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Monday, August 31, 2009

Football Statues

No 13 (in a series of several): Prince Alexander Obolensky 1916-1940

Prince Alexander Obolensky

A slight diversion from previous entries in the Football Statues series in that this one is of Russian-born Prince Alexander Obolensky a proponent of Rugby Football rather than the Association game. Partly funded by Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, the £50,000 statue of Obolensky was unveiled in Ipswich earlier this year.

The Prince entered the history books in 1936 when he scored two tries for England in their first ever victory over the All Blacks. One of the two tries is considered by many to have been amongst the best ever in the Union game.

Prince Alexander Obolensky               Prince Alexander Obolensky

His selection for England caused something of a stir because of his Russian heritage but he would be granted British citizenship later that year. At the outbreak of WWII he joined the RAF and was killed in a plane crash at Martlesham Heath airfield – on the edge of Ipswich - in 1940 and is buried in the town.

More football statues here.

posted by chevblue at 8:11 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fleeting Glimpses

No 1: Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Texas Stadium

Texas Stadium was the home of the Dallas Cowboys from 1971 to 2008. Adjacent to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport it had a capacity of 65,675. Originally designed to be a domed stadium, it was discovered after construction began that the stadium would not be able to support the weight of the entire roof. The cash ran out before this rather fundamental design issue could be resolved and although the spectator areas were covered the playing area itself remained open to the elements.

A former Cowboys player once joked that this “hole” in the stadium’s roof was there “so that God can watch His team.” They were conference champions 10 times and did win five Super Bowl’s while they were in residence so perhaps there’s some truth in that!

The snap of the stadium at the top of this post was taken during a visit to the area in late 1982 - from one of freeways that pass close by - and is, sadly, the closest that I got to the place.

Texas Stadium

Although big the stadium was not a particular inspiring site, just a grey concrete monolith sat in acres and acres of concrete car park (15,500 spaces) with little of interest around it. Up close it sounds as though it was a bit more inspiring with large murals of former stars painted on the sides. Inside the seating was split over two levels, each with its own concourse, with escalators towers to shift the majority of fans around (thirty years before our national stadium could boast such a luxury), while private elevators whisked VIP’s to stadium’s two club levels and their 379 suites.

Each corner of the stadium had it’s own scoreboard, a restaurant behind one goal (end zone) offered tables with views of the entire pitch, beer gardens were dotted at various points around the concourse, while flags celebrating the Cowboys various playing achievements hung from the roof. Perhaps the neatest feature though was that each of the 65,675 blue and silver colored seats came with a built in cushion and storage pouch.

After thirty-seven years the Cowboys played their final NFL game their in December 2008 before moving to the $1 billion plus Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The future plans for the old stadium remain unclear, while the Cowboys continue to be one of the most popular and most-televised teams in the U S of A.

Some (gratuitous) snaps from the area...

Texas School Book Depository, Dallas, Texas
Texas School Book Depository, Dallas, Texas

Southfork Ranch, Plano, Texas
(My mate Bob outside) Southfork Ranch, Plano, Texas

posted by chevblue at 7:30 pm 0 comments

Monday, August 24, 2009

Stade Josy Barthel

15-08-2002: Avenir Beggen 0 Ipswich Town 1
(UEFA Cup Qualifying Round, 1st Leg)

Stade Josy Barthel

Ipswich had won a place in the UEFA Cup via the UEFA Fair Play ranking system, a system that grants three places in the qualifying rounds to the most sporting clubs across the continent. The criteria including behaviour of a club’s players on the field, and their fans off it.

Town, who had just been relegated from the Premier League, only finished fourth in the English Fair Play table, but with top three finishers Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle all earning places in Europe via league position, Ipswich - drawn out of a hat containing the names of sides from each of the UEFA affiliated nations - were handed a spot.

The Blue’s had played in the previous seasons competition, KO’ing Torpedo Moscow and Helsingborg IF, before defeat at the hands of Inter Milan, and after the huge disappointment of relegation the idea of a bit more European action was most welcome.

Stade Josy Barthel

The draw proper matched us up with Avenir Beggen so off we went to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to take on the Wichtelcher or, translated to English, the Pixies.

Luxembourg, is wedged between Belgium, France and Germany, and occupies just 999 square miles. Small maybe, but it enjoys some wonderful countryside. Rolling hills, rivers and many old fortifications make this a great place to explore. And this I did many years ago with an old flame (but don’t tell Mrs Extreme Groundhopping).

