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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Revisited: Heart of Midlothian

Wednesday 22 September, 2004
Heart of Midlothian 2 Kilmarnock 1
(Scottish League Cup Round 3)
Tynecastle, Edinburgh, Scotland

Tynecastle

Normally when I find myself in a previously unvisited Town or City you can pretty much guarantee that it’s football club will not have a single home match scheduled (not first team, not reserve, not youth, or even ladies) for the whole period I’m there. So you can imagine my excitement two years ago when I found myself working up in Edinburgh, that Hearts would be taking on Kilmarnock in a third round Scottish League Cup tie that very week.

This was the era immediately prior to the Jambo’s takeover by Russian born businessman and former Soviet Submariner Vladimir Romanov. The upturn in the clubs fortunes that have occurred since have been well publicised but back on that warmish night in September 2004, with just under 6,000 kicking around inside Tynecastle, there was not even an inkling in the air of what was to come.

From my hotel, close to Haymarket Station, it’s an easy twenty-minute walk out along Daley Road into the Gorgie district of Edinburgh and Heart of Midlothian’s Tynecastle ground. Three sides of this famous venue where completely rebuilt in the 1990’s, each boasting slick looking single tiered stands with the club’s distinctive crest picked out in the maroon coloured seats. But the main attraction as far as I’m concerned is the old McLeod Street Grandstand, the work of stadium architect Archie Leitch, and that’s where I headed for the evening.

This was one of Leitch’s less auspicious efforts, both in terms of the final product and the getting there. Alarms bells should have started ringing when the initial build estimate of £6,000 just £1,723 short of Hearts gate receipts for an entire season, where handed to the board in 1913. By the time construction was completed in late 1914 the final bill was £12,178, and the by now less than Jolly Jambo’s had had to sell star player Percy Dawson to help cover the difference.

At the time Leitch was also engaged at Aston Villa, tied-up in a wrangle with Arsenal over the construction of the new Highbury Stadium, while simultaneously moving offices from Liverpool to London – the Gorgie project obviously did not have his full attention. A fractious project from the off, involving a four-way fight between Leitch, Hearts, Edinburgh City Council, and the building contractors, Leitch still managed a grandstand of some merit. Although lacking one of his trademark decorative gables, it still features a mosaic floor in the entrance hall, an attractive red brick façade, light weight fire proof floors, known as Kleine decking (quite an advanced product in its time) and has an almost intimate atmosphere despite a capacity of 4,000. You can almost feel yourself being transported back in time ...

The following week, and still in Edinburgh, I had hoped to get across town to visit the home of Tony Mowbray’s Hibernian at Easter Road. A late finish at the office, and a steady downpour, conspired to stop my watching a reserve game in Leith. Perhaps another time.

posted by chevblue at 5:56 pm






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Ground Visit Record

ENGLAND

AFC Bournemouth
(Fitness First Stadium)

AFC Portchester
(Wicor Recreation Ground)

AFC Sudbury
(King's Marsh Stadium)

AFC Totton
(Testwood Park)

Aldershot Town
(Recreation Ground)

Alton Town
(Alton (Bass) Sports Ground)

Arsenal
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Arsenal
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Aston Villa
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Barnet
(Underhill)

Barnsley
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Basildon United
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Billericay Town
(New Lodge)

Birmingham City
(St Andrews)

Blackburn Rovers
(Ewood Park)

Blackpool
(Bloomfield Road)

Bolton Wanderers
(Reebok Stadium)

Bolton Wanderers
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Boston United
(York Street)

Bradford City
(Valley Parade)

Braintree Town
(Cressing Road)

Brantham Athletic
(Brantham Athletic Sports & Social Club)

