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I'm starting a tour of UK football stadiums...





wellerchap
There are 92 Football teams in England & Wales that play in the English Football League.
I've begun a quest to photograph my Lambretta outside every one of them, the only "rule" being that I must ride the scooter to every one of them. I've no idea yet how many miles I'd need to cover, or how long it will take me, but here goes!! Very Happy

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Well, I re-started my quest to photograph my Lambretta outside every football (league) ground in England & Wales today....begun, unwittingly at my footballing spiritual home, Elland Road, Leeds...last summer (2006).



While at Jason Frost's today in Sheffield, I rattled off the easy ones....starting with my favourite ground, the elegant Hillsborough (Sheff Wed)


Then across the city to Bramall Lane (Sheff Utd)


Across the M1 to the ramshackle Millmoor (Rotherham Utd)


Then back past my home town club at Oakwell (Barnsley)


to be continued.... Razz
otiscom
Are you doing this for some sort of charity?

Anyway good luck.
wellerchap
otiscom wrote:
Are you doing this for some sort of charity?

Anyway good luck.


No, purely to combine 2 of my passions in life.

Wednesday I finished work & trudged through the 12 or so miles of pretty much constant solid traffic from Leeds to Valley Parade, Bradford. It's ages since I was here, and loads of work's been done in that time. It's a shame the club's got to constantly compromise due to adjacent streets & businesses as this could be a great stadium...as it is, it appears a bit of a mish-mash of steel cladding, meccano & odd shaped stands...the gold plaque over the doors in the photo commemorates the 56 people who died in the fire disaster in the 80's.



From there I had an impromptu detour through the one way system in Bradford city centre...no doubt easy if you know it, but it ALWAYS legs me up!
A wang down the M606 and a handful of miles on the M62 and I was in Huddersfield, on Leeds Road to visit (what's now called) The Galpharm Stadium...home of Huddersfield Town. Very modern & custom made, with striking design, this is much more pleasing on the eye than City's Valley Parade, although you do expect the bloke from The Brittas Empire to come out at any moment with a clipboard under his arm!
I've never seen a game here, but watched Leeds at the old HTFC stadium that's now a B&Q 100 yards or so up the road, and loved that ground's atmosphere.
There were arches in Yorkshire long before Wembley, see !!

bigdan
Wow! Very Happy I'd love to do something like that, all the best with your trip! Wink And please keep in touch with the latest happenings in your quest!
wellerchap
Scootering's longest and dullest ever saga continued on friday/saturday as I travelled over onto Anglesey to see the scooter racing.
A detour down through Cheshire & North Staffs proved too good a chance to miss, so I headed over the Pennines to Edgeley Park, home of Stockport County...



On leaving here I dipped in my pockets for the scribbled out route to the other grounds on the days list, only to find I'd left the swine at home, so from memory of mapping it all out I cracked on regardless, hastily trying to dredge up town names I should be aiming for!
Google Earth showed me that Moss Rose, home of Macclesfield Town, was right by the main road I'd be travelling in on, so proved a doddle to find...



....and the same road took me south towards the Potteries for my next two (via a worrying detour over Biddulph Moor, as the main road was shut for repairs...it was like crossing the Pennines again, but on one of the smaller, unmarked roads. I emerged from the wilderness into Burslem, the suburb of Stoke where Port Vale ply their trade at Vale Park...



From here, a quick wang down the A500 for 6 miles took me to the impressive Britannia Stadium, home of Stoke City, where I had my lunch in the shadow of Sir Stanley Matthews...great views are possible of this stadium, but are from the busy dual carriageway, so I had to forego the best shots...



From Stoke, my memory was really being tested as I knew I'd to go north again on the A500, but couldn't remember where to aim for to get to Crewe....I plumped for Nantwich, and was right! Crewe Alexandra's Gresty Road ground is right by the railway station where Paul Simon penned Homeward Bound, and is a swine to get a decent shot of....the big, new main stand being so bland on it's fascia that I went for this shot round t'other side...



