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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hull City

Hull City 3 Ipswich Town 1
Coca-Cola Championship
KC Stadium
Kingston-upon-Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire

Hull City

Kingston-upon-Hull gets short shrift a bit more often than it is rightly due in my humble opinion even being named as the worst place to live in the UK by the Channel 4 documentary “The Best and Worst Places to Live” back in 2005. It’s not than bad indeed I almost took a job there in the mid-90’s, opting in the end for a position in London, and now twelve years on I work for a company that ships gawd knows how many ten of thousands of containers through the Port of Hull each year. But that’s by the by.

Hull CityAmong the many noticeable assets the area can boast is the pretty awesome Humber Bridge. In fact my last football trip to Hull, way back in 1983 when the Tigers were still entrenched at Boothferry Park, was just a year or so after it was officially opened by HM the Queen. Apart from being a quite extraordinary feat of engineering (it’s centre span alone is 1.4 Km long) it’s sits, in my humble opinion, quite elegantly in it’s surrounds. Watch it here.

Another gem is the KC (Kingston Communication) Stadium, which opened in 2002 and that the footie club and Hull FC Rugby Club share. Two years ago a poll of some 3,000 fans to find England's best stadium put the £44 Million 25,000-capacity ground in top place based on comfort, facilities and view. Although in my opinion they skimped a bit on leg room.

A picture paints a thousand words, the saying goes, so rather than attempting to describe the KC’s interior with my own ramblings two panoramas that will do a much better job can be found here and here. The second one is not up to Extreme Groundhopping’s usually high standards (!) but I’ve put it online to show what I thought was a pretty neat roof line. Which it must be said was far more interesting than the game being played underneath it. The floodlighting is also rather unique consisting as it does of two pylons that rise like two large croquet hoops out of the eastern roof while the lighting from the western flank is built into the roof line.

Hull City

Vital statistics: Admission 23 Pounds, match programme 3 pounds, attendance: 15,456.

Match Number: 1397

posted by chevblue at 8:47 pm 0 comments


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Football Statues

No 5 (in a series of several): Sir Stanley Matthews (1915-2000)

Sir Stanley Matthews

Sir Stanley Matthews certainly needs no introduction from me. This statue outside Stoke City’s Britannia Stadium was erected in memory of the former Stoke, Blackpool and England legend in October 2001 and a fine work it is too. The rightmost figure shows Sir Stanley in the 1930’s, the middle figure captures him playing for England in the 1950’s, while the leftmost statue shows him as he reached the end of his career in 1965 (an incredible thirty-one years after his international debut). The three statues are all to scale and every detail of the strip, boots and balls is authentic. The picture was taken prior to the Stoke v Ipswich Championship game on Monday January 2nd, 2006.

posted by chevblue at 4:02 pm 0 comments


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ipswich Town 4 Coventry City 1

Ipswich TownCoca-Cola Championship
Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Town continued their excellent start to the season - recording a third consecutive home win and the second by a 4-1 margin - in a game with a late afternoon kick-off for the benefit of Sky TV. Pablo Counago netted twice, and Jason De Vos and Jon Walters scored one a peice, while Stephen Hughes hit a late consolation for Iain Dowie's Sky Blues.

Vital statistics: Admission by Season Ticket, programme three pounds, attendance 18,840.

Match Number: 1396

posted by chevblue at 9:06 pm 0 comments


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Stanway Rovers

Stanway RoversStanway Rovers 5 Leiston 1
Ridgeons League Premier Division
New Farm Road, Stanway, Essex

Not far from Stanway Rover’s Hawthorn Ground is a late Iron Age/early Roman burial site which was excavated, between 1987 and 1997, on what is now a sand and gravel quarry. The most recent graves found were dated at around AD 60 suggesting that it was a burial place for prominent locals from and around the Roman’s first British settlement, Colchester, or Colonia Claudia Victricensis as it was catch-ingly known at the time.

