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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Revisited: Coventry City (Highfield Road)

Highfield Road

School PE lessons during the winter months were, invariably, spent playing football. Chum Paul and I (the two most inept players in our year) were always the last two left when team selections were made, which of course meant we spent the game at opposite ends of the pitch tending goal. Not very well. On one particular occasion an up-field punt of mine was caught in the wind, sailed back over my head and bounced off the top of cross bar and out for a corner. Numerous other examples of ineptitude could be listed here but I’ll spare you the details.

My PE kit included a selection of coloured t-shirts, and being well before the age of the replica shirt a collection of cloth club badges were acquired (through an ad in Charles Buchan’s Football Monthly or possibly Goal Magazine) to match the colour of the t-shirts and expertly sewn to said t-shirts by mum. So, for reasons that escape me know but which certainly had nothing to do with club allegiance, a sky blue shirt with Coventry City badge attached became my favourite.

My more successful goal kicks would lead to spells of action in the other half (and a chance for mate Paul to make a big girls blouse of himself in the opposite goal) and a chance for me to ponder the meaning of life whilst simultaneously trying to make sense of the Coventry badge and it’s elephant clinging to the underside of a football (viewed upside down of course). None of which has anything at all to do with Highfield Road which was Coventry City’s home from 1899 to 2005. The pictures here were taken at my ninth and final appearance at the ground in January 2004.

31-03-1973 Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
22-02-1975 Coventry City 3 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
07-10-1978 Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 2 (Division One)
01-12-1979 Coventry City 4 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
28-02-1981 Coventry City 0 Ipswich Town 4 (Division One)
01-10-1983 Coventry City 1 Ipswich Town 2 (Division One)
20-10-2001 Coventry City 0 Ipswich Town 1 (FA Premier League)
12-04-2003 Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 4 (Nationwide League Division One)
31-01-2004 Coventry City 1 Ipswich Town 1 (Nationwide League Division One)

Highfield Road

Highfield Road

Highfield Road

Highfield Road

The pictures continue here.

posted by chevblue at 8:53 pm 0 comments

Football Statues

No 9 (in a series of several): Sir Matt Busby (1909-1994)

Sir Matt Busby

Sitting over the entrance to the Megastore at Old Trafford, and unveiled in 1996, is a statue of Sir Matt Busby. Busby was Manchester United manager from 1945-69 and again for the 1970-71 season, United winning five league titles, two FA Cups and their very first European Cup under his tutelage. As a player he made 226 league appearances for United's rivals Manchester City (he won an FA Cup winners medal with the Maine Road outfit in 1934) and 188 for Liverpool.

More football statues here.

posted by chevblue at 6:12 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

City of Manchester Stadium

City of Manchester Stadium

Finally sorted out the pictures from our tour of the City of Manchester Stadium taken earlier this month. It was just a couple of days after a Foo Fighters concert which explains the missing seats at the northern end of the ground which had been taken out to make room for the stage. The pitch had been covered during the gig and you can see the ground staff scurrying around in tractors repairing the surface in a number of the shots. There are a couple of pictures taken in Manchester City Museum (the life size figure is of Colin Bell – King of the Kippax), the large metal sculpture (located to the south-east of the stadium) is named the “B of the Bang” and all the others I hope are pretty self-explanatory.

City of Manchester Stadium               City of Manchester Stadium

City of Manchester Stadium

City of Manchester Stadium               City of Manchester Stadium

City of Manchester Stadium

The pictures continue here.

posted by chevblue at 9:42 pm 0 comments

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Panorama Mania 2!

Click for a larger image

Continuing with the Mancunian theme to my posts over the past month here are a number of panorama’s of the city’s two Premiership grounds. The exterior shot of Old Trafford was taken on a visit to Salford two weeks ago and goes quite nicely with an internal shot taken by a friend just before the England-Spain friendly at Manchester United’s home in February 2007 that can be found here.

Click for a larger image

The shot of the City of Manchester Stadium was taken the same week when the good lady and I took a tour of the stadium. It too is complimented by shots of the interior taken from each of the venues three tiers here, here and here.

