Meadow Lane (Notts County)

Well this will double quite handily as a blatant advert for a show I’m doing at this very ground on 13th November. I’m doing my FA Cup Show “My Cup Upset” at Meadow Lane as part of Nottingham Comedy Festival but we’ll get back to that later.
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Meadow Lane is a terrific ground which scores highly on most counts. It’s got a weird road sign nearby (who doesn’t want to see the Flower Pot Men?), and is pretty central in terms of Nottingham itself. And it looks like a proper football ground.
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Banks of steps up to the Kop Stand evoke childhood memories of climbing the stairs to enter the Fulwell End at Sunderland’s Roker Park and thus help score Meadow Lane highly. But there’s plenty more besides. A triangular gable adorns the Jimmy Sirrel Stand. I don’t know why but it’s just pretty – and usually a trademark feature of stadiums designed by Sir Archibald Leitch.
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There is one side that’s hard to see and not particularly picturesque, but as you can get close enough to see inside everywhere else then I’m not going to mark it down. That and because I still want people to come to my show there!
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If you do fancy it, it’s basically an hour long stand up show about how me and my best mate followed the FA Cup from a game in the 2013-14 qualifying round, taking in the winner’s game in the next round, all the way (hopefully) to the final. Tickets, once more, are available here and there should be some available on the door too. That’s Friday 13th November. I can’t wait to head back to Meadow Lane! Even if I’m not performing there it’s well worth a visit.
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Woodhorn Lane Update

As if my show in Nottingham in a fortnight wasn’t exciting enough, how about this? We have a date for the stand at Woodhorn Lane being opened! Newcastle United will be sending a team there on Thursday 12th November (yep, that’s right, the day before my show at Meadow Lane). We’re nearly there guys!
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Just go repeat that, tickets for my show at Notts County on November 13th are available by clicking here.

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Hampden Park (Scotland and Queen’s Park)

Look, I’m going to level with you here. Yes, I know this blog is usually a prime source of scurrilous lies and gossip with scant regard for honesty, but I’m going to tell you the truth. Yes, some of these are the same photographs I used for Lesser Hampden.
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Unfortunately I managed to lose my pics from Hampden Park, but seeing how it’s clearly visible in these photographs, it seems daft not to cover it.
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It’s a rather grand stadium, that’s for certain. A little unique, and its oval shape makes reminds you a little of the old Wembley Stadium. Sorry for any readers north of the border, but please take that as a compliment.
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Oddly, Hampden is also home to Third Division side Queen’s Park, with an average crowd between 400-500 having plenty of space in this 52,000 seater stadium.  Attending one of their games is certainly on my agenda.
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So that probably means it has to have a thumbs up, doesn’t it? I’d happily come back here, and there’s more than enough grounds around Glasgow for you to fit more in, so it’s a yes from me.

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Woodhorn Lane Update
Finished photo of the car park? I’m really spoiling you guys here. Oh and I noticed there’s a roller shutter door as well. Yes, a bit thin on the ground in the excitement stakes, but you take what you can at this stage.
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Please support this blog by popping along to Amazon to buy my book. Thanks.

 

North Street (Alfreton Town)

People often ask me my favourite ground since I’ve been doing this blog (Tinto Park), and my worst. That would probably have to be Anfield for reasons that are quite clear if you read my write up. But North Street joins the ranks of stadiums I simply can’t recommend. But I should probably explain.
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This is the second time I’ve been to Alfreton. The first time was for a gig in a snooker hall. It was badly ran, poorly attended and I died on my arse. As did the act after me. And I’ll be honest with you – I’ve hated Alfreton ever since then.
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Whenever I see that the football team have been beaten it makes me feel happy. In fact, I once relegated them with a 5-0 victory on a game of Football Manager. I honestly think I was happier than the night I lost my virginity.
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So I’m biased against this ground. Annoyingly, it’s bloody lovely. There was a game taking place whilst I visited, and it’s possible to peak inside from a nearby hill. But I still hated it.
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Even the picturesque sight of two children trying to grab a glimpse from the comfort of their bicycles couldn’t turn me. Memories of those swathes of silence after each punchline just made the whole thing worse.
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So, let’s examine the checklist North Street needs to score high marks from me. Big open terraces? Check. Nice little stands? Check. Very old school looking? Check. Easy to see inside? Check. And as for the negatives… Is it in Alfreton? Check.  And so for that reason, and that ridiculously biased reason alone, it’s a big fat no from me for this place.

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Woodhorn Lane Update
As for the checklist for Woodhorn Lane, we’re just about there. The car park looks pretty much finished now, and I’m not sure if I’ve managed to show you the club’s badge on the side of the stand, which looks very smart. And it’s not in Alfreton. Bonus!
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Fed up of my tedious hatred of Alfreton? Well you’re in luck, because my book doesn’t have any in it!

New York Stadium (Rotherham United)

When Rotherham United moved out of Millmoor in 2008, after a brief absence from the town they moved to a ground so good they named it, erm, oddly. Because let’s be honest, there’s no getting away from it.
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Apparently the ground is in an area known as New York, and the hope was also that naming the ground as such may help bring in some investment from the United States. I’m not aware that this has happened yet, but it’s definitely an eye-catching name.
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It’s also a slightly odd but lovely ground. Definitely picturesque, and it’ll be a shame when the neighbouring derelict foundries are demolished, but plenty to see. You can get a couple of glimpses inside too, which scores points.
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The outside features a substitute bench turned into a smoking shelter (Coventry City also had one of these) and also a car park sign warning that it’s your own fault if your car ends up underwater. Thanks!
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Personally I quite liked the roof sloping down a little – it certainly added a touch of character to the place, even if bags or cement  lying around made it feel a bit too new for my liking.
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But overall it’s a thumbs up. There’s a scenic walk along the River Don right next to the ground, and the name alone is a worthwhile curiosity. And with Millmoor still standing and the floodlights visible from the New York Stadium, it’s definitely worth popping your head in.

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Woodhorn Lane Update
Couple of long range shots with a barely-visible horse stood in front of the stand. God I really hope it opens soon so that we can stop this.
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My book? I thought we were talking about Rotherham United? Oh go on then!

Newtown Park (Bo’ness United)

Ah, Bo’ness. Beautiful, beautiful Bo’ness. Very much the jewel in the crown of the… no, I’m sorry, I can’t keep up this pretence any more. There was something slightly unnerving about my brief visit here.
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First off was the young man who seemed confused as to why there’d be people taking photographs of the football ground. He seemed perplexed when I described myself as a tourist.  With a vicious looking dog straining at the leash, I thought I’d best just get on with the task in hand than engage him any further.
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Thankfully, the ground itself is lovely and easy enough to see into. With Nick Cranston alongside me we even managed to sneak in for a couple of snaps as well, which is always a bonus and for some reason seems more commonplace north of the border.
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It’s odd how little there is to see but also how photographic it is too. Terracing goes all the way around, albeit one goal is largely just a grass bank with crush barriers. But there’s a covered terrace on one side of the pitch too.
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The dug outs have spiked fences nearby, lending to the slightly intimidating theme, although a park bench above them certainly hints that it’s a far more forgiving place.
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And if that wasn’t enough, just as we were about to leave, we spotted a beautiful piece of vandalism that melted our hearts. Written in white spray paint, obscured only slightly by a bus stop and faded by time, were four simple words. We love you Bo’ness. Brilliant. Worth the trip alone.
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Woodhorn Lane Update
Really not much to update you on. Just waiting for the thing to open now. Getting a bit boring, innit?
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