Racecourse Ground (Wrexham)

It might seem odd to begin a blog about Wrexham FC with a dig at Manchester City, but fans of this little corner of the internet will know I’m something of a maverick. Strap in.
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I’ll be honest, it’s nothing major. But I remember visiting Manchester United, just how many tourists there were milling around Old Trafford. The same seems to happen at Liverpool, and I’ve encountered it at many grounds. But there was nobody at the Etihad.
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What’s this got to do with Wrexham, I hear you ask. Well, I’d been out of the car in North Wales no more than a minute when a man with an Australian accent approached and asked if I knew where the club shop was. He and his son were armed with cameras and taking photographs of the stadium and I’ll admit I was a touch surprised.
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In fact, it made my drive from Newcastle seem somewhat low-key in comparison. Unfortunately, it turns out that I may have accidentally hinted that there wasn’t one, due to the shop requiring a drive to get to the other side of the stadium.
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It’s something of a fine beast. A massive terrace at one end, old school floodlights and the stand containing the club shop reminded me a little of the Main Stand at Roker Park, except it had picnic benches outside. How very civilised.
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There’s plenty to see from the outside of the stadium, so I’d heartily recommend a visit, even to our Antipodean readers. You really don’t have any excuse.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
As promised a couple of weeks ago, here’s that turnstile a little bit closer up.
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You can by my book, My Cup Upset, by visiting the following Amazon link.

Belle Vue (Doncaster Rovers 1922 – 2006)

It’s incredibly sad, but this one should definitely be filed under “football grounds nobody could be bothered to knock down properly”.
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Most of the ground was demolished after a fire in 2007, but eight years on and much of it is still visible and a very sad sight to see.
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I passed by chance on the way home from a gig in Donny and decided to pull over. All that’s really left are outlines now. You can see some bits of terraces still in tact, enough to know this was once a football ground.
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Concrete stairs are thrown onto piles of rubble, and you can easily make out the pitch. But it makes for a very eery visit. I’ve attached a couple of photos that I’ve nicked from a variety of sites to show what Belle Vue looked like, as well as part way through its demolition, but it’s unrecognisable now.
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There’s not a lot to see, and with houses soon to be built I’d imagine it won’t be there much longer, but a very interesting visit if you’re in the area.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

Apologies for not bringing you the promised photos of the new turnstile, but certainly externally it looks like everything is done now. Hopefully the car park can be sorted out soon and we’ll be done with this!
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You can buy my book, My Cup Upset, by clicking here.

Low Hall Park (Haydon Bridge United AFC)

What’s that? These photos look like they might have been taken on two separate days? Tell you what – drown yourself.
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This ground has been nothing short of farcical. I’ve stopped by it twice when doing gigs in the town itself but not taken photos – the third time I decided to pull over and get some snaps. Needless to say they got lost when my phone got wiped.
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So I made another trip and took some pics. My phone went missing along with the new photos. Then I deleted a couple by mistake after a third visit, so went back a fourth time to complete the collection.
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The horrible irony is that there’s very little to see. Essentially a fenced off pitch, some dugouts and a nice little clubhouse and you’re done.
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Still, assuming the internet doesn’t break in the meantime then at least it’s finally checked off the list.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
The addition of a turnstile this week, although not much else externally. Still a nice addition though and I’ll hopefully grab a better photo of it next week.
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Strangely, my book is still available via Amazon.

Westfield Lane (Frickley Athletic)

I mean, perfect might be overdoing it a bit, but at the time of writing I’ve had half a bottle of wine and all seems well with the world. So I’m going to say it.
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Certainly, it ticks every box I’m looking for. A rickety old main stand with a bit of character? Check.
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Plenty to see from outside, including some lovely scenery beyond the mish-mash of corrugated metal running half the length of one touchline? Check.
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What looks like it might have been a big terrace that’s just overgrown now and looks a bit weird? Check.
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In fact, it’d even satisfy the needs of people who’ve accidentally clicked onto this blog thinking it was “tractors I can be bothered to visit”. It happens a lot.
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But anyone, a decent little ground. I’m getting back to my wine glass…
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Woodhorn Lane Update
Not much left to do really, I think we’re all just waiting on the club announcing its opening. One curious thing though – is that a bin in front of the stand? It seems an odd addition, particularly this early on.
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You can buy my book by clicking here.

What A Day!

If you’d asked me when I was at school whether I’d be kicking up a fuss on transfer deadline day I’d have believed you. But, 17 years later, it seems it’s not my footballing ability that’s caused a storm.
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Two years ago the Liverpool striker Fabio Borini spent a year on loan at the team I support, Sunderland. He scored a few goals including some against Newcastle and the whole deal was viewed as a success. We tried to sign him permanently and despite chasing him publicly all summer, he refused. Fair enough.