Since I last made mention of the growing collection of panoramas over on our "big brother" site a year ago additions have included West Leigh Park, Wembley Stadium, KC Stadium, Glanford Park, Carrow Road, Stonebridge Road and quite a few more. They can all be found here.

posted by chevblue at 11:04 am 0 comments

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Revisited: Bolton Wanderers (Burnden Park)

Saturday, April 21, 1979
Bolton Wanderers 2 Ipswich Town 3
Football League Division One
Burnden Park, Bolton

Going to the Match by LS Lowry

A short walk from Old Trafford are the Salford Quays - formerly the Salford Docks that served the Manchester Shipping Canal from 1894 to 1982 - an area that over the past decade has been transformed into a shiny new development of shops, offices and trendy apartments. Part of this development is the funky looking Lowry Arts Complex which houses the Lowry Gallery, an excellent collection of the works of the late LS Lowry, the artist famed for his matchstick characters set against urban and industrial backdrops in the north-west.

One of his more famous works is entitled “Going to the Match” (pictured above) which is the very first piece you see as you enter the exhibit (well worth a visit if you are in the area). The painting is owned by the Professional Footballers Association, and was obtained at auction in 1999 at the behest of their Chief Executive Gordon Taylor to “keep the picture in football”. For a cool £1.9Million. The work shows supporters on their way to Bolton Wanderers Burnden Park circa 1953 and in the words of Taylor “represents the heart and soul of the game - the anticipation of the crowds going to the match”. Spot On – It’s a great piece.

My one and only visit to Burnden Park was in 1979 for the Division One game between Wanderers and Ipswich, which the visitors won 3-2. I don’t recall that much about the day apart from the decrepit state of the ground and a quite stunning goal from the top flights leading goal scorer at the time Bolton’s Frank Worthington that you can watch below. Twice!

posted by chevblue at 6:37 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Newton Heath FC

Newton Heath FC

A mile and a half to the east of Manchester city centre is Sportcity the focal point of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and a complex that includes a number of sports venues and the 48,000 seater City of Manchester Stadium home to Manchester City since 2003 (more on that in a future post). Interestingly though, it was City’s rivals Manchester United (then as Newton Heath FC) who were the original tenants of the site, albeit from 1893 to 1910, playing on the very eastern edge of the modern day Sportcity site on Bank Street.

Newton Heath FCThe car park for the National Cycling Centre (pictured top) covers what would then have been the pitch while the cycling centre itself occupies the site of what at the time was a boiler works that, according to reports from the Manchester Guardian of the era, “poured mists of steam over the ground” during matches. Add to that a slew of factory chimney in the immediate area which “gave forth pungent odours” and you had a less than ideal location for a sporting contest, although it was considered good enough to play host to an inter-league representative match between and England and Scotland. A plaque on a house opposite the site briefly mentions the Red’s connection with the area before they vacated for Old Trafford after playing their last game their – a 5-0 trashing of Tottenham on January 22nd, 1910.

posted by chevblue at 12:34 pm 0 comments

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Football Statues

No 8 (in a series of several): Best, Law & Charlton Trinity Statue

Best, Law & Charlton

After a brief diversion to Innsbruck earlier in the week it’s back to the North West to continue with my current theme of football in Republic of Mancunia...

This larger than life-size bronze triple statue of George Best, Denis Law and Bobby Charlton was unveiled on the 40th anniversary of Manchester United’s very first European Cup Final triumph and just a week or so after their most recent which came of course with the a penalty shoot out win over Chelsea in Moscow. The trio look across Sir Matt Busby Way to Old Trafford where a statue of Busby himself - manager when United beat Benfica at Wembley in 1968- looks down on fan’s approaching the stadium.

More football statues here.

posted by chevblue at 8:19 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Revisited: Tivoli Neu, Innsbruck, Austria

Tivoli Neu

In about fifteen minutes time Spain and Russia will kick-off in their Euro 2008 Group D Match, the first of three games being held in Innsbruck, the capital of Austria’s Tyrolean region.

Tivoli Neu               Tivoli Neu

Coming up to three years ago myself and the Ministering Angel of Domestic Bliss where on our hols in the Innsbruck area (and very nice it is too) and called in at tonight’s venue the Tivoli Neu (home of Wacker Innsbruck).

Tivoli Neu

Here are a few pictures of the stadiums exterior including a sample of some excellent graffiti to be found in a nearby subway which, I would wager, has since been removed to make the area spic-and-span for the duration of this summer’s tournament.

