Groundhopper

Groundhopper: Edinburgh City 0 Clyde 0. (4/2/17). 

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When is a visit to a new ground not a visit to a new ground? That is the question. I was actually here at the Meadowbank Stadium about 36 years ago. Then a team called Meadowbank Thistle was in existence but the club moved and changed their name to Livingston. I had not seen Edinburgh City play or have a home programme in my collection, so in my own mind I had to go back. Maybe a bit hair splitting, but there you go. I still do not think I am like a few anorak ground hoppers who do not include a visit to a new ground unless a goal is scored! At least I am not that bad.  (more…)

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Groundhopper: Hallam 0 Hall Road Rangers 1 (Malcolm Stephenson)

Hallam 0 Hall Road Rangers 1 (21/1/17).

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I have been meaning to do a trip to this ground for a long time now. This is because the ground at Hallam has been recognised as the oldest ground in the World by the Guinness book of records. Hallam are also the second oldest club in the World after another club from the area. No, not Wednesday or United but Sheffield FC who actually play in Derbyshire. (more…)

Groundhopper: Coalville Town 0 Blyth Spartans 1- (7/1/17). (Malcolm Stephenson)

Coalville Town 0 Blyth Spartans 1- (7/1/17).

 

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It’s the first new ground of the year for me and even better as it was to see my team, Blyth Spartans, play on the day. Coalville is in Leicestershire but there is no train station here. For the train buffs the nearest one is Loughborough about 12 miles away. I travelled by car with a fellow Blyth fan to this game and it’s always good to have company along the way. The journey took about 3 hours or so from Newcastle. (more…)

Groundhopper: West Ham United 1 Burnley 0 (14/12/16). (Malcolm Stephenson)

West Ham United 1 Burnley 0 (14/12/16).

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I had been waiting several months to do this trip. It’s not easy to get in these days as home fans who are not season ticket holders have to go into a ballot for the chance to see a game. I was not willing to go down that route so joined the Burnley ticket line instead. My reckoning was that Burnley would not take 3,000 fans down to London midweek the week before Christmas. I know at least one other groundhopper who had the same idea as me. Unfortunately they moved the match from the original Tuesday 13th December to the next day as West Ham had been playing the previous Sunday. I had my hotel and train ticket all booked up for the Tuesday. Instead I had to buy another train ticket and book another hotel so managed to attend Enfield on the Tuesday night. It was another new ground to visit so I could not grumble. I got a ticked through Burnley without any problem. (more…)

Groundhopper: Enfield Town (Malcolm Stephenson)

Enfield Town 2 Lowestoft 2 (13/12/16).

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Enfield were once a club that once existed and had great success to their History. They were originally formed in 1893 as Enfield Spartans and eventually folded in 2007. A club that had won the FA Amateur cup and the FA Trophy two times each. A club that were once Champions of the Gola league and knocking on the door of the Football league itself. Had automatic promotion been in effect at the time they would have been in the Football league. These were the days of the voting system and Enfield failed to gain entry. Enfield used to play at Southbury Road but lost the ground in 1990 and then ground shared with several other nearby clubs. After serious financial problems the club folded in 2007. Enfield Town approached the former club with the idea of a merger but they refused. Later Enfield 1883 were formed as a reformation of the original club and remain a separate entity to this day, playing in the local Essex league. Enfield Town were formed as they wanted to play in the area of the same name and currently play in the Ryman league. Enfield were another Non league team with FA cup success and reached the 4th round in 1981 losing at home to Barsnley in a replay. (more…)

Groundhopper: Stockton Town 3 Tow Law 2. (26/11/16). (Malcolm Stephenson)

Stockton Town 3 Tow Law 2. (26/11/16).

Northern League Division 2.

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I was just about out the door when I got a phone call to say the Blyth match at Altringham in the Trophy was off due to a frozen pitch. I was straight onto the internet to find a game somewhere before the wife got a chance to want to go to Asda or some other bright idea of spending a fruitless Saturday afternoon. I soon spotted this game and it was relatively short distance to travel. (more…)

Groundhopper: Shaw Lane 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (Malcolm Stephenson)

Shaw Lane 2 Blyth Spartans 0 (15/11/16)

Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson

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The Integro Doodson Sports cup competition does not particularly float my boat. Neither does it a lot of fans across the board judging by some of the attendances. A Tuesday night away in this competition is even less appetising. But what does excite more is a chance to visit a new ground with Blyth Spartans and this was probably the only reason i travelled down to Barnsley for this fixture. (more…)

Blyth Town 1 Billingham Synthonia 1 (2/11/16) Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson

Blyth Town 1 Billingham Synthonia 1 (2/11/16)

Groundhopper-Malcolm Stephenson

 

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I have supported Blyth Spartans for nearly 40 years. I have travelled from Torquay to Dingwall (Ross County), from Cardiff to Lowestoft, Barcelona to Dublin and Oslo to Tiblisi (Georgia/in former USSR) to watch football. But in all that time I had never been to South Newsham playing fields to see Blyth Town. Tonight I achieved this goal and also set a new personal statistic of going to a game two nights running to the same town to watch two matches at different grounds. The previous night I had seen Blyth Spartans demolish Goole Town in a FA trophy replay 7-1. (more…)

East Thurrock United 5 Weston Super-Mare 1. (15/10/2016). (Malcolm Stephenson)

East Thurrock United 5 Weston Super-Mare 1. (15/10/2016).

Today’s trip completes yet again a visit to every ground in the Conference South. It was only a few years ago when I went to Thurrock FC who play about 10.5 miles away. That club used to be called Purfleet and play in the Town of Aveley. East Thurrock play in the Town of Corringham. There is no such place as Thurrock as it’s the name of the Borough. The clubs have traded spaces over the last few years in terms of football non league status. While East Thurrock are now in the Conference South, Thurrock used to be in that league but are now in the Isthmian league North division. (more…)

Groundhopper: Sunderland West End 2 Hordon CW 1  (1/10/16). (Malcolm Stephenson)

Sunderland West End 2 Hordon CW 1  (1/10/16).

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I had a free Saturday as Blyth had been knocked out the FA cup and they had no game re-arranged. I am still gutted by that defeat by Morpeth Town but that’s it now for another year. Despite Blyth not playing I was certainly not going to the shops with the wife today and it was football as usual.
There are not many grounds in the North East I have not been to but at least there are some left for me to go to. I had in fact tried to get to Sunderland West End previously this year but the ‘bloomin’ Sat Nav took me all over the shop and i missed the game. I do not really know Sunderland so I had to rely on it again to get me to the Ford Quarry complex. I could not believe it but the Sat Nav took me to a side street somewhere in Sunderland. I was cursing to myself that the same thing had happened again and I was trying to find somewhere to ask directions. Then lo and behold out the corner of my eye I spotted a pitch getting ready for a game on my right hand side. I had found it at last and my going home in a man grump was aborted. I got there just in time for kick off. (more…)