

Some of the more observant of you will wonder why this wasn’t covered when I visited the Millennium Stadium a few weeks back. They are neighbours after all.
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I did take in Arms Park too and as a tourist it was the more enjoyable of the two, but it never hurts to mix things up a bit. So I’ve left it a week or so.
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It’s also a dubious one in terms of football grounds. It’s currently home to Cardiff Blues and has hosted rugby since it was built. However it’s also had several football matches played there, generally the Welsh national side, and so it’s definitely worthy of inclusion here.
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I’m fairly certain I hit lucky when visiting which both helped and hindered. It was late on a weekend night so the photos aren’t brilliant,  but a function being on meant the ground was unlocked and so easy to pop into.
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It’s certainly an eerie one. Aside from being alone it sits in the shadow of the Millennium Stadium, which towers above it and dominates everything around.
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Arms Park is pleasant though, with four proper stands. Admittedly one of them is just full of executive boxes (I’ve nicked a couple of daytime pictures to show you), but it feels like a proper stadium.
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I’m tempted to give this a thumbs down. If the gates are locked then there won’t be much to see, plus it’s only occasionally been a football stadium. However that would be harsh, and seeing how it’s right next door to the Millennium, it’d be rude not to drop by.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

Another busy week at Ashington where the new stand is really starting to take shape. The steelwork is in place, as are the rows that will house the seats. You can even see that it looks like there’ll be a proper tunnel for the players to walk out of. Very exciting.

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If you’ve enjoyed this, please feel free to splash out £2.99 and buy my book. Thanks.