Significant dates in Stanway Rover’s history are somewhat more recent. Re-formed in 1956 they moved to their current home on New Farm Road twenty-three years later in 1979, joined the Eastern Counties league (then the Jewson League and now the Ridgeons) in 1992, and, at the fourteenth attempt, won the Ridgeons First Division title in 2006 for a place at the top table. All quite unremarkable, as is their Hawthorns Ground (the irony of the clubs colours of Gold and Black may not be lost on any West Brom fan’s that may stumble across this blog. Speaking of which I do think MOTD2, hosted by Baggies fan Adrian Chiles, is infinitely superior to MOTD with Lineker and his crones. How about you?)

Stanway Rovers

With average attendances barely topping the fifty mark you would have thought the club officials would do anything to attract more fans or at least treat those that do show up with a modicum of courtesy. Well unfortunately that was not the way your humble reporter was treated by a suited jobsworth this afternoon. No doubt released on his own recognisance from nearby Colchester Zoo for the day.

The official took great offence to me taking pictures of the entrance to the ground, yes, snaps of the spectator entrance, suggesting that I was some sort of national security threat. He really did take some persuading before accepting that I wasn’t a member of an Al-Qaeda cell planning an outrage in Stanway that very afternoon.

Vital statistics: Admission 5 pounds, match programme 1 pound, pre-match cuppa 50 pence, attendance 66.

Match Number: 1395

posted by chevblue at 5:39 pm 1 comments


Friday, September 14, 2007

Revisited: Derby County (Baseball Ground)

January 19th, 2002
Derby County U-19s 2 Newcastle United U-19’s 0
FA Premier Academy League
Baseball Ground
Derby

Baseball Ground

The Baseball Ground was Derby County’s home from 1895 until they moved across town to Pride Park in 1997. For the next six years until it’s demolition in 2003-04 the ground continued to be used for Rams reserves and youth games and it was for one of the later that Junior and I bid farewell to this venerable old ground in a midday fixture between Derby and Newcastle (en route to a Premier League fixture between the Rams and Ipswich at Pride Park later that day).

Baseball Ground

With a capacity of 42,000 the stadium was, as the names suggests, first used for baseball and the original tenants, Derby County Baseball Club, where the first champions of National Baseball League of Great Britain and Ireland in 1890. By the time it hosted it's last senior Ram’s game the capacity had been reduced to just over 18,000. Probably it’s finest era if not hour was the 1970’s when, with Brian Clough at the helm, Derby won the league title in 1971-72 and 1974-75.

Baseball Ground

Behind each goal were cantilevered stands whose lower terraces didn’t quite line-up with the goal-lines giving the ground an odd wedge shape appearance. This was not a ground that offered the best of views. I once stood behind one of the goals with an old flame who was unable to see a single minute of match action due to a large crowd (well Ipswich were the visitors of course) and the poor rake of the terracing (the fact that she was only 5’ 4” didn’t help either it must be said).

A few more pictures can be found here.

posted by chevblue at 9:12 pm 2 comments


Monday, September 10, 2007

Ipswich Town Reserves 5 Southend United Reserves 4

Pontins Football Combination League
Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Ipswich Town

A see-sawing thriller that went something like this:

Ipswich Town1-0 (Sylvain Legwinski 5')
2-0 (Dean Bowditch 18')
2-1
2-2 (just before half-time)
2-3 (66')
3-3 (Bowditch 71')
4-3 (Bowditch - completing his hat-trick - 81')
5-3 (Jordan Rhodes 83')
5-4 (the Shripmers rounding off the scoring in injury time).

Vital statistics: Admission by Season Ticket, no programme but team sheet free, attendance 415.

