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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Football Statues

No 15 (in a series of several): Lord Ninian Crichton-Stuart (1883-1915)

Lord Ninian

Lieutenant-Colonel Lord Ninian Edward Crichton-Stuart was elected MP for the Boroughs of Cardiff, Cowbrigde and Llantrisant in the general election of 1910. Ninian Park, the former home of Cardiff City was named after him following his help in raising the funds required to build the new stadium although the statue which sits in gardens adjacent to the National Museum of Wales was not erected for that reason. Five years after his election he was killed in action - he had rejoined the army following the start of the Great War - whilst leading a battalion of the Welsh Regiment in a night attack on German forces in Northern France.

Fred Keenor

There are plans afoot to have a statue of Cardiff City’s FA Cup winning skipper Fred Keenor erected outside the Bluebird’s new stadium. Three designs are in the running and Cardiff fans are being asked to vote on their favourite by the Cardiff City Supporters Trust here. With the Bluebirds due back in High Court on 10 March were they face a winding-up order over money owed to Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs they probably have more pressing matters to attend to. Good luck with that.

More Football Statues here.

posted by chevblue at 7:42 pm 0 comments

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scunthorpe United

23-02-2010: Scunthorpe United 1 Ipswich Town 1 (Coca-Cola Championship)

Glanford Park

With all the news of financial madness and meltdown that surrounds our national game at the moment it’s reassuring to hear that at least one club Chairman, Scunthorpe United’s Steve Wharton, seems to have his head screwed on. He recognises that the Iron are a small-town club, and are unlikely to be anything other than a small-town club, and acts accordingly.

Refusing to follow the path of many of his contemporaries he insists that the club lives within its means. It has to be sustainable and not dependent on him pouring in his own cash. The club operates on a set budget. Their top earner is on just £3,000 a week and overall their annual salary spend is around the £2.25 million, making it one of the lowest in the whole of the Football League. This pragmatic approach means they have no debt, proving that you can operate in the black and be successful (League One Champions 2007 and League One Play-Off Winners 2009) at the same time.

Details of my one previous visit to Scunthorpe, and pictures of North Lincolnshire in sunlight, here.

posted by chevblue at 11:18 pm 1 comments

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Football Statues

No 14 (in a series of several): Florin Piturca 1952(?)-1978

Florin Piturca

Just inside the gates of the Dorobantia Cemetery in Craiova, Romania stands the statue of Florin Piturca a forward with a number of clubs including FCM Drobeta Tumu Severin who then, as now, play in the second tier of the Romanian league. In December 1978, aged twenty-seven, Florin scored one of the goals in Drobeta’s 2-1 victory over Metalul Bucharest but after returning home he fell ill and died shortly afterwards.

It is believed that the Nicolae Ceaucescu regime, so desperate for sporting success, had used lesser known athletes to try out performance enhancing drugs before passing them on for use by the nations sporting elite. Team-mates reported that at halftime during the Drobeta/Metalul match club doctors gave the players some tea to drink and that the tea, it is thought, contained the drugs that claimed Florin’s life.

His father, Maximilian, invested his life savings erecting the statue to his son and the tomb that sits adjacent to it. The night Florin was buried his father stayed with him in the tomb and indeed spent every night there until his own death, sixteen years later, in 1994. However, the construction of the statue and tomb did not pass off without incident. In March 1989 Ceaucescu’s daughter Zoia ordered the mausoleum to be bulldozed, but a year later, three months after the execution of Zoia’s parents during the Romanian uprising, Maximilian had rebuilt it.

Photos and info from Behind the Curtain: Football in Eastern Europe - by Jonathan Wilson.

More Football Statues here.

posted by chevblue at 12:13 pm 0 comments

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


10-02-2010: Norwich City Reserves 0 Ipswich Town Reserves 1
(Pontins Football Combination)

Carrow Road

Late for kick-off I’d been seated for just five minutes when 30 to 40 public school boys – from close-by Norwich School - filed into the section of the stand I was sat in. Very well behaved they were throughout too. They even attempted a Mexican Wave at one stage which, sadly, was wasted on the old codgers, like me, who made up the balance of the crowd.

In the cold and snow only one of the party were wearing a hat or coat of any consequence. How does that work? You can afford the outrageous fees for a public school but not suitable winter attire for your little precious? Mind you if their winter attire was anything like mine when I was their age - gloves connected together by an elastic strip and threaded through coat sleeves and a home knitted balaclava - I would have braved the elements without them too.

As the officials made their way on to the pitch there was the ref carrying an orange ball – the first time since an FA Cup tie in 1978 (against Bristol Rovers at Eastville since you ask) that I seen one in action! There has been a bit of debate recently about the use of orange balls (Google the words ‘football’, ‘orange’, ‘balls’ for a sample) on snow covered pitches or rather why we’ve not seen as many of them in action as we did in years gone by.