We continued chasing him over the next year, and were turned down again. Even as recently as Monday morning the BBC were reporting that Sunderland had a bid accepted but the player himself was holding out for a move elsewhere. It came as something of a surprise when Sunderland suddenly confirmed Borini had agreed a permanent deal with them on Monday. He said:
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Now that seemed mildly amusing to me. It’s an odd word to use to describe your return to an employer you’d spent at least 12 months trying to avoid. I’ve no issue with him wanting to advance his career with clubs other than Sunderland. But it’s an odd choice of word. So I posted a simple tweet:
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It wasn’t supposed to be a rip-roaring gag, more just a light-hearted observation at the situation. It got a few retweets and a Facebook comment that read:
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I’ve met Paul a few times, usually at Sunderland games, so assumed it was a joke that didn’t translate brilliantly, thought nothing more of it then went to bed. I woke up to this text message from my dad:
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Then noticed this from comedian Dan Nightingale:
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And a few other alerts from other friends around the globe. It turns out they were right:
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I’ve no idea how or why, but for some reason the BBC had decided to report the tweet in their football gossip column on one of the busiest days of the season. I hadn’t brought it to anyone’s attention, or added hashtags or anything else. It was there just for those that follow me and that was it. But there I was, comedian Andy Fury, right next to another comedian, one of my heroes Bob Mortimer. It was quite surreal to see, but a wonderful honour. I was made up, but it lasted all of about ten minutes until I got a message on Twitter:
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The oddest thing was that this was Paul’s first tweet. He’d literally created a twitter account just to call me a dick!
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Although annoyingly, a quick scroll through a few of my photos and he’s right – I don’t look like a footballer:
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That’s me driving a train. And here’s me with Steven Seagal:
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Oh and here’s me as a young boy:
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And my dog from when he was an adorable puppy:
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Oh, here’s one of me when I visited Newtongrange Star Football Club. What about this?
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I mean, I’d probably fit in at that level but I sort of took Paul’s point. I don’t look like a footballer. And hey, if he was so offended that he joined twitter just to tell me, then I’ll let that slide. But he wasn’t alone:
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I mean, I wasn’t sure how to answer Val. She’d got in touch with me, after all. Not the other way round. But it was around then that I realised this might be an interesting day. The messages continued:
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I’ll be honest, this was my favourite one probably of the entire day. For a variety of reasons. Firstly, it seems an odd way to have recognised me – I’ve done enough things you’d recognise me from (TV, radio, writing books and contributing to various Sunderland-related publications) than to remember what I hadn’t done. But, and don’t worry Prescott, I realise you were doing a little joke. Totes on board with that – you don’t get the BBC describing you as a comedian without knowing what a joke is. But that’s an odd way to define a stand up comedian. Makes his living from doing stand up? Yes. Done TV/radio shows? Yes. Won awards? Yes. Toured a show of his own? Yes. Been on Have I Got News For You? No. NOT A COMEDIAN THEN. God bless you Prescott, that made me laugh more than my tweet made you laugh. Well done. There were others though.
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Although I’ll be honest, if your Twitter profile pic is of Fabio Borini, it’s always going to be hard to win Scott around. I like Scott though. Just because 32 other people had thought of the Twitter handle @safc before him, that didn’t put him off. Anyway, I soon received some slightly better news from my friend Ben:
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I mean, I was dividing opinion but still! That would mean some people sticking up for me! I logged on to the Sunderland forum to find out who was praising me:
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Oh.
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I mean, there’s not much I can say really on that. But still…

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Yeah, I see your point I guess. But this was all getting a bit odd. I’d tweeted a random observation on a footballer last night, and suddenly my Twitter was full of Sunderland fans eager to call me a twat, and now an internet forum was filling space by doing the same? And suggesting I was rubbish at my job, based on, well, them disagreeing with my point of view I guess. Even though if Borini had turned us down a third time they’d have presumably continued abusing him directly via Twitter themselves. As it was, people continued with me:
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I look like a bit of a tit! Neil (presumably an absolute stud himself) continues…
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I love Neil’s concern. And I also love that, presumably having been to loads of my gigs, he knows what people are actually laughing at. I mean, I wouldn’t know, what with me not looking too bright. But thank the lord that good folk such as Neil are there to keep me on the straight and narrow. All hail Neil!

Thankfully Twitter was there to remind me it wasn’t just a few tit-ends on a message board.
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I have no idea who Kev is, but liked that Zak admired my work ethic. Maybe I was getting somewhere. At last!
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I got straight onto a few model railway exhibitors and suggested I come to a few of their shows and do a turn at their hotels afterwards. And from just three emails I booked in a load of quite lucrative work, doing my dream gig of performing for train nerds! People were starting to be nice to me again!

I then realised that it was actually some horrid cunt suggesting I throw myself under a train, which is really quite unpleasant when you think about it.

Thankfully I won’t be giving it much thought. While some people sit and stew and wallow in hatred, I’ll be taking my gonky face on the road (not literally, sorry) and enjoying the best feeling in the world. No, not belittling others anonymously from behind a keyboard, but performing to a massive room of people, them listening to what I have to say, sitting silently whilst I say it then laughing loudly exactly when I want them to. It’s infinitely better than the fleeting milisecond of joy you’ll get from clicking “send” on an internet forum or social media. And it’s not some fluke that I’ve misunderstood. But I appreciate your bizarre insistence that it must be.

Enjoy your life in cyber land, losers – I’ve got a gig to get to!