Ipswich Town

Match Number: 1394

posted by chevblue at 8:44 pm 0 comments


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Tiptree United

Tiptree UnitedTiptree United 6 Sileby Rangers 1
FA Vase First Round Qualifying
Chapel Road, Tiptree, Essex

Tiptree United enjoyed their finest hour in the FA Vase in the 2001-02 season when they reached the final of the competition, a remarkable feat for a village side. En route to the final at Villa Park they KO’d holders Taunton, Pickering, Burgess Hill and fellow Eastern Counties league side AFC Sudbury before a final showdown against Whitley Bay.

A single goal in extra time ended the “Jam Makers” dreams of a major bit of silverware but they do retain the distinction of being one of just a few sides to have entered the competition every year since its inception back in 1974-75.

Tiptree United

Simple Pieman and Harry Hotspur visited Tiptree’s Chapel Road just a few weeks ago - if you’re wondering why a few of the pictures look a bit familiar - and by pure coincidence I would have joined them had it not been for a bit of a delay in an internal decorating project at Chez Extremegroundhopping. However, today’s visit to the Essex club made up for that minor disappointment.

Tiptree UnitedI didn’t take up their recommendation of a visit to the Jam Museum, despite it being free, choosing instead to stroll through the village, in the glorious sunshine, to the Tiptree Windmill for a few pictures. Minus its sails the red brick tower is now a private residence. Overall Tiptree is a pleasant although unremarkable village, so back to the footie…

Tiptree have got off to a bit of flyer in Division One of the Ridgeon’s League and at the time of writing top the division after five games. They have also made it through the extra preliminary and preliminary rounds of the FA Cup for a 1st Qualifying Round tie against Brentwood Town two weeks time. A largish crowd should be on hand for that game when they host the Ryman League side from twenty miles down the A12.

Tiptree United

Tiptree UnitedJust 69 where on hand for today’s game, a shame as there were some real gems in amongst the seven goals which started hitting the back of the net with some regularity after former Colchester United midfielder Tom English put the home side ahead after 20 minutes.

Three-up at the break Tiptree showed no signs of letting up with a further three goals in the second. The best of the seven, however, came almost on the stroke of full-time when Lewis Haycock hit a cracking shot from outside the area for a consolation for Northamptonshire’s Sileby Rangers.

Tiptree United

Vital statistics: Admission 5 pounds, match programme 1 pound, pre-match cuppa 70 pence, attendance 69.

Match Number: 1393

posted by chevblue at 7:37 pm 1 comments


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Ely City

Ely CityEly City 0 Boston Town 1
FA Cup Preliminary Round
Unwin Ground, Ely, Cambridgeshire

Having not ventured into this part of Cambridgeshire for a good number of years (the Extremegroundhopping sprogs were still in nappies at the time) I’d forgotten what a picturesque place Ely is. Dominated by it’s Cathedral (one of the “Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages” and the “Ship of the Fens” it says on Wikipedia), the market town has some wonderful winding and photogenic streets and a pleasant marina, sitting as it does on the banks of River Great Ouse.

Ely City

Quite some way out of the city centre, on the A10 towards Downham Market, sits the Unwin Ground, home to Ely City since 1986. The evocatively named Paradise Ground was their previous home for some ninety years, the club itself dating back to 1885 when it was formed by members of the Ely St.Etheldreda Football and Cricket Club.

Ely CityCambridgeshire’s oldest senior club joined the Eastern Counties (Ridgeons) League in 1960, were league runners-up in 1970, Division One Champions in 1997, and after conceding a whopping 111 goals in the 2002-03 Premier Division campaign have played the last few years back in the league’s second-flight.

The main stand, the “Roger Pauley” stand (see programme cover for picture) has seating for several hundred and offers a very good view of the action as well as the Cathedral off in the distance. It is flanked on either side by two low-level covered standing areas.

FA Cup fever grips the home bench

Behind the right hand one stands the club house, which on this (rare) sunny afternoon was doing a pretty brisk trade in cold beverages. It shares the surrounding area with the local rugby, squash and tennis clubs as well as a golf driving range all of which were doing a far bit of business as the locals took advantage of the closing days of the summer holidays.

