Seaham Town Park (Seaham Red Star)

This was a textbook visit to a ground with little to see but plenty of character.
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I hit lucky in that the adjoining cricket club were playing, so the gate was open, but even without that everything is largely visible.
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Hard standing surrounds most of the pitch, with one corner being used for a few banks of terracing, a feature in a few County Durham grounds at this level such as Crook, that I’ve not seen anywhere else.
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The main stand itself is pleasantly sized and would be largely unspectacular if it wasn’t so beautifully coloured. As it is, it certainly catches the eye.
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The other side of the pitch houses the JF Ellbeck Stand, a most curious structure that houses precisely six seats. I’ve no idea why its seated capacity is so small, and it’s not the least amount of seats we’ve seen after the shed at Seaton Delaval Amateurs, but it’s a wonderful quirk all the same.
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The open spaces around the rest of the ground let it down a little, but it’d be a bit harsh to mark it down on that basis. As it is I’ll give it a thumbs up for at least having plenty on show.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
The exterior fence is completed! Erm, not much else to see from this angle but pleasingly, it’s quite clear how close we are to the end.
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Manchester Regional Arena (Manchester City Ladies)

What’s that? This seems a lazy addition seeing as we were just across the road last week? Tell you what, go and boil your head. I shouldn’t have to put up with this crap from people like you.
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This seemed like a no-brainer, even though it’s a very curious place. Granted, Manchester City Ladies have now moved out and play at the stadium built into City’s Academy training complex, but seeing as both they and the men’s reserves called this home for a few years, it seems daft not to include it.
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Truth be told, it absolutely has the feel of an athletics stadium rather than somewhere that football should ever be played. It was built as a warm up track when the Commonwealth Games visited Manchester in 2002 and served as a handy home for City’s ladies and reserve teams. But it’s easy to hate.
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It’s a perfect athletics venue but not fit for football at all. Is it worth visiting? You can’t not if you’re doing the Etihad, but this is a piece of football history that is barely worth mentioning. Don’t worry, I’ll have a proper ground for you next week.

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Woodhorn Lane Update
The car park needs sorted, and I’ll guess that inside might not look as finished as the outside, but safe to say things are progressing nicely at Ashington.
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Etihad Stadium (Manchester City)

I’d been waiting to visit the Etihad for ages and I’m not sure if I’d built it up too much, but I felt mildly underwhelmed by the time I got round to it.
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There’s not much to criticise, I’ll be quite clear about that. It’s a wonderful unique design, which is a breath of fresh air. Although somewhere like the Emirates is outstanding, it doesn’t look anywhere near as amazing externally.
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The Etihad has massive big spirals everywhere, which it turns out are actual entrances to the ground (I’d always assumed they were car parks, like at Newcastle United). They make it stand out, as do the huge cables keeping everything in place.
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I noticed one plynth that was just floating, and I was left a little numb by its quirkiness where usually I’d revel in it. However seeing a load of random place names plastered all over the side of one entrance perked me up again. I can’t think of many other grounds that feature the words “Isle of White” quite so predominantly.
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One other bum note was a road labeled “Cityzens Lane”. I’m sorry but you can shite off with that – I’m not having it.
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Two positives probably just about rescue it though. Firstly, it’s right next to, technically, two other stadiums. City have built a new arena within their on-site training ground for their reserves to play at. And before that, they played their games at the Manchester Regional Arena, which is pretty much in the Etihad’s car park. There are also big photos of City’s former homes plastered across the walls of their new ground. So handy for a football ground fix.
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Secondly, when I lived in a flat with a couple of mates, we had a Paul Dickov Memorial Door. It was basically a sitting room cupboard door that we adorned with photographs of the former City striker. And because he scored a huge goal in a play off final for them, that iconic image is there on the stadium’s exterior. Yes, the Etihad Stadium also has its own Paul Dickov Memorial Door!
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Consider yourself off the hook with that one, Manchester City Football Club. You can have a thumbs up from me.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
You’re not going to believe this… we only have some bloody well seats! And they’ve got the club’s initials in them too! Looking very smart.
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Prestonfield Park (Linlithgow Rose)

Yeah well maybe that’ll teach you for whining on about Scottish grounds last week. Here’s another one.
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Thankfully it’s a perfectly pleasant one and a new addition to the blog’s contributors as Nick Cranston became only the second comedian to visit a ground with me.
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Nick is a lovely lad and it was a perfect introduction to this ridiculous little hobby. The ground was open so we were able to nip in, although it’s largely visible from outside too. Either was you’re in for a treat.
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A large grandstand dominates the stadium, and some covered terracing sits opposite but neither of these are my favourite bits, as good as they are.
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Behind one goal and up on a hill is a small brick wall with a sign attached that simply reads “assembly area”. I have no idea if that’s in case of emergency and if it is, what good the brick does, or if local schools congregate.
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Either way it’s the first time I’ve seen such a feature on my travels and for that reason alone (well also their name if we’re being honest), Linlithgow Rose get the big thumbs up from Fury.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
Not much to say other than that it’s cracking along quite nicely really. They’ve done a great job of the outside so far.
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