It was this countryside that the Germans and (primarily) US Forces fought over during the Battle of the Bulge. General Patton (one of Allied Commanders) and over 5,000 of his compatriots are buried at an American Cemetery in Luxembourg City. Patton, who died from injuries sustained in a car accident in Germany, was laid to rest alongside the army that had liberated the area only a year before.

Stade Josy Barthel

Also in the city is the European Court of Justice Building, the Notre-Dame Cathedral, a large financial district and the home of Radio Luxembourg.

Older readers may remember Radio Luxembourg the commercial radio station whose English language broadcast from the Duchy could be picked up in the UK. As the BBC had a radio monopoly during large swathes of my youth Radio Luxembourg was a most welcome alternative, but back to the footie.

Avenir Beggen play the majority of their home games at the 4,830 capacity Stade de Beggen which is to the north of Luxembourg City. More important games, however, are staged at the national stadium the 8,054 capacity Stade Josy Barthel about a mile and a half west from Luxembourg City centre.

Stade Josy Barthel

The English and Luxembourg national sides have met there on a number of occasions (most infamously in November 1983) and this is where I, and around 1,000 other Town fan’s, found ourselves on a sunny summer night in August 2002.

Covered seating is available along just one touchline while all spectators are separated from the pitch by a high fence and a running track. The later not surprising as the stadium is home to the Duchy’s largest athletics club and takes it’s name from Josy Barthel – Luxembourg’s one and only Gold medal winner - who won the 1500m event at the 1952 Olympics. Mostly constructed of concrete the only feature of any note is the odd pillbox like turnstile blocks dotted around the outside.

Prior to the tie with Town, the Pixies record in European competition read an unimpressive played 34, won 3, drawn 3, lost 28, goal difference minus 122. That record wasn’t to be improved with Ipswich recording a (very fortunate) 1-0 win in the first leg in Luxembourg (Marcus Stewart netting in the 90th minute).

Stade Josy Barthel

Ipswich went onto to enjoy an 8-1 romp in the return leg at Portman Road two weeks later. One small consolation for Avenir Beggen was that their goal in Suffolk was their first away from home in eighteen European ties.

More pictures here.

posted by chevblue at 10:40 am 0 comments

Sunday, August 23, 2009

VPS Vassa

20-07-2001: VPS Vassa 2 Ipswich Town 3 (Friendly)

VPS Vassa

Travelling through hundreds of miles of dull pine forest from Town’s previous game in Tampere it was quite a relief to reach Vaasa in the west of Finland. Make no mistake this is a quite beautiful area. To emphasise this, just a few km’s away is the Kvarken Archipelago, a World Heritage Site. Sitting in an extension of the Baltic Sea the Archipelago is made up of 5,600 islands - formed between 10,000 and 24,000 ago by the melting of the continental ice sheet.

VPS Vassa

Not content with having a World Heritage Site on their doorstep the citizens of Vaasa obviously like their public spaces and urban parks too as the city boasts an array of parks and gardens as well as a seafront promenade just to the west of the city centre. Public monuments and statues rate highly as well as there are - if my math is correct - forty-six of them in Vaasa. Some are tucked away almost apologetically down side streets while some dominate the cityscape – such as the Vaasa’s own Statue of Liberty in the market square.

VPS Vassa

Hietalahti Stadium, home of VPS (Vaasan Palloseura), sits a short-ish walk south from the centre. A pleasant little stadium (capacity 4,600) for an unremarkable provincial club. Twice winners of the national league (most recently in 1948) and two time winners of the league cup (most recently in 2000), VPS have enjoyed two excursions in European competition, tasting defeat against Grazer AK of Austria in 98-99 and again against St Johnstone the following season (99-00). Both in the UEFA Cup.

VPS Vassa

The Finns are often accused of being curt and abrupt (having worked with many, in two Finnish owned companies, I tend to agree) but when well oiled (most of the crowd spent the game either in or very close to the large beer tent) there just fun loving Europeans like the rest of us, which led to a lively discussion about the merits of Pesäpallo, the national sport of Finland.

VPS Vassa

Invented around the 1920’s the game is based for the most part on baseball - but with some very odd variations. For example, rather than running around the four bases, batters must run in a zig-zag pattern to advance around the field. Also, if the batter hits the ball and is subsequently caught, any runners on base are "wounded". On previous trips to Finland I’d watched a couple of televised game and admit to being completely lost as what was going on. It would have been useful to have had this explanation (of sorts) to hand. The sport has spread to other countries, including Japan and Australia, and enjoys it’s own World Cup.

