Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Gosport Borough 4 Petersfield Town 0
Privett Park opened its doors for the first time in 1937 as the home of Gosport FC, which was reformed as Gosport Borough AFC during the later years of WWII. The Boro’ were once a top Southern League side finishing as high as 7th in the Premier Division in 1989. However, relegation to the southern section followed just a few short years afterwards (a mass exodus of players and a change in management are blamed for their demise) and a further demotion in 1992 dropped them into the Wessex League where they remain to this day.
My description of tonight’s visit to its friendly confines will remain short and brief as it is was drizzling when I arrived and lashing it down when I left and an objective review of its facilities is not really possible (this also accounts for a lack of any photo's for this blog entry). However, I can vouch for the 500-plus seater Grandstand that dominates its western touchline. Not only does it offer an excellent view of the pitch but it also provided more than adequate cover from the summer deluge. From what I could see through the downpour the ground offers good facilities, including a sizeable clubhouse (imaginatively named the ‘Inn off the Post’) and has a good set of floodlights (installed just a few years ago apparently) that had no problems in cutting through the evening gloom.
This part of Hampshire has become my temporary home – I’m working on the edge of the town and B&B’ing in neighbouring Fareham - so expect more verbage from these parts over the coming weeks.
Match: 2 (2005/06) 1,246 (Lifetime)
ITFC Season Preview 2005-06
"Top of the league, and you f**cked it up" sang the happy hammers fans as they celebrated a second successive play-off victory over Town back in May. As irritating as it was to be serenaded out of Portman Road to those words ringing around the ground that just about summed up 2004-05 for Ipswich.
We topped the league for well over three months – at one stage moving five points clear of Sunderland and Wigan – and then came Watford’s visit to Suffolk! Yes, it’s all their fault. Midweek defeat by the Hornets was followed the next Saturday by a second straight home reverse at the hands of QPR and the downward turn continued as Town dropped out of the top three a week later following a 1-0 loss at Wigan.
There were brief hints that a return to the top two was a possibility but the inevitability of yet another play-off appearance was confirmed on the final day of the season with Town requiring a win to stand any chance of automatic promotion (they drew at Brighton) while hoping that Wigan would drop points at home to Reading (the Latics won comfortably).
The agony was completed just under two weeks later, when West Ham, despite finishing 12 points behind us in the table, outplayed us in the second leg of the play-offs to record a deserved 4-2 aggregate victory.
So, big match nerves failed Town once again. But on the bright side at least we have a couple of local derbies to look forward too this coming season.
Town’s chances? The good news is that Town’s multiple-award winning head groundsman Alan Ferguson has turned down a move to the all-new Wembley Stadium but our strike force of Darren Bent and Shefki Kuqi and midfielder Tommy Miller, who between them scored 50 plus goals last season have all moved to Premiership sides, while Championship ‘keeper of the year Kelvin Davis, who had a superb season between the sticks, has also made the move upstairs.
Joe Royle moved quickly to replace the front two with the signing of Reading’s Nicky Forster and persuaded League One’s leading marksman Sam Parkin to leave Swindon for East Anglia ahead of competition from a number of other Championships sides, including the forces or darkness and evil from the northern end of the A140.
The division most generous defence still needs bolstering, with Joe Royle looking to take a Premiership defender on a years loan. This could see the return to Portman Road of David Unsworth, who enjoyed a relatively successful four months here at the back of the last campaign. Also at the back, it looks as though young Welsh U-21 keeper Lewis Price will get a stab at a prolonged run as first choice number 1, following Davis’ departure, while the young Irish glovesman and FA Youth Cup winner Shane Supple will provide back-up.
And on the subject of the FA Youth Cup, while winning it by no means made up for losing out on promotion, the side that lifted the trophy contains a number of really exciting young prospects, two of whom, local lad Liam Trotter, and another Irishman Owen Garvan, are expected to make their debuts in the senior side at some point this coming season. Add to those two the exciting young prospects Dean McDonald (former Arsenal youth midfielder), Jaime Peters (Canadian U-20 midfielder) and Jimmy Juan (another midfielder – on loan for the season from AS Monaco) and the prospects for the next 9 months, despite the loss of so many senior players during the close season - don’t look quite so bleak.
As far as the coming season is concerned I full expect the unmentionables to mount a serious challenge for an immediate return to the Premiership while Southampton and Palace, the other two demoted sides, to be there or there abouts come May. Wolves and Leeds, damp squids last season, should also challenge for top six finishes this time around, with Town in amongst them (and then losing in the play-offs obviously).
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Cambridge United 0 Ipswich Town 3
Ian Darler Testimonial
Words to follow. For a full size view of the panorama shown above click here.
Match: 1 (2005/06) 1,245 (Lifetime)
Friday, July 08, 2005
FC Wacker Innsbruck
Tivoli Stadion, Innsbruck, Austria
My first visit to Innsbruck since I was last here in 1978 for the (now defunct) European Cup Winners’ Cup second round clash between SW Wacker Innsbruck and Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town.