...from here it was a lovely jaunt of 30 miles or so to Wrexham, my first Welsh ground, along leafy country lanes with sweeping bends & well manicured villages. I was impressed with the Racecourse Ground, one side being newly built with sloping sides to the main stand roof, the other three sides being "proper" football ground material, with terracing & graffitied walls (though covered over to welcome the new season!)



From here, I'd 80 miles of stunning North Wales scenery to negotiate and over onto Anglesey for a day at the scooter races, saturday....heading back at teatime I'd to get a move on if I wanted to get to my last stop at Chester City in daylight....80 miles again, with one petrol stop and a couple of impromptu stops to replace a failed suppressor cap (and an obligatory pause for a photo as the Snowdon range came into view for the first time all weekend due to terrible weather. I made Chester by 10pm, but needn't have worried as someone'd left the lights on for me anyway!



Tune in next time, if you can stay awake long enough....if not, just ignore this thread !
Coclus
That s cool..
wellerchap
the irony now is that our football season has started & will be the main thing that gets in my way.....I can't imagine travelling round many grounds on a sturday (my only day off work), as games are played then and access to the stadiums will become more difficult, traffic much heavier etc.
Well, next weekend I'm going to some scooter racing, 260 miles away....so really hope to call at one or two of the farther afield grounds to top up my list...watch this space!

___________________________________________________________________

The show ground relentlessly on this weekend footygroundlambretta fans, as the Lilac Flash headed further south east than it'd ever been before, taking in the grounds along the way to and from a scooter race meeting near Dover.
First stop, 100 miles in, was London Road, home of Peterborough United....while there I was invited into the ground by the groundsman for a chat...tidy ground inside, and not somewhere I've watched a match as of yet.



Chin-wagging is all well & good, but the majority of the miles lay ahead (160 more of 'em!) and as I'd only left Barnsley at 2pm I'd to get me skates on....a detour off the M25 to Dagenham & Redbridge was shelved as long delays around the Dartford crossing brought dusk too quickly (who's bright idea was it to travel through that bottle-neck in the rush hour of the last friday of the school holidays?), so it was straight down the M2 to Dover for the racing weekend.
Sunday afternoon, the last race done & I scrounged back some vital parts I'd lent the racer (not get far without a clutch lever & front hub nut!!)....and it's tally-ho as we head north to the Medway town of Gillingham, and Priestfield Stadium...



Not finding the Medway tunnel, and missing my exit onto the M25 due to poor signs in roadworks meant I got to Roots Hall, Southend United's ground as evening was closing in....and I'd still to find my way through 6 miles of twisty farmland to my campsite for the night, before darkness kaputted my effort to get the tent up in the light.



I only found the road up to the campsite after flagging down a car & luckily he was going that way....I'd have still been riding round in circles now had he not helped me.
To kill some time in the tent I decided to flick through the photos of the weekend but there was no life in my camera....I put in spare batteries but still dead as a dodo....this could seriously dent the job if I couldn't sort something the next morning!
Packed up after breakfast & queued in a local chemist while OAP's got their prescriptions....luckily they had some disposable Kodak jobbies, so I bought one of those & went on my way north east towards Colchester United.....carried on snapping the remaining grounds on the way home, but until later this afternoon I've no idea if the disposable worked or not, or how good/bad the shots'll be, as I've never used one before.....be a shame to have to go all that way back!!

Watch this space :-X

_______________________________________________________________________________


PHEW !!
Got the developed snaps back & they're OK....praise be, to whoever you praise be to !

Tootled along to Layer Road, home of Colchester Utd to find only one way in to access the ground...off the main road itself. The souvenir shop on the right represents about the highest building in what is a very small ground...understandably the club are moving to a purpose built stadium; I just hope they build in a bit of character & charm that most of the new ones lack.



From there it was up the road umpteen miles to Ipswich...another place I'd never been to in 41 years, and to the very tidy Portman Road, home of Ipswich Town....a "proper" football ground with 4 stands, all different, but sharing the same feel. There's a statue of Sir Alf Ramsey on one corner of the ground...how many can say they provided the country with a World Cup winning manager?
The astroturf training pitch sits right behind the main stand.



