Friday, 8 January 2010

Auchinleck Talbot; Scotland

My visit to Auchinleck Talbot to see a game was most unexpected! I was visiting Glasgow for the Queens Park Supporters' Tournament & I found this match on the Thursday I arrived! Apparently Scottish non-league football continues well into June as they have so many cup competitions which plays havoc with their league fixtures. Not sure how true that is, as I know next to nothing about Scottish Junior Football, but I wasn't complaining.

They compete in the SJFA Stagecoach Superleague Premier League, & on the evening of my visit beat Kirkintilloch Rob Roy by three goals to two.

This was the main turnstile, by the clubhouse.

On the wall, to the right of the entrance above, was a superb community mural.

This plaque explained what it was about.

Here is a set of snaps of the mural:

Next to the wall, before the entrance, are these impressive club gates.

Past the entrnace is the clubhouse, this is the sign above it, but you could only get into it from inside.

There was lots of club memorabilia on display.

And this sign proudly honouring their Cup win a few weeks before, their equivalent of the FA Trophy. I bought a t-shirt celebrating them lifting the cup once more!

This is the turnstile booth from inside the ground. It was only a fiver to get in. Which was extremely cheap compared to English non league football.

And here's the entrance from the side.

We're going to walk round the ground clockwise. Here we see behind the goal, which is ugly, with the brick clubhouse & changing rooms, but it does get better!

Along here is a horading for the anti racism campaign north of the border, supported by the local branch of Unison, which is the trade union I am a member of.

The two line-ups were pinned up. Sadly there was no programme on sale tonight, due to such an end of season backlog of games, though they do usually have one.

This is the hard standing in front of the club building. further along, just past the goal ,you can seen the roof of the covered terrace.

The home team come onto the pitch...

As do the visitors.

From behind the goal we see the impressive main stand. This was previously at a Scottish League ground, I wasn't 100% sure but believed it was Hamilton. I asked for confirmation on the excellent Non League Matters messageboard, and was told by 'prorege': "Hamilton built the stand in the mid 1980s when they were first promoted to the SPL. It was tacked on to the south end