Ely CityBy the way, today’s FA Cup opposition Boston Town hail from the United Counties League Premier Division and their Tattershall Road ground was the subject of a non-match day visit by yours truly last year.

Vital statistics: Admission 4 pounds, match programme 50 pence, attendance 166.

Match Number: 1392

posted by chevblue at 8:35 pm 0 comments


Ipswich Town Academy

Ipswich Town 1 Leicester City 1
FA Academy League (U-18)
Playford Road, Ipswich, Suffolk

Ipswich Town Academy

Granted academy status during the summer of 1998, the ITFC youth set-up has, at any one time, around twenty full-time apprentices, who play in the U18 and reserve sides, and one hundred or more schoolboys between the ages of 9 and 16 who play at U-16 level and down.

Ipswich Town AcademyThe various academy teams share the £2Million Playford Road facilities with the seniors and reserves, and a pretty impressive set-up it is too. There's eleven full size pitches, an indoor dome with a field turf playing surface, 14 changing-rooms with showers, a fully equipped gym, and an array of classrooms, treatment rooms and kitchens that must be the envy of many Premiership sides.

Vital statistics: Admission free, no programme but team sheet is free, attendance around 100, breakfast sandwich 3 pounds 80 pence (superb!)

Ipswich Town Academy

Match Number: 1391

posted by chevblue at 8:31 pm 0 comments






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extreme groundhopping

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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
(Emirates)

Arsenal
(Highbury)

Aston Villa
(Villa Park)

Barnet
(Underhill)

Barnsley
(Oakwell)

Basildon United
(Gardiners Close)

Billericay Town
(New Lodge)

Birmingham City
(St Andrews)

Blackburn Rovers
(Ewood Park)

Blackpool
(Bloomfield Road)

Bolton Wanderers
(Reebok Stadium)

Bolton Wanderers
(Burnden Park)

Boston United
(York Street)

Bradford City
(Valley Parade)

Braintree Town
(Cressing Road)

Brantham Athletic
(Brantham Athletic Sports & Social Club)

Brentford
(Griffin Park)

Brighton & Hove Albion
(Withdean Stadium)

Brighton & Hove Albion
(Goldstone Ground)

Bristol City
(Ashton Gate)

Bristol Rovers
(Eastville)

Bromley
(Hayes Lane)

Burnley
(Turf Moor)

Bury
(Gigg Lane)

Bury Town
(Ram Meadow)

Cambridge City
(Milton Road)

Cambridge United
(Abbey Stadium)

Charlton Athletic
(The Valley)

Chelmsford City
(New Writtle Street)

Chelmsford City
(Chelmsford Sport & Athletics Centre)

Chelsea
(Stamford Bridge)

Chester City
(Saunders Honda Stadium)

Colchester United
(Layer Road)

Cornard United
(Blackhouse Lane)

Coventry City
(Ricoh Arena)

Coventry City
(Highfield Road)

Crewe Alexandra
(Gresty Road)

Crystal Palace
(Selhurst Park)

Dagenham & Redbridge
(Victoria Road)

Dartford
(Watling Street)

Debenham Leisure Centre
(Maitlands)

Derby County
(Pride Park)

Derby County
(Baseball Ground)

Diss Town
(Brewers Green Lane)

Eastleigh
(Sparshatts Stadium)

Ely City
(Unwin Ground)

Everton
(Goodison Park)

Fareham Town
(Cams Alders)

FC Clacton
(Rush Green Bowl)

FC Fleetlands
(Lederle Lane)

Felixstowe & Walton United
(Dellwood Avenue)

Framlingham Town
(Sports Ground)

Fulham
(Craven Cottage)

Gillingham
(Priestfield)

Gorleston
(Emerald Park)

Gosport Borough
(Privett Park)

Great Yarmouth Town
(Wellesley Recreation Ground)

Grimsby Town
(Blundell Park)