Tivoli Neu

Previous Visits:
FC Wacker Innsbruck

posted by chevblue at 4:45 pm 0 comments

Monday, June 09, 2008

Revisited: Manchester City (Maine Road)

Maine Road

It’s hard to image that the area pictured above was once home to a football ground and that to this day that ground still holds the record for the largest attendance at an English league or cup game. In March 1934 a crowd of 84,569 turned out for the FA Cup tie between City and Stoke, one of a number of massive crowds that watched games at Maine Road during its first two decades of operation including 80,407 for the FA Cup Semi-Final replay between Derby and Birmingham in 1946. The latter is still a record for a midweek match a figure which is made even more remarkable by the fact that the game was played in the afternoon.

Maine Road

Prior to the grounds demolition in 2003 the view (taken from the corner of Maine Road and Lowthorpe Street) would have shown the players, officials and VIP entrance in the centre of the Main Stand. The recently laid road you see now winds its way to what would once have been the centre circle while out of picture the northern half of the playing surface is now covered with housing. The second snap (taken at the Manchester City Experience which is adjacent to the Blue’s new home at the City of Manchester Stadium) shows a model of the stadium as it would have looked as it reached the end of its footballing life – by then with a considerably reduced all-seated capacity of 35,000.

Maine Road

The third snap, also taken at the City of Manchester Stadium, is one of three mosaics that were located above the main entrances to Maine Road when it opened in 1923. The one pictured here is now set in grass in a memorial garden outside City’s new home.

Previous Visits:
01-04-1978 Manchester City 2 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
25-11-1978 Manchester City 1 Ipswich Town 2 (Division One)
03-05-1980 Manchester City 2 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
06-12-1980 Manchester City 1 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
24-04-1982 Manchester City 1 Ipswich Town 1 (Division One)
25-11-2000 Manchester City 2 Ipswich Town 3 (FA Carling Premiership)
12-12-2000 Manchester City 1 Ipswich Town 1 (Worthington Cup Quarter Final) (match abandoned after 23 minutes – waterlogged pitch)

posted by chevblue at 7:03 pm 0 comments

Thursday, June 05, 2008

City Hot Seat

City Hot Seat

Purely by chance on the very day that I and the Ministering Angel of Domestic Bliss were in Manchester for a tour of The City of Manchester Stadium Mark Hughes officially became Manchester City boss (City’s 34th change of manager since the end of WWII).

Pictured below is the seat in the director’s box at Eastlands reserved for the first team coach to give whoever happens to be the manager at the time down in the technical area an appraisal of events on the pitch from a slightly more elevated position. Communication via a telephone housed in the grey box down to their right.

City Hot SeatMost recently it has been occupied by Tord Grip (Sven’s right-hand man), prior to that Stuart Pearce’s second-in-command and the very first occupant Pearce himself (then Kevin Keegan’s lieutenant). From August onwards Sparky’s main men Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will have to fight over what I can assure them is quite a comfy seat!

More to follow regarding our tour of Eastlands and other footie stuff from the North West in the week to come.

posted by chevblue at 10:05 pm 0 comments

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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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Ground Visit Record


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)



Aston Villa
(Villa Park)



Basildon United
(Gardiners Close)

Billericay Town
(New Lodge)

Birmingham City
(St Andrews)

Blackburn Rovers
(Ewood Park)

(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)

(Griffin Park)

Brighton & Hove Albion
(Withdean Stadium)

Brighton & Hove Albion
(Goldstone Ground)

Bristol City
(Ashton Gate)

Bristol Rovers

(Hayes Lane)

(Turf Moor)

(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)

(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)

(Watling Street)

Debenham Leisure Centre

Derby County
(Pride Park)

Derby County
(Baseball Ground)

Diss Town
(Brewers Green Lane)

(Sparshatts Stadium)

Ely City
(Unwin Ground)

(Goodison Park)

Fareham Town
(Cams Alders)

FC Clacton
(Rush Green Bowl)

FC Fleetlands
(Lederle Lane)

Felixstowe & Walton United
(Dellwood Avenue)

Framlingham Town
(Sports Ground)

(Craven Cottage)


(Emerald Park)

Gosport Borough
(Privett Park)

Great Yarmouth Town
(Wellesley Recreation Ground)

Grimsby Town
(Blundell Park)

Hadleigh United

Halstead Town
(Rosemary Lane)

Hamble ASSC
(Follands Park)

Harwich & Parkeston
(Royal Oak)

Havant & Waterlooville
(West Leigh Park)