40 or so miles further north & I'm at Carrow Road, home of Norwich City...a smart ground, but the club seems to have overdone the cladding & so you end up with a steel box with round corners....oddly, the bigger stands both sit at the ends of the pitch, rather than the sides.



Time for some long, hard miles now as I trudge the 105 miles across the fens and mile upon mile of flat farmland to Lincoln City's Sincil Bank ground.
I could do this one in a couple of weeks when I ride to Cadwell Park, but decide to knock it off now & then head home back to Barnsley for a well earned rest....the scooter's done 600 miles over the weekend & hasn't missed a beat.
Big up to my pal, the Lilac Flash ! Smile



______________________________________________________________________

Rattling off the Coast to Coast from Robin Hoods Bay to St Bees in Cumbria left me just 40 miles from England's most North Westerly club...an opportunity I couldn't miss. I left the other C2Cers to watch the England match on the telly in comfort & scooted north to Brunton Park, home of Carlisle United & "bagged" it at about 6pm....there'd been a match on & gates were open & people still floating about. They must've thought it odd, some weido on an old shopping bike snapping all corners & peering in to an empty ground!



From there I headed east, following the line of Hadrian's wall towards Newcastle on the A69....daylight got the better of me though, so I pulled into a campsite at Hayden Bridge for a good night's rest. On the road sunday morning at 7am & into Newcastle to the collassal St James's Park before breakfast time where I'd seen Leeds a couple of times in the 80's, but not seen any of the redevelopment. All very big & swish, but I wondered what the bloke in the white boiler suit who used to get the chanting going on the packed Gallowgate terracing would think of it all.
Strangely enough I've picked a photo from the Leazes side of the ground, the only side not to "go large" due to planning objections by their smart looking neighbouring occupants. Interesting angles used in the pillars of the stand here.



Then it's off up the road, past the Angel of the North and along to Sunderland's smart Stadium Of Light....all very new, plush & purpose-built....but lacking the character (and reputation) of the old Roker Park ground.
It's still pre-breakfast & seems I have the north east to myself.



Down the road a bit & it's Hartlepool United's Victoria Ground...tidy & newly redeveloped (though on it's existing site, thankfully....home is home, after all).
Breakfast is scoffed at the neighbouring supermarket.



Down to the A66 & into Teesside for Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium next. Nice to see they'd retained the old wrought iron gates from Ayresome Park, their former ground & worked them a superb spot right by the main entrance....nice touch that, though on any other of the 3 sides you'd be pressed to guess if this was Boro, Stoke, Sunderland etc, as all sides were pretty featureless.



Finally, it's off on the A66 the other way, and a stop off at Darlington's new near 30,000 seater stadium (this week known as the 96.6 TFM Darlington Arena !!)....impressive again in it's construction, but has proven to be something of a white elephant to the club as attendances very rarely top 5,000....clearly bucking the "Build it & they will come" trend.

Bilkers
This is absolutely amazing Wellerchap. The planning must be a nightmare. I can't imagine what it's like trying to arrange your trip to each part of the country, making sure you don't miss any grounds out. I'd love to know how many miles it'll take you to do every club. Your efforts are definately worth recording on a website.

How long do you think it'll take to complete?
ocalhoun
Have you heard about the man who travels around the world taking pictures at all the major landmarks, and in each picture including the plastic Hawaiian hula girl souvenir? Thats what this reminds me of.
wellerchap
ocalhoun wrote:
Have you heard about the man who travels around the world taking pictures at all the major landmarks, and in each picture including the plastic Hawaiian hula girl souvenir? Thats what this reminds me of.


I'll take that as a compliment Very Happy

Bilkers wrote:
This is absolutely amazing Wellerchap. The planning must be a nightmare. I can't imagine what it's like trying to arrange your trip to each part of the country, making sure you don't miss any grounds out. I'd love to know how many miles it'll take you to do every club. Your efforts are definately worth recording on a website.

How long do you think it'll take to complete?


Strange you should mention the website, Bilkers....I've built one and do you know what? It features loads more photos of my travels!
Hopefully have them all done before the year's out.