Hadleigh United
(Millfield)

Halstead Town
(Rosemary Lane)

Hamble ASSC
(Follands Park)

Harwich & Parkeston
(Royal Oak)

Havant & Waterlooville
(West Leigh Park)

Heybridge Swifts
(Scraley Road)

Histon
(Glass World Stadium)

Horndean Town
(Five Heads Park)

Huddersfield Town
(Leeds Road)

Hull City
(KC Stadium)

Hull City
(Boothferry Park)

Ipswich Town
(Portman Road)

Ipswich Wanderers
(SEH Sports Ground )

Kingstonians
(Kingsmeadow)

Leeds United
(Elland Road)

Leicester City
(Walkers Stadium)

Leicester City
(Filbert Street)

Leiston
(Victory Road)

Leyton Orient
(Brisbane Road)

Lincoln City
(Cincil Bank)

Liverpool
(Anfield)

Long Melford
(Stoneylands)

Lowestoft Town
(Crown Meadows)

Luton Town
(Kenilworth Road)

Manchester City
(Maine Road)

Manchester United
(Old Trafford)

Middlesborough
(Ayresome Park)

Millwall
(The New Den)

Millwall
(The Den)

MK Dons
(National Hockey Stadium)

MK Dons
(stadium:mk)

Needham Market
(Bloomfields)

Netley Central Sports
(Station Road Recreation Ground)

Newcastle United
(St James' Park)

Newmarket Town
(Cricket Field Road)

Northampton Town
(County Ground)

Norwich City
(Carrow Road)

Nottingham Forest
(City Ground)

Notts County
(Meadow Lane)

Peterborough United
(London Road)

Petersfield Town
(Love Lane)

Plymouth Argyle
(Home Park)

Port Vale
(Vale Park)

Portsmouth
(Fratton Park)

Preston North End
(Deepdale)

Queens Park Rangers
(Loftus Road)

Reading
(Madejski Stadium)

Redbridge
(Oakside Stadium)

Romsey Town
(Bypass Ground)

Rotherham United
(Millmoor)

Saffron Walden Town
(Catons Lane)

Salisbury City
(Raymond McEnhill Stadium)

Scunthorpe United
(Glanford Park)

Sheffield United
(Bramall Lane)

Sheffield Wednesday
(Hillsborough)

Shrewsbury Town
(Gay Meadow)

Shrewsbury Town
(Prostar Stadium)

Soham Town Rangers
(Julius Martin Lane)

Southampton
(St Mary's)

Southampton
(The Dell)

Southend United
(Roots Hall)

St Albans City
(Clarence Park)

Stanway Rovers
(New Farm Road)

Stockport County
(Edgeley Park)

Stoke City
(Britannia Stadium)

Stoke City
(Victoria Ground)

Stowmarket Town
(Green Meadows Stadium)

Sunderland
(Stadium of Light)

Swaffham Town
(Shoemakers Lane)

Swindon Town
(County Ground)

Thetford Town
(Mundford Road)

Tiptree United
(Chapel Road)

Tottenham Hotspurs
(White Hart Lane)

United Services Portsmouth
(Victory Stadium)

VT FC
(Vosper Thornycroft Sports Ground)

Walsall
(Bescot Stadium)

Walsall
(Fellows Park)

Walsham Le Willows
(Walsham Sports Club Ground)

Watford
(Vicarage Road)

Wembley Stadium
(Old)

Wembley Stadium
(New)

West Bromwich Albion
(The Hawthorns)

West Ham United
(Upton Park)

Whitton United
(King George V Playing Field )

Wigan Athletic
(JJB Stadium)

Wimbledon
(Plough Lane)

Winchester City
(Denplan City Ground)

Witham Town
(Spa Road)

Wivenhoe Town
(Broad Lane)

Woking
(Kingfield Stadium)

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)

DENMARK

FC Kobenhavn
(Gladsaxe Stadion)

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)