Academy Stadium (Manchester City)

I’ve previously covered Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium as well as its smaller sister that was previously used for reserve and ladies team fixtures. However they’ve recently outdone themselves.

Last season City moved their teams into the Academy Stadium, which is housed within the Etihad Campus, their training ground. It seems pretty ridiculous to have your own custom-built ground purely for second-string fixtures, but they’ve definitely pulled it off.

One of my favourite features is the big windows that you can see straight inside from. It’s a really nice touch, and ideal for we’re after on this blog. Thumbs up for that.

The outside is also reasonably interesting, with beautiful sweeping curves everywhere, this is the sort of ground you can imagine a lower league club feeling pretty chuffed with. It’s always a bonus to see random storage areas for things like goalposts on view too.

The only small negative was the appearance of the Christ the Redeemer statue in a City-themed mural. I’m not sure what the link is between Rio and Manchester, barring city having had a couple of Brazilians playing for them, but it seemed odd.

It would be harsh to mark it down just for that. The futuristic self-service ticket machines also nearly knocked it down, but I’m saying the big windows do more than enough to score this favourably. A definite thumbs up from me.


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Lant Avenue Broadway (Llandindrod Wells AFC)

This was very much a spontaneous visit as I was driving through Llandindrod Wells (try saying that when you’re sober), and I’m very much glad I did.

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The town seemed big enough that there’d probably be a football ground and google seemed to back it up. I managed to park up at the neighbouring rugby club, but as the ground is entirely open it’s easy enough to get to.

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There’s not much to it, but it’s easy to love. A sign warning that dogs aren’t allowed was probably my personal highlight. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dogs prohibited sign like it in my life.

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There’s a little covered stand as well, with wooden benches perched on concrete blocks. It’s basic but beautiful, exactly the sort of addition that is welcome on this blog.

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On the opposite side is a wooden clubhouse and then what I’m assuming is a refreshment bar with a tiny bit of covered standing next to it. But due to a huge banner advertising a nearby fish bar, I did momentarily think this might be the world’s most peculiar chip shop.

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Alas it wasn’t, but this is without doubt a brilliant little ground. Easy to walk around, plenty of little oddities and thus definitely worth the trip.

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Please feel free to buy my book. But only if you want to.

Hall Corner (Glapwell FC)

​Well this is awkward. This blog chronicled my visits to various football grounds for a few years, to a wonderfully niche audience, which I accidentally managed to stop updating a while back.

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I didn’t stop visiting the grounds though, and have something of a backlog. But I also lost around eight stone in weight at the same time! So it’s safe to say if I look different in some pics, that’s why.

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In fact, in the time since my last blog post on this site, Glapwell FC have actually been dissolved, which is sad. Perhaps a poignant nod to keeping this blog more up to date? Either way, the club has folded, and it’ll be shame that this ground is, or soon will be, no more.

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It’s nothing too spectacular, but it was a wonderful little find tucked away in Derbyshire on my way to a gig so long ago that I can’t even remember exactly where. Perhaps lacking some TLC, but very homely all the same and dead easy to see inside.

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I previously used to conclude with whether I could recommend a visit. In this case, I’ve no idea. The ground most likely no longer exists, certainly the club doesn’t. But if we discover time travel, then absolutely.

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