Brentford
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Brighton & Hove Albion
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Brighton & Hove Albion
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Bristol City
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Bristol Rovers
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Burnley
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Bury
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Bury Town
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Cambridge City
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Cambridge United
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Chelmsford City
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Chelmsford City
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Chelsea
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Chester City
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Colchester United
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Cornard United
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Coventry City
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Coventry City
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Crewe Alexandra
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Crystal Palace
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Dagenham & Redbridge
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Dartford
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Debenham Leisure Centre
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Derby County
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Derby County
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Diss Town
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Eastleigh
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Ely City
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Everton
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Fareham Town
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FC Clacton
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FC Fleetlands
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Felixstowe & Walton United
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Framlingham Town
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Fulham
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Gillingham
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Gorleston
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Gosport Borough
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Great Yarmouth Town
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Grimsby Town
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Hadleigh United
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Halstead Town
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Hamble ASSC
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Harwich & Parkeston
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Havant & Waterlooville
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Heybridge Swifts
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Histon
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Huddersfield Town
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Hull City
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Hull City
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Ipswich Town
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Ipswich Wanderers
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Kingstonians
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Leeds United
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Leicester City
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Leicester City
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Leiston
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Leyton Orient
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Millwall
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MK Dons
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MK Dons
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Needham Market
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Netley Central Sports
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Newmarket Town
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Tiptree United
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Tottenham Hotspurs
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United Services Portsmouth
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VT FC
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West Bromwich Albion
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Whitton United
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Winchester City
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Witham Town
(Spa Road)

Wivenhoe Town
(Broad Lane)

Woking
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Wolverhampton Wanderers
(Molineux)

Woodbrige Town
(Notcutts Park)

Worcester City
(St. Georges Lane)

WALES

Cardiff City
(Ninian Park)

SCOTLAND

Aberdeen
(Pittodrie Stadium)

Heart of Midlothian
(Tynecastle Stadium)

AUSTRALIA

Northern Spirit
(North Sydney Oval)

AUSTRIA

SW Wacker Innsbruck
(Tivoli Stadion)

BELGIUM

RSC Anderlect
(Constant Vanden Stock Stadium)

FC Brugge
(Olympiastadion)

SV Zulte-Waregem
(Regenboogstadion)

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Helsingor IF
(Helsingor Stadion)

ESTONIA

FC Flora
(Lillekula Stadium)

FINLAND

HJK Helsinki
(Finnair Stadium)

VPS
(Hietalahti Stadium)

Tampere United
(Tammelan Stadium)

FRANCE

St.Etienne
(G.Guichard Stadium)

GERMANY

1. FC Koeln
(Mungersdorfer Stadion)

Borussia Dortmund
(Westfalenstadion )

1. FC Union Berlin
(Stadion An der Alten Försterei)

HOLLAND

AZ Alkmaar
(Alkmaarder Hout)

AZ Alkmaar
(Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam)

FC Dordrecht
(GN Bouw Stadion)

FC Groningen
(Euroborg)

FC Utrecht
(Galgenwaard Stadion)

Feyenoord
(De Kuip)

NEC Nijmegen
(Goffert Stadium)

PEC Zwolle
(Oosterenkstadion)

PSV Eindhoven
(Philips Stadion)

SC Heerenveen
(Abe Lenstra Stadium)

Twente Enschede
(Arke Stadion)

Twente Enschede
(Diekman Stadion)

Vitesse Arnhem
(Gelredome)

Willem II
(Willem II Stadion)

IRELAND

Bray Wanderers
(Carlisle Grounds)

Dublin City
(Tolka Park)

ITALY

Inter Milan
(San Siro)

LUXEMBOURG

Avenir Beggen
(Stade Josy-Barthel)

NORWAY

Skeid Oslo
(Ulevall)

POLAND

Widzew Lodz
(Stadion LKS)

SPAIN

Barcelona
(Nou Camp)

Real Madrid
(San Bernabeu)

Valencia
(Luis Casanova)

SWEDEN

Orgryte IS
(Gamla Ullevi (Old))

Helsingborgs IF
(Olympia Stadium)

Landskrona Bois
(Idrottspark)

Malmo FF
(Malmo Stadion)

Mjallby AIF
(Strandvallen)

Trelleborgs FF
(Vangavallen)

IFK Goteborg
(Ullevi)

USA

Chicago Sting
(Comiskey Park I)

Chicago Sting
(Wrigley Field)

Chicago Sting
(Chicago Stadium)

Chicago Sting
(Rosemont Horizon)

Chicago Sting
(Rockford MetroCenter)

Chicago Vultures
(Odeum)

Milwaukee Bavarians
(Bavarian Center)

Schwaben AC
(Schwaben Center)

Tampa Bay Rowdies
(Tampa Bay Stadium)