More pictures here.

posted by chevblue at 11:44 am 0 comments

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Huskie Stadium, Dekalb, Illinois

20-09-1980: Northern Illinois vs Western Michigan (NCAA Football)

Huskie Stadium

My third North American sporting experience in 10 days (see also posts on the Blue Jays and White Sox) at the Huskie Stadium in Dekalb, Illinois, 65 miles to the west of Chicago. This time to see some grid iron as Northern Illinois University (NIU - the alma mater of two friends of mine) took on [Western] Michigan. The Huskies Vs the Broncos.

Walking around NIU campus before the game I was intrigued by radiation symbols on a number of buildings with the legend “Fallout Shelter in Basement” underneath. In 60’s and 70’s USA the Cold War was never far from public consciousness, and in the wake of the Cuban Missile crisis the threat of a nuclear strike by the Soviets was taken so seriously that many fallout shelter construction programmes were instigated. This I was told resulted in the building of a number of communal shelters at NIU. In the 60’s and 70’s DIY personal shelters were also very common as people rushed to build the things in their own back gardens.

Huskie Stadium

On a less serious note I also noticed the prevalence of baseball caps and other clothing bearing a flying ear of corn motif, the symbol of the DeKalb Agricultural Association. Huge swathes of Illinois, and the surrounding states for that matter, are given over to the production of corn, and you can drive for hours and hours along the states highways and byways without seeing anything else.

Harvesting all of it must have been fun before the whole process was automated. In the mid-1900’s a skilled picker could manually pick and husk about 100 bushels a day. By the end of the millennium, a combine harvester with the appropriate attachments could do the same thing in less than five minutes (my favourite lesson at secondary school was Horticulture so you’ll have bear with me when I go off on these agricultural tangents).

Huskie Stadium

Huskie Stadium, built in 1965, had a capacity of just over 20,000 when I visited in 1980. The majority of spectators were housed in a large single tiered 15,000-seat concrete stand on the western side of the field with further seating in a much smaller and temporary looking structure on the opposite touchline.

As seems to be the case at many college and pro-sports venues providing cover from the elements doesn’t seem to be much of a priority but then, in my experience, the weather is generally considerably better (Illinois’ climate being considerably colder than the UK in the winter, much much hotter in the summer, and with far less chance of being rained on year round).

Huskie Stadium

A fairly unremarkable venue (which in the intervening 29 years has seen some major rebuilding work) other than it was one of the first times I had seen any sport played on Astroturf (it was around this time that QPR, Oldham and a few other clubs back in the UK were experimenting with the stuff, I believe, but I never did see a league game played on a synthetic surface).

I don’t recall that much about my first ever game of American Football but can remember a real passion amongst the spectators. It’s difficult to appreciate until you’ve experience it first hand. College sports teams are as much a part of the community as any Football League side in the UK with locals and students turning out in big numbers. Some games draw crowds of 100,000 with huge SKY-like coverage on TV, blanket coverage in the press and of course on the net.

posted by chevblue at 8:22 am 2 comments

Friday, August 21, 2009

Comiskey Park I, Chicago

14-09-1980: Chicago White Sox 2 Minnesota Twins 3 (American League East)

Ticket Stub

US Sports franchises come up with all sorts of oddball ideas to promote a particular game (especially those where an otherwise low attendance would be expected) but none stranger than "Disco Demolition" night at Comiskey Park the year before my debut at the venerable old stadium. Here's the story...

On July 12th, 1979 the Sox were down to the play the Detroit Tigers in an evening doubleheader with admission set at just 98 cents plus any disco record. The records were for a rally that was to be held between the two games and that would conclude with a massive explosion in the middle of the playing field, destroying all the records that had been collected earlier.

The rally was held - and heavily publicized before the game - by local DJ Steve Dahl. Dahl had been running a "disco sucks" campaign during his morning drive-in show on the WLUP radio station since the beginning of the year – a counter culture reaction to music produced by the likes of Donna Summer and the Bee Gee's.

The publicity worked as 50,000 gained legitimate entry to the ground (it's capacity), an estimated 10,000 were locked outside while a further 10,000 were thought to be stuck in a massive traffic jam on the Dan Ryan, the expressway/motorway that runs within 100-yards of Comiskey Park.

Many of those locked outside forced their way in before and during the half-time festivities and when Dahl took centre stage dressed in military fatigues, to lead chants of "disco sucks, disco sucks" the place went ballistic. An infamous night in the annals of Major League Baseball was ensured when the records were exploded and a full-scale riot ensued.