____________________________________________________________


Well, I was at a loose end a few sundays ago...it was lunchtime, my wife had taken our daughter to her theatre school, so I decided to "nip" out for a spin....initially just to rattle off the Manchester clubs and maybe Oldham....but the sun was shining, the Lilac Flash was on form, celebrating yesterday's MOT pass, so I pressed further into Lancs!
I took the beautiful road over Woodhead Pass from Barnsley to Manchester...I fought a stiff headwind all the way there, but at least knew it'd help me home later in the day.
Got to Eastlands/City Of Manchester Stadium, home of Manchester City (a mere 34 miles from my home), where City were to play Villa that afternoon...stewards were all over & practising their hard stares on any early arrivees (4 hours to kick off)...where have all these little Hitlers sprung up from? You get them at Leeds...they wear a suit and wraparound shades, for gawds sake & look like an extra from Men In Black! There were none of these self-important jumped up so & so's when I were a lad !
Built to host the Commonwealth Games, the City of M/cr Stadium also boasts the controversial "B-of-the-Bang!" statue & is very impressive....more shapely than other new stadia I'd visited recently, and also neighbouring a 6,000 seater athletics arena too.



Next it's off, 5 miles along the road to Manchester United's Old Trafford....the biggest & most famous club ground in the country. The ironwork alone which spans the roof areas is enormous, there's a 2-lane service road which runs all the way round the stadium under each stand & there are car parks that spread for acres around the stadium. The only thing stopping the main stand being developed & therefore pumping up the capacity to around 90,000 are railway sidings which run directly behind it.
There were almost as many tourists at the stadium as you'd get at Blackpool on a Bank Holiday (or it felt like there were!).



I decided to scoot over to Merseyside & bag the 3 clubs there before returning home, so I was onto the M60/M62 & before I knew it was in the Mersey Tunnel, heading under the river for Tranmere Rovers' Prenton Park ground. It's beginning to impress me that more of the smaller clubs are developing their grounds, and was surprised as to how large one of the stands was here...the main stand though being of traditional build, retaining some of it's original character.



Back through the tunnel & I was soon to find out just how run down parts of Liverpool actually are (AND the parts I was heading for!)....whole areas, full of rows of Victorian town houses boarded up, only a small handfull of houses per street occupied...tracksuited youths with shaven heads roamed everywhere & I felt genuinely ill at ease. Everton had played Man Utd at Goodison Park the day before, and litter was blowing around everywhere from the big crowd.



I headed back down the road towards Anfield & had to weave my way through streets of derelict houses, again, some still lived in, but surely there's going to be some mass scale slum clearance impending?
I wondered where the hell fans park safely around here on matchdays & came to no positive conclusion.
I'd been a boyhood Liverpool fan, loving the team of the 70's & 80's and knew Anfield of old well....it was a great stadium with big stands, all different & presenting interesting shapes and angles viewed from any side....but I was very disappointed to see the "new" Anfield clad (that awful stuff again!) from head to toe in...well....cladding!
From a distance it seems almost like a strong iron box with large fences and gates, all designed to protect the inside from those on the outside.
The one pleasing feature was the Shankly Gates (strangely at the quieter Anfield Rd end of the ground) which stands proudly by the Hillsborough memorial, with it's eternal flame & constant presence of fresh flowers.



I was a bit deflated as I rode away from Liverpool....I'd been through the plush city centre, but felt almost as if the areas that the stadiums stand in are neglected in comparison....the council there need to appreciate perhaps a bit more what really put the city on the map, apart from The Beatles, that is.

Back onto the M62 & I quickly decide to go for the clubs directly north of Manchester before heading back over the Pennines & home. I reach Bury's Gigg Lane ground via a good old fashioned cobbled street (blimey, do we still have these up north?!!) Access is difficult but I slip into a small cul-de-sac where the stands at one corner peer over a new brick wall (I've stuck 2 pics together here to try & make the best of limited photos).



I ride the short distance to Spotland, home of Rochdale & the rain is almost torrential....it's a pain getting the soggy leather gloves on and off, taking the camera out of the poly bag every time I take a snap, and things are starting to get wet all over!