Heybridge Swifts
(Scraley Road)

(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 )


Leeds United
(Elland Road)

Leicester City
(Walkers Stadium)

Leicester City
(Filbert Street)

(Victory Road)

Leyton Orient
(Brisbane Road)

Lincoln City
(Cincil Bank)


Long Melford

Lowestoft Town
(Crown Meadows)

Luton Town
(Kenilworth Road)

Manchester City
(Maine Road)

Manchester United
(Old Trafford)

(Ayresome Park)

(The New Den)

(The Den)

MK Dons
(National Hockey Stadium)

MK Dons

Needham Market

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)

(Fratton Park)

Preston North End

Queens Park Rangers
(Loftus Road)

(Madejski Stadium)

(Oakside Stadium)

Romsey Town
(Bypass Ground)

Rotherham United

Saffron Walden Town
(Catons Lane)

Salisbury City
(Raymond McEnhill Stadium)

Scunthorpe United
(Glanford Park)

Sheffield United
(Bramall Lane)

Sheffield Wednesday

Shrewsbury Town
(Gay Meadow)

Shrewsbury Town
(Prostar Stadium)

Soham Town Rangers
(Julius Martin Lane)

(St Mary's)

(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)

(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)

(Vosper Thornycroft Sports Ground)

(Bescot Stadium)

(Fellows Park)

Walsham Le Willows
(Walsham Sports Club Ground)

(Vicarage Road)

Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium

West Bromwich Albion
(The Hawthorns)

West Ham United
(Upton Park)

Whitton United
(King George V Playing Field )

Wigan Athletic
(JJB Stadium)

(Plough Lane)

Winchester City
(Denplan City Ground)

Witham Town
(Spa Road)

Wivenhoe Town
(Broad Lane)

(Kingfield Stadium)

Wolverhampton Wanderers

Woodbrige Town
(Notcutts Park)

Worcester City
(St. Georges Lane)


Cardiff City
(Ninian Park)


(Pittodrie Stadium)

Heart of Midlothian
(Tynecastle Stadium)


Northern Spirit
(North Sydney Oval)


SW Wacker Innsbruck
(Tivoli Stadion)


RSC Anderlect
(Constant Vanden Stock Stadium)

FC Brugge

SV Zulte-Waregem


FC Kobenhavn
(Gladsaxe Stadion)

Helsingor IF
(Helsingor Stadion)


FC Flora
(Lillekula Stadium)


HJK Helsinki
(Finnair Stadium)

(Hietalahti Stadium)

Tampere United
(Tammelan Stadium)


(G.Guichard Stadium)


1. FC Koeln
(Mungersdorfer Stadion)

Borussia Dortmund
(Westfalenstadion )

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


AZ Alkmaar
(Alkmaarder Hout)

AZ Alkmaar
(Olympic Stadium, Amsterdam)

FC Dordrecht
(GN Bouw Stadion)

FC Groningen

FC Utrecht
(Galgenwaard Stadion)

(De Kuip)

NEC Nijmegen
(Goffert Stadium)

PEC Zwolle

PSV Eindhoven
(Philips Stadion)

SC Heerenveen
(Abe Lenstra Stadium)

Twente Enschede
(Arke Stadion)

Twente Enschede
(Diekman Stadion)

Vitesse Arnhem

Willem II
(Willem II Stadion)


Bray Wanderers
(Carlisle Grounds)

Dublin City
(Tolka Park)


Inter Milan
(San Siro)


Avenir Beggen
(Stade Josy-Barthel)


Skeid Oslo


Widzew Lodz
(Stadion LKS)


(Nou Camp)

Real Madrid
(San Bernabeu)

(Luis Casanova)


Orgryte IS
(Gamla Ullevi (Old))

Helsingborgs IF
(Olympia Stadium)

Landskrona Bois

Malmo FF
(Malmo Stadion)

Mjallby AIF

Trelleborgs FF

IFK Goteborg


Chicago Sting
(Comiskey Park I)

Chicago Sting
(Wrigley Field)

Chicago Sting
(Chicago Stadium)

Chicago Sting
(Rosemont Horizon)

Chicago Sting
(Rockford MetroCenter)

Chicago Vultures

Milwaukee Bavarians
(Bavarian Center)

Schwaben AC
(Schwaben Center)

Tampa Bay Rowdies
(Tampa Bay Stadium)