Comiskey Park I

Comiskey Park opened in 1910 and in it's later years (before being demolished in the early 1990's) became the league's oldest operating ball park. It's architects employed a modern steel and concrete design that was standard for it's time (Chicagoan's where major innovators in such things in the early 20th century and lead the way in the building of skyscrapers, department stores and the like) and the finished item boasted an impressive façade with arched windows and curved walls and a pleasing overall symmetry.

A cantilevered design was proposed for the upper deck seating area but Charles Comiskey, who was bankrolling the whole thing and after who the park was named, rejected the idea and so the deck ended up being supported by obtrusive steel posts instead. One feature of the ground not lost on fan's who's view of the action has been impeded by one of the things.

For my first visit to Comiskey Park the crowd was nothing on the scale of the demolition night (a mere 11,288 showing up). Like the millions of spectators that must have passed through its turnstiles down the years I did took an instant liking to the place and when I moved to Chicago just under a year later would become very familiar with it's unique interior. More on that at the White Sox fan site, flyingsock.com, which has an excellent section entitled "Memories of Old Comiskey Park", and in future posts.

posted by chevblue at 5:14 pm 0 comments

Thursday, August 20, 2009


06-11-2004: Burnley 0 Ipswich Town 2
(Coca-Cola Championship)


The Coca-Cola Championship boasted some decent attendances last year (crowds across the league topped the sixteen million mark for the fifth consecutive season apparently) but that shouldn’t hide the underlining fact that the standard of football on offer is pretty second-rate. A few of the sides that visited Portman Road last campaign stood head-and-shoulders above the rest, Wolves (automatic promotion), Swansea (not sure how they weren’t in the mix at the end of the season) and Burnley (promoted via the play-offs).


I can remember seeing Burnley play Ipswich in the old First Division before the Claret-and-Blue went on a downward spiral that almost cost them their place in the Football League. And well before I came on the scene the two sides fought out a battle for the league title (1961-62), a battle that saw Alf Ramsey’s Ipswich become Champions of England.


Following their well deserved promotion Burnley couldn’t have wished for a meatier start to their first season in top flight football since 1976 than a visit of Manchester United, and I doubt that many would have predicted a 1-0 win when the fixtures were first published. According to MOTD last night, Turf Moor, Burnley’s home since 1883, is the 46th ground to have hosted Premiership football. Here are a few pictures of the place taken from the away end (the 4,100-seater David Fishwick Stand built in 1969, and the oldest of the four stands) a few years ago.


To the right is the Bob Lord Stand (3,900 seats built in 1974), to the left is the James Hargreaves Stand (8,100 seats built in 1996) and directly ahead, and behind the far goal, is the Jimmy McIlroy Stand (6,200 seats also built in 1996). Incidentally, from the back of the away stand you get some pretty decent views of the surrounding Moorland should the fayre on offer on the pitch fail to hold your attention.


The town received a fair amount of negative press in 2001 following race related violence, add to that the fact that it has lost most of it’s industry and has a higher rate of unemployment than the UK average and you’d expect something pretty grim. But not (completely) so.


It has several large parks; it’s mile-long elevated section of the Leeds and Liverpool canal is considered to be one of the seven wonders of British Waterways; several stately homes sit within it’s boundaries; back in the 60’s and 70’s it was an important Northern Soul venue and today it plays host to one of the countries biggest Blue’s festivals; it has a selection of museums and galleries and boasts an award winning bus station!

The shops in the town are the same as on offer pretty much anywhere in the UK, except for the butchers. My mate Springer is a bit of a black pudding aficionado, so prior to both of my visits to Turf Moor, we’ve headed into the town centre to pick up some of this gastronomic wonder from the prize winning Donald Smith’s. And very nicely it goes with the Sunday morning fry-up too. So popular is the stuff it is this neck of the woods that it’s even available as an ice cream flavouring.

posted by chevblue at 9:37 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Exhibition Stadium, Toronto

10-09-1980: Toronto Blue Jays 6 New York Yankees 7 (American League East)

Ticket Stub

Way back in 1980 – and on my way to Chicago to visit a work colleague - I flew to Toronto planning to take a Greyhound Bus from there onto the mid-west a few days later. The journey from Toronto's Pearson International Airport to downtown Toronto took me past the Canadian National Exhibition Stadium outside of which a billboard advertised a three game series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees. Baseball!, that’ll keep me amused for an evening I thought and so the following day I walked back out to the stadium to get myself a ticket. Little did I realise at the time that this would be the first of some thirty plus games that I would watch over the next five years.

