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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Scunthorpe United 1 Ipswich Town 2

Coca-Cola Championship
Glanford Park, Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire

Scunthorpe UnitedWhen Town’s fixture list was published back in June or July of last year one of the first games I looked for was today’s clash at Glanford Park, simply because it was the only side in the division whose ground I had yet to visit (OK, strictly speaking Hull’s KC Stadium was another but I had previously seen the Tigers play at their old Boothferry Park ground). Most Ipswich supporters at today’s game would be making their first visit there too as Town had previously played at Glanford Park on just two occasions, both friendlies, since it became, in 1988, the first new ground to be built in England since the end of World War Two.

Baths Hall, Scunthorpe

Accompanied by Extreme Groundhopping Junior, who had kindly treated me to the return train fare from Ipswich to Scunthorpe as an early birthday present, off we set from Ipswich, changing first at Peterborough and then at Doncaster, to the North Lincolnshire town arriving in plenty of time for lunch, a look around the town centre (five minutes is more than sufficient for this) and then out along the Doncaster Road to Glanford Park, a route that takes you past United’s former ground.

Site of the Old Showground, Scunthorpe

Before moving to their current home the Iron had played at the Old Showground on Doncaster Road, since 1867, which in addition to having the country’s first cantilever stand (opened in 1958) boasted a capacity of 24,000. Part of the deal that saw the move out to Glanford Park was the sale of the site to Safeway for redevelopment as a supermarket, which has changed hands a number of times before becoming a Sainsbury’s in 2004 (see picture). A plaque by the main entrance is now the only reminder of the site’s former tenants.

Scunthorpe United

Opposite Sainsbury’s is Baths Hall (also pictured). Originally constructed in the 1930’s - as the name suggests - as a public bath house, the building was converted for use as a music venue in the 1970’s and was regularly frequented by the late and great John Peel and has hosted many well known bands including two of my all-time favourites The Damned and The Kinks. Having been saved from the bulldozers by the current Labour Council the hall is currently closed awaiting a major refurbishment.

Scunthorpe United

A further mile-and-a-half along Doncaster Road, Glanford Park sits next to a slew of retail outlets, a Tesco’s and a gardening centre. Known locally - but not entirely with love and affection by a number of home fans that we spoke to - as the Biscuit Tin, the ground is totally enclosed by four low level single tiered stands. Three of the these are all-seated: The Scunthorpe Telegraph Stand on the west touchline houses the changing rooms, club offices and executive boxes, opposite that is the Grove Wharf Stand and behind the southern goal is the away end or AMS Stand.

Scunthorpe United

The AMS Stand holds 1,600 visiting fans and despite Town’s appalling away form over the past year-and-a-half appeared, remarkably, to be full from were we were seated (at the very back of the stand in row M). The fourth and remaining stand is the Study United FC Stand (or the Donny Road End as it is still more popularly known) which is terraced giving Glanford Park a total capacity of 9,088. Apart from a number of annoyingly positioned supporting pillars for the roof, and the fact that the whole place could do with a lick of paint, this is not a bad little ground, a panoramic view of which can be found here.

Scunthorpe United

The match was a notable one for a number of reasons in addition to being only the third away victory all season for the Tractorati. Scunthorpe’s Ian Baraclough, was making his 700th career appearance. The defender, who signed for the Iron in 2004, has played for seven other clubs in a career that has spanned three decades. Town’s Pablo Counago netted Town’s opening goal in the first half before picking up the third red card of his Ipswich career for a spat of handbag’s at twenty paces with Jack Cork in the second. Fellow Spaniard Castro Sito, who prior to today’s game had yet to score for the Blue’s, went on a mazy run through the home defence in the 71st minute to net a superb goal a goal that proved to be the winner after Ben May netted a late consolation for the home side almost on full time.

Scunthorpe, making their first appearance in the second tier of English football for the first time in forty-three years, have the look of a doomed side (six points from safety at the time of writing) and will sadly be returning to League One after just a season in the Championship.

Vital statistics: Train Fare 43 pounds, All-Day Breakfast in Scunny 3 pounds 60 pence (magic), Admission 18 pounds, match programme 3 pounds, attendance 6,636.

Match Number: 1425

posted by chevblue at 11:33 pm

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extreme groundhopping

a (mainly) pictorial account of one man's obsession with football stadia, floodlight pylon's and ipswich town football club

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AFC Bournemouth
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AFC Portchester
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AFC Sudbury
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AFC Totton
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Aldershot Town
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Alton Town
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Aston Villa
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Basildon United
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Billericay Town
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Birmingham City
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Blackburn Rovers
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(Bloomfield Road)

Bolton Wanderers
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Bolton Wanderers
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Boston United
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Bradford City
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Braintree Town
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Brantham Athletic
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(Griffin Park)

Brighton & Hove Albion
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Brighton & Hove Albion
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Bristol City
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Bristol Rovers

(Hayes Lane)

(Turf Moor)

(Gigg Lane)

Bury Town
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Cambridge City
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Cambridge United
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Charlton Athletic
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Chelmsford City
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Chelmsford City
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(Stamford Bridge)

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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(Watling Street)

Debenham Leisure Centre

Derby County
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Derby County
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Diss Town
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Ely City
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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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Gosport Borough
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Great Yarmouth Town
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Grimsby Town
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Hadleigh United

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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Horndean Town
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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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Leeds United
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Leicester City
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Leicester City
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Leyton Orient
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Lincoln City
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Lowestoft Town
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Manchester City
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MK Dons
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Scunthorpe United
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Stanway Rovers
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Stockport County
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Stoke City
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Swindon Town
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Thetford Town
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United Services Portsmouth
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West Ham United
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Wigan Athletic
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Worcester City
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Cardiff City
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Heart of Midlothian
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Northern Spirit
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SW Wacker Innsbruck
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RSC Anderlect
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FC Brugge

SV Zulte-Waregem


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Helsingor IF
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HJK Helsinki
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Tampere United
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Borussia Dortmund
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AZ Alkmaar
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FC Dordrecht
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NEC Nijmegen
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PEC Zwolle

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