School Road (Squires Gate AFC)

“Hang on Andy”, I hear you say. “This looks dubiously familiar. You’re not repeating on us already, are you?”
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Well firstly, stop being so rude. You hardly even know me. But secondly, I can see where you’re coming from. We’ve previously done Blackpool Wren Rovers – the two grounds literally share perimeter walls. So yes, you’ll see a bit of Wren’s ground in these pics. Specifically – the blue door is for Squire’s Gate, red for Wren Rovers.
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This week’s subject score highly on a number of fronts. Firstly – short walls means it’s fairly easy to see into. Secondly, as has been discussed, there’s three football grounds within a quarter of a mile of each other in this part of town. So it’s easy to get a big hit.
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And there’s also a couple of tatty looking banners at the back of one of the stands. Which themselves are old enough to differ a bit from the modern day prefabs found at this level.
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There’s not loads more to add – but it’s certainly worth dropping by, if nothing else as an easy way to clock three football grounds within ten minutes. I’m not sure there’s anywhere else in the country you’ll be able to manage that.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

Not a lot this week. But what looks like some glazers arrived yesterday, so maybe some windows starting to go in? Hopefully there’ll be more news on that next week.
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Aldborough Road (Boroughbridge AFC)

Although I have mixed feelings about this ground, there’s absolutely no denying that it’s an absolute doozy that is worth visiting. But I’ll have to tread lightly.
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Because as much as the ground is easy to find and navigate round and get some photographs, there’s a sign in the dugouts advising that they will take legal action if they find anyone unauthorised on their premises.
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And although I’m sure that applies more to kids playing football on the pitch or local vandals, I couldn’t possibly advocate trying.
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For the record, what is there is great. The dugouts are certainly unusual, as is the one stand on the opposite side of the pitch, with another dugout just beside that as well.
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There’s not much else to it, but it’s the sort of hidden gem I absolutely love stumbling across and I was delighted to find it. So I’d recommend a visit, but a very careful one at that!
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Woodhorn Lane Update
We’re back to the usual view this week but not a lot of change to report really. I’ve noticed they’ve boarded a couple of doors up – hopefully nothing to do with the super view we had last week. Also, a big gap for a corner window at the back of the stand looks quite promising. Oh and they’ve started to tarmac the new car park. So quite a bit really. But it doesn’t seem like much.
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Riverside Stadium (Middlesbrough)

With Boro being Wembley-bound if they beat Brentford tonight, it seemed a great chance to celebrate their fantastic season by featuring them this week.
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I passed the Riverside a few months back and there’s no doubting it’s impressive. I think my favourite bit is the two giant red pillars at the front of the main stand. I’m not entirely sure why they’re there, but as the rest of the stadium is like many other new builds, it helps it stand out and give it some identity.
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That’s not any sort of slur either. There’s plenty to enjoy about the Riverside. They’ve rescued the gates from Ayresome Park, their former home, which stands alongside statues of former players Wilf Mannion and George Hardwick.
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Another nod to the past includes a giant picture of Ayresome Park outside the turnstiles. I was a bit disappointed the seats in front aren’t originals from their previous ground, but I guess they’d end up in someone’s garden quite quickly if they were.
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There’s not much else to write home about the stadium really though. One side, the one closest to the river, is plunged into darkness at night, but the rest is pretty visible. There’s also the occasional crack that you can peak inside of too. Obviously there’s not much to see at night but it scores points for daytime visitors.
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And that’s just about that, really. A worthy footnote is that the stadium has also been used by England when the national side were without a home, and it also staged a home game for Gateshead FC last season when their stadium was permanently waterlogged.
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So points scored for nice displays outside, being able to see inside, easy access, a bit of history but not too cluttered, and some interesting stuff on the walls. I’d say it’s worth a visit.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
I promised a different view this week and boy have I delivered! Hopefully this will satisfy you.
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Hirst Welfare (Ashington Colliers)

With the country in the throes of a general election, it would be ridiculous not to feature a football ground that also doubles as a polling station.
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Hirst Welfare Centre is the home of Ashington Colliers, the reserve team of Ashington AFC. It’s not the only football stadium to serve in that capacity, of course. Sandygate, home of Hallam FC, is one. And Coles Park, home of Haringey Borough (which has featured on this blog in the past), is another. But it’s a nice little niche group to be a part of.
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In terms of the ground itself, there’s not an awful lot of it to discuss. There are a couple of dug outs, which have become the bare minimum for me when trying to define the difference between a football ground and a playing field.
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The pitch is fenced off and spectators do come to watch the games, but it’s hard to see much if the gates are locked. It’s worth visiting anyway – it backs onto Ashington’s Woodhorn Lane. But it’s definitely at the lower end of the excitement scale.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
Coming along lovely now. The top of the stand looks like it’s being completed and I’m hoping to take a couple of snaps from the other side next week in the hope some seats might be going in. But the increased scaffolding presence definitely makes it look like a lot is going on.

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Victoria Park (Hartlepool United)

After Hartlepool’s remarkable escape from the foot of the Football League was successful last weekend, it seemed only fair to cover them on this week’s blog.
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And whilst there’s plenty to like about a historic old ground such as this, it’s an odd one to comment on as a visitor. There’s only really two sides of the ground that you can get near, and it’s a long walk from one to the other.
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I made do with just doing one, but have attached a Google Street Map view of the other. A lot of the ground has been rebuilt since Brian Clough cut his managerial cloth here, but I still enjoyed it.
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There’s little bits of the inside visible, which will always win you points. Slightly weird but beautiful turnstiles will always get you a couple of bonus marks too.
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So overall I’d definitely say it’s a good’un. I’m yet to suss out whether the stand that just looks like a load of Portakabins is a good or bad thing, but either way, it’s worth a visit if you’re nearby.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
Everything seems to be going well at Ashington as well. Most of the external brickwork seems to have been done – it’s amazing how much progress appears to have been made in the two weeks we’ve been clarting on with different views of the ground.
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