So armed with my ticket I headed back out to the stadium again (this time using the city's excellent tram system) and had just parked myself in my seat when it was time to stand up again as the American National Anthem, closely followed by that of Canada, rang out around the stadium. The first of many customs and idiosyncrasies of watching sport in North America that I would be getting used to over the coming years.

Exhibition Stadium, Toronto
Exhibition Stadium

What followed - over the coming nine innings - was all a bit mystifying at the time, no more or less so than introducing someone from the USA to cricket I would guess. Can’t remember the result from the night but as American sports fans love their stats that’s not a problem and www.baseball-reference.com tells me it was 7-6 win for the visitors watched by 23,031 fans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and would be watching another game very soon (four days to be precise) at a stadium that would soon become a regular haunt for baseball and soccer matches - the old Comiskey Ball Park. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The NY Yankees are, behind Manchester United, probably one of the best known sports franchises in the world, the Blue Jay’s though, considerably less so. 1980 was their fourth year of operation, and also their fourth at the Exhibition Stadium which continued to be their home for a further eight years.

BMO Field, Toronto
BMO Field

Wikipedia tells me that the Exhibition Stadium was actually the fourth stadium to be built on the same site since 1879. Opened in 1959, Exhibition Stadium played host to football as well as baseball, conversion for the later including an Astroturf* pitch. The Blue Jay's moved to the purpose built Skydome - in the shadow of the cities iconic CN Tower - in 1989, while the Exhibition Stadium was later demolished to make way for the BMO Field, home of Toronto FC of the MLS. The fifth stadium on exactly the same spot - surely some kind of a record.

*The official astroturf site makes for a interesting read although their claim that Manchester United play on Astroturf I think is a bit wide of the mark

posted by chevblue at 5:07 pm 2 comments

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Shrewsbury Town

11-08-2009: Shrewsbury Town 3 Ipswich Town 3
(Ipswich 4-2 on pens) (Carling Cup 1st Round)

Shrewsbury Town

Heading west along the B4380 the Prostar Stadium is just a few hundred yards from the Percy Thrower Garden Center and for photo opportunities I should probably have stopped off at Percy’s place first.

Shrewsbury Town

As a Fulham supporting friend of mine remarked recently: “We went to the new Shrewsbury ground last season. It's a bit odd, isn't it? Like a typical modern stadium, with the countryside peering in at the corner flags. A bit like an open plan office with four Constable paintings in the corners.”

Shrewsbury Town

Shrewsbury old place, Gay Meadow, had oodles of character and couldn’t be beaten for location, sitting as it did by a bend in the River Severn, surrounded by parkland, and with the town centre towering above it in the background.

Shrewsbury Town

OK, so the architects had to work to a remit and budget set by the club, but nonethless they’ve gone to extraordimary lengths to design a stadium that is bland and unexceptional.

Shrewsbury Town

posted by chevblue at 7:37 pm 1 comments

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Coventry City (Part 2)

09-08-2009: Coventry City 2 Ipswich Town 1
(Coca-Cola Championship)

Click for a larger image

Just a single photo for you from this visit to the Ricoh Arena (see last weeks post for a few more), this one a panoramic view from our seats in the Jewson Stand, the area of the arena reserved for away supporters.

As you can see, apart from the sky blue covered seats the stadium is fairly conventional in design with three sides made up of a single tier of seats. Crests and seat colours aside you could be at anyone of a number of grounds built in England in the last ten years (rivals Leicester City for example).

Between the tier of seats and the roof on these three sides are sheets of Perspex that allow natural light into the stadium, primarily to aid in pitch maintenance. However, with no ventilation or breeze the seats immediately in front of this sheeting were quite uncomfortably hot (fortunately the arena was no where near full so we were able to move to a cooler spot at half-time) although I doubt this is much of a problem to spectators as the football season moves into it’s colder months.

The fourth side of the stadium (left in the panorama), which backs on to a casino and exhibition centre, helps make up for the otherwise bland but functional design. Along the back of the stand are the corporate hospitality boxes with a row of seats in front that overhang the main seating area below. White panelling runs along the back of all of this with large CCFC badges at either end and the arena’s sponsors name picked out in red in the centre.