I swear the stadium used to be to the north and a little bit to the west of its current location but was certainly not surprised that it had been completely rebuilt in the intervening 26 years.
After three days of touring round pristine and highly manicured Austrian mountain villages Innsbruck is a bit of a welcome relief. Traffic noise, the odd bit of litter and graffiti help ease you back into the real world. Mr Extreme Groundhopping was up for a quick walk out of the town centre to the Tivoli Stadium to allow me a trip down memory lane.
Town where taken to extra time here in the second leg of the ’78 tie by Wacker, a game played in an electric atmosphere despite a crowd limit of 22,000. I remember things getting a bit heated on the field too so much so that Ipswich and England striker Paul Mariner received the only red card of his career in the second period of added time.
Ipswich triumphed and progressed to the third round where they lost on the away goals rule to Barcelona (Barca having ko’d Town from the previous years UEFA Cup tournament - on penalties!). But that’s another story.
Here's one pic from the 1978 trip...
And there are more here.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Jenbach Sportspark, Jenbach, Austria
Today’s snap is of the home of SG Jenbach who, if my research is correct, play in division 3B of the Edelweiss liga, the Austrian semi-pro league. The town of Jenbach was our base for seven of our ten day excursion to the Tyrolean Alps (see yesterday for more details), and is Austria’s equivalent of Crewe I guess, being an important intersection for a number of major rail lines and, for train lover’s amongst you, also the home of the Achenseebahn mountain railway (steam) and the Zillertalbahn (also steam).
On a slight tangent, learnt today from a local guy I was talking to that the winner of this years World Yodelling Championships, was neither an Austrian, a Swiss or a German, but much to the disgust of all three Germanic nations, a Japanese businessman.
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Grenzland Stadion, Kufstein, Austria
Welcome to day three of Mrs Extreme Groundhopping and I’s 10-day train excursion to and around the Austrian Tyrol. Being very much the do-it-yourself type as far as travel is concerned I agreed to sign-up for this organised/escorted holiday with some trepidation but have to say that the whole thing was superb and take my hat-off to travel company Great Rail Journeys for making it so.
The idea is that you travel to and from some world-wide destination by train, as far as is possible to do so, and once at your destination, in our case the Tyrol, you get to ride on some of the unique train lines in that locale. Anyway I won’t bore you with details other than to say that we passed numerous football stadia, of various shapes and sizes along the way, and a few ground snaps are included here for your perusal.
Today it’s the 4,000 capacity Grenzland Stadion home of FC Kufstein and a more picturesque setting for a football ground you can’t imagine with the 13th century Kufstein Fortress just a half-a-mile or so to the south, the imposing Tyrolean Alps to the north and the expansive river Inn immediately to the west.
Kufstein, by the way, ply their trade in the Red Zac Erste Liga, the Austrian equivalent of the Championship.
a (mainly) pictorial account of one man's obsession with football stadia, floodlight pylon's and ipswich town football club
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Ground Visit RecordENGLAND
(Fitness First Stadium)
(Wicor Recreation Ground)
(King's Marsh Stadium)
(Alton (Bass) Sports Ground)
(Brantham Athletic Sports & Social Club)
Brighton & Hove Albion
Brighton & Hove Albion
(New Writtle Street)
(Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre)
(Saunders Honda Stadium)
Dagenham & Redbridge
Debenham Leisure Centre
(Brewers Green Lane)
(Rush Green Bowl)
Felixstowe & Walton United
Great Yarmouth Town
(Wellesley Recreation Ground)
Harwich & Parkeston
Havant & Waterlooville
(West Leigh Park)
(Glass World Stadium)
(Five Heads Park)
(SEH Sports Ground )
(The New Den)
(National Hockey Stadium)
Netley Central Sports
(Station Road Recreation Ground)
(St James' Park)
(Cricket Field Road)
Preston North End
Queens Park Rangers
Saffron Walden Town
(Raymond McEnhill Stadium)
Soham Town Rangers
(Julius Martin Lane)
St Albans City
(New Farm Road)
(Green Meadows Stadium)
(Stadium of Light)
(White Hart Lane)
United Services Portsmouth
(Vosper Thornycroft Sports Ground)
Walsham Le Willows
(Walsham Sports Club Ground)
West Bromwich Albion
West Ham United
(King George V Playing Field )
(Denplan City Ground)
(St. Georges Lane)
Heart of Midlothian
(North Sydney Oval)
SW Wacker Innsbruck
(Constant Vanden Stock Stadium)
1. FC Koeln
1. FC Union Berlin
(Stadion An der Alten Försterei)
(Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam)
(GN Bouw Stadion)
(Abe Lenstra Stadium)
(Willem II Stadion)
(Gamla Ullevi (Old))
(Comiskey Park I)
Tampa Bay Rowdies
(Tampa Bay Stadium)