Fans have been asking why so many league games had succumbed to the weather when in seasons past everyone one (players, fans and officials) would have just got on with it. After all most stadiums in the top two tiers of English football have under-soil heating now so all it needs is a bit of effort to clean away the snow in and around the stadium to ensure the safety of the paying public, and of course an orange ball to play with.

Carrow Road like so many others across the Football League is virtually unrecognisable from the one I first visited in 1972. You may possibly be interested to know that, after today, I’ve now sat in all four of the new/newish stands and sat/stood in all four of the old ones. Some ground history...

Carrow Road

The River End

Take its name from the River Wensum which runs through the city and out to the North Sea passing about 50-yards away from the back of the stand as it does so. Part of the original Carrow Road ground that opened in 1935, the stand was rebuilt in 1979 for £1.7M and is now known as the Norwich & Peterborough.

1972, as mentioned, saw my first visit to Carrow Road and my first City v Town derby. Watched from the River End – at the time an uncovered bank of terracing with a capacity of 10,000 – the un-segregated Canary and Blue’s fans swayed back and forth in a tightly knit mesh of bodies. I swear that we were packed in so tight that I couldn’t get my hand in my jean pocket for a ciggy (a pack of 10 No.6’s was in there somewhere) until the end of what transpired to be an exciting but none the less nil-nil draw.

From the upper level of the remodeled two-tier River End stand in April 1981, I watched aghast as Justin Fashanu hit a 62nd minute winner at the far end which started a slide in form for Town that saw them lose their grip on top spot and, eventually, their first real chance at a league title since 1962. They ended up finishing second to Ron Saunders’ Aston Villa. The fact that Saunders managed Norwich between 1969 and 1973 was not lost on those Ipswich fan’s with a nose for irony. As punishment Norwich were relegated a month later shortly before Town took a great deal of solace from victory in the UEFA Cup Final.

The Barclay

The original stand was built in 1937 taking its name from Captain Barclay, a former vice-president of the club, who paid for the cost of the roof. As hooliganism became a regular on UK terraces in the 70’s so did crowd segregation. Away fans were housed in a corner of The Barclay (the popular home ‘end’) and so it was from here that I watched at least half-a-dozen games between Bobby Robson’s men and those of John Bond.

A dark cavernous place with a six foot or so high steel fence separating the sparring fans. One of the grounds four floodlight pylons was conveniently sat to one side of the away section and your luck was well and truly out (view wise) if you got stuck behind the thing. I’ve since sat in the lower tier of new Barclay Stand and what a totally different experience that is.

Carrow Road

Demolished and rebuilt in 1992 with a similar although not identical look to the River End. One nice thing about the two stands is the way the floodlights have been mounted on the steelwork that supports the roof rather than being mounted in a strip on the front of the roof as is the case at many new grounds. No easier way of navigating your way to a ground than to search the skyline for floodlight pylons. Ipswich adopted a similar approach with their floodlight systems when the Churchmans and North Stand, at Portman Road, were rebuilt in 2001 and 2002.

The Jarrold Stand

The Jarrold Stand replaced the old South Stand, which was named in honour of Sir Arthur South as well as, coincidentally, running along the southern touchline. With an all-seater capacity of 8,000 this is the newest of all four stands and is unique, Wikipedia tells us, in that not one, but three separate television gantries are suspended beneath its roof. My last appearance in the old stand was for Town’s emphatic 2-0 win in 2003 which, as this match report points out, was made all sweeter by virtue of its being our first derby for some years. The stand was well and truly past its sell by date at this point and a uncomfortable dark, damp and rusting old hulk. IMPAIRED VIEW, as printed on my ticket, summed it up.

Between it and The Barclay sits a Holiday Inn and it is at this end of the Jarrold Stand that away fans are now housed. My brother-in-law has season tickets in the same stand between the half-way line and the edge of the penalty area at the River End (where I’ve joined him on several ‘non-derby day’ occasions) and I’ve also sat in a number of different spots for reserve games too. Great viewing lines no matter were you sit and the facilities below the stand are excellent. Delia’s influence on the contents of the match day pie can’t be understated!

The City Stand

And finally, back to today’s viewing location The City Stand. Opened in 1986 (cost £1.7 million), after its predecessor had been destroyed by fire after an employee, reportedly, left a three-bar electric fire on overnight. Now known as the Geoffrey Watling City Stand, in honour of one of the club’s late presidents, the stand has a single tier of seats and is the smallest of the grounds fours stands. The directors box and press areas are located here as, I believe, is the trophy room, believed to be the smallest in the Football League;-)

So there you have it. It may be enemy territory but I’ll concede that it’s not a bad stadium at all.

Click for a larger image

posted by chevblue at 7:51 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)