The more vocal home support (with obligatory drummer) occupy the seats directly in front of the stadiums scoreboard which is housed at the corner of the Jewson Stand and the Tesco East Stand (out of picture to the right). And that’s about it for features of note, although the pitch did look quite splendid.

We didn’t sample any of the food or drink on sale inside the Ricoh, although there looked to be ample facilities available, but did find the stewards to be quite friendly and helpful. The automated ticket entry system was one of the easiest to use that we’ve encountered too.

Football wise a 2-1 loss was not quite the start to the new season I had hoped for but at least we go into the second league game of the season with a better goal difference than the Norfolk boys (and of course a division higher).

posted by chevblue at 4:12 pm 0 comments

Monday, August 10, 2009

Stowmarket Town

08-08-2009: Stowmarket Town 0 Downham Town 2
(Ridgeons League First Division)

Stowmarket Town

It is with great sadness that I must report that the blue Super Dexta tractor featured in Simple Pieman’s report of his trip to Stowmarket Town in 2007 may well be in that great tractor heaven in the sky. At least there was no sign of it anywhere Saturday afternoon. This is, agriculturally speaking, more than made up for the by fine array of vegetables that are grown with the confines of the Suffolk club’s Green Meadow ground. I’ve spotted flowers, plants and the occasional shrubbery at non-league venues before but I do believe this is the first time I’ve seen runner beans growing within a few feet of a corner flag.

Stowmarket Town               Stowmarket Town

The A14 passes within a few hundred yards of the ground, an elevated section of the East Anglia - East Midlands link road as it crosses the River Gipping and the main railway line between London and N*rwich. Speaking of N*rwich I thought Five Live were having a laugh when they said that Colchester had put seven past the C*naries on opening day, and nearly lost control of the car when the score was confirmed by James Alexander Gordon at 5 O’Clock. I must say that it’s nice that the Norfolk boys have retained their sense of humour if not their place in the Championship. But I digress.

Stowmarket Town

Travelling back and forth along the A14 I must have passed the ground a thousand times. You get a really good - almost aerial – view as you motor by, but this is only the second time that I have ventured in for a game (coincidentally Downham Town the same opposition as Simple Pieman saw two years ago).

Stowmarket Town               Stowmarket Town

Three sides of the ground are open to the elements but, for an average Ridgeons League attendance at least, there is more than ample cover along the west touchline both for seated spectators (the main stand has a capacity of around two hundred) and those who prefer to stand (a structure that sits between the main stand and the large club house and doubles as a storage area). In front of the clubhouse and over by the northwest corner flag is a beer garden - the busiest area of the ground as fan’s took advantage of the excellent weather - which is well equipped with picnic tables and the like, although a bit bleak come January I suspect.

Stowmarket Town

Founded in 1883 the club only took up occupancy at Green Meadows as recently as the summer of 1984 when the ground and it’s floodlights were officially opened by Sir Alf Ramsey. Originally formed as Stowmarket Association, and then variously known as plain Stowmarket, Stowmarket Corinthians, Stowmarket (again) and Stowmarket Town, their old Cricket Meadow ground was sold off to developers. Although (reading the clubs history) the lead up to the sale was a period of great uncertainty for the club it has actual proven a good decision in the long run. The popular social club raises the funds required to run a team in the Ridgeons League, and while the team has not enjoyed a great deal of success league wise (two top seven placings (’02 and ’03) in the Ridgeons Premier was followed by relegation in ‘05) they’ve had a couple of decent-ish runs in the FA Cup since the turn of the century

More pictures here.

posted by chevblue at 6:08 pm 2 comments

Friday, August 07, 2009

Coventry City

19-11-2005: Coventry City 1 Ipswich Town 1 (Coca-Cola Championship)

I think it’s fairly to safe to say that Sunday’s game between Coventry City and Ipswich is the most eagerly awaited opening day fixture for Town in a good number of years. Expectations are running high in Suffolk as manager Roy Keane hopes to emulate his success at Sunderland and return Ipswich to the top flight. He has plenty of money at his disposal and has used it to bring in seven new faces so far and has every intention of adding a couple more between now and the end of the transfer window. Yours truly and Junior will be heading over to the Ricoh Arena for the game and no doubt a few words about that trip will appear on site early next week. In the meantime here are a few pictures of Coventry’s new home just a few months after it had opened in 2005.

Coventry City

Coventry City

Coventry City

Coventry City               Coventry City

Coventry City

More pictures here.

posted by chevblue at 5:25 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)

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(Recreation Ground)

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(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)