I have to pass Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park ground to get the road back home to Barnsley, so I duely stop off there to bag my eighth ground of the day (and I'd only popped out for a quick spin!).
The ground is a bit ramshackle, and cut into a hill on two sides, but it's a "real" football ground (though today it's hosted Rugby League!), and I get a good view in as I free-wheel down a grassy bank on one corner.



Away over the Pennines amid stunning scenery & home for 7.15pm
Another 200 miles on the clock and 35 out of 92 grounds now visited!
ocalhoun
wellerchap wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
Have you heard about the man who travels around the world taking pictures at all the major landmarks, and in each picture including the plastic Hawaiian hula girl souvenir? Thats what this reminds me of.


I'll take that as a compliment Very Happy

It was; don't worry!
wellerchap
Another sunday outing ended up being a 250 miler...and only set off after finishing work at 1pm in Leeds !
I followed the lovely valley from Elland in West Yorkshire, through Hebden Bridge & Todmorden, and into Lancashire to Turf Moor, home of Burnley FC....perennial also-rans in the second tier of English football. The high road into the town gives an excellent view of all the town in the distance, including the ground. 3 of the 4 sides are almost identical...all very square & functional. I couldn't even work out which side I'd stood on in the 80's & cheered on Leeds when the side terrace used to be a vast, cavernous covered affair....fantastic for making noise in for a big away following.



From here I made the short journey via the M65 across high moorland to Accrington Stanley's ground....only really accessible via a small lane at the back of the main stand, but homely & having the feel of a "real" football ground & with plenty of views into the pitch for the nosey ground-hopper!.
A sign over their main entrance reads "Accrington Stanley F.C. - Resigned from the Football League 1962 - THE LONG ROAD BACK - Resurrection started 1968 - Returned to the Football League 2006".



Back to the M65 and the short trip to neighbouring Ewood Park, where Blackburn Rovers' game with Portsmouth was underway....police there had me remove my helmet & turn off the engine while I explained to them why I was mooching about (they even checked my details to see if the bike was stolen, which I was a bit offended by)...Kanu's goal that won the game had just gone in & the Pompey fans were making all the noise.



I headed off towards Preston North End & found Deepdale had been flattened at one side...I always recall a great wooden stand that curved round one of the corners here as we passed on trips to Blackpool....but that's gone now, along with any character it may once have held....in it's place stand 3 shiny sliver tin boxes, no doubt with a fourth on the way...the skeletal framework holding the rooves and floodlights up are striking though, and on one corner the National Football Museum is housed (always feel it's a bit odd not having that a bit more central for your average footy fan to visit).



I'd to head out west now to Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium...just along the road from the famous Tower...another ground in the midst of re-development. Only 2 sides are complete; temporary seating stands along one touchline, while the southern end of the ground is simply flattened & fenced off. The outside of the completed part lacks any sort of markings to indicate where you are & looks a bit like they lost interest in it half way through. Disappointing.



And now for the really painful part of the trip...the reason there are so many miles...3 weeks back on the Coast to Coast, if I'd nipped down the 20 miles or so from Kendal in the Lake District I could have rattled off Morecambe's Christie Park ground & returned to my pals before they'd finished their chips in Coniston....but I'd overlooked how far north it actually is (thinking it was 5-10 miles off Blackpool !!) It's actually more like 30-40 miles, depending which way you go...I opted for shortest distance & seemingly took an age to get there. I took no pleasure in snapping this one & called at a garage nearby for petrol to get me back across the Pennines and home. In there I chatted to a local bloke who was a Vespa owner...he was kind enough to lead me through Lancaster & out to the start of the unclassified road I'd decided to take across the "Trough of Bowland", a stunning 20 miles drive up hill, down dale & through secluded valleys & moorland to Clitheroe & away home to Barnsley, returning home at 10pm. Thanks mate, if you're reading this...you got me there intime to traverse the moor in fading light...I'd have been stuffed otherwise.

ThePolemistis
wellerchap wrote:
Another sunday outing ended up being a 250 miler...and only set off after finishing work at 1pm in Leeds !
I followed the lovely valley from Elland in West Yorkshire, through Hebden Bridge & Todmorden, and into Lancashire to Turf Moor, home of Burnley FC....perennial also-rans in the second tier of English football. The high road into the town gives an excellent view of all the town in the distance, including the ground. 3 of the 4 sides are almost identical...all very square & functional. I couldn't even work out which side I'd stood on in the 80's & cheered on Leeds when the side terrace used to be a vast, cavernous covered affair....fantastic for making noise in for a big away following.



From here I made the short journey via the M65 across high moorland to Accrington Stanley's ground....only really accessible via a small lane at the back of the main stand, but homely & having the feel of a "real" football ground & with plenty of views into the pitch for the nosey ground-hopper!.
A sign over their main entrance reads "Accrington Stanley F.C. - Resigned from the Football League 1962 - THE LONG ROAD BACK - Resurrection started 1968 - Returned to the Football League 2006".



Back to the M65 and the short trip to neighbouring Ewood Park, where Blackburn Rovers' game with Portsmouth was underway....police there had me remove my helmet & turn off the engine while I explained to them why I was mooching about (they even checked my details to see if the bike was stolen, which I was a bit offended by)...Kanu's goal that won the game had just gone in & the Pompey fans were making all the noise.



I headed off towards Preston North End & found Deepdale had been flattened at one side...I always recall a great wooden stand that curved round one of the corners here as we passed on trips to Blackpool....but that's gone now, along with any character it may once have held....in it's place stand 3 shiny sliver tin boxes, no doubt with a fourth on the way...the skeletal framework holding the rooves and floodlights up are striking though, and on one corner the National Football Museum is housed (always feel it's a bit odd not having that a bit more central for your average footy fan to visit).



I'd to head out west now to Blackpool's Bloomfield Road stadium...just along the road from the famous Tower...another ground in the midst of re-development. Only 2 sides are complete; temporary seating stands along one touchline, while the southern end of the ground is simply flattened & fenced off. The outside of the completed part lacks any sort of markings to indicate where you are & looks a bit like they lost interest in it half way through. Disappointing.



And now for the really painful part of the trip...the reason there are so many miles...3 weeks back on the Coast to Coast, if I'd nipped down the 20 miles or so from Kendal in the Lake District I could have rattled off Morecambe's Christie Park ground & returned to my pals before they'd finished their chips in Coniston....but I'd overlooked how far north it actually is (thinking it was 5-10 miles off Blackpool !!) It's actually more like 30-40 miles, depending which way you go...I opted for shortest distance & seemingly took an age to get there. I took no pleasure in snapping this one & called at a garage nearby for petrol to get me back across the Pennines and home. In there I chatted to a local bloke who was a Vespa owner...he was kind enough to lead me through Lancaster & out to the start of the unclassified road I'd decided to take across the "Trough of Bowland", a stunning 20 miles drive up hill, down dale & through secluded valleys & moorland to Clitheroe & away home to Barnsley, returning home at 10pm. Thanks mate, if you're reading this...you got me there intime to traverse the moor in fading light...I'd have been stuffed otherwise.



can't see the above pics... maye too much bandwidth..... but from the others ive seen (actually only in one post the images work- the ipswich stadium post).. its awesomeee...

im sure BBC News will give u a slot of their programme if u told em... maybe u should.... this is brillant tho.... im a hardcore footie fan myself.... yet I wouldn't have the time or urge to do anything like this...

all taht driving must make u real tired.... ive been to ipswich on train and that takes several hours. Ican't imagine driving espcially on ur lambretta.
Davidgr1200
Good luck with your idea. How far have you got now? How many of the 92 football groudns have you done and how many left?
jsymac
So you got any plans for what to do this year Very Happy
Neal
wellerchap wrote:


Finally, it's off on the A66 the other way, and a stop off at Darlington's new near 30,000 seater stadium (this week known as the 96.6 TFM Darlington Arena !!)....impressive again in it's construction, but has proven to be something of a white elephant to the club as attendances very rarely top 5,000....clearly bucking the "Build it & they will come" trend.


Hey, hey this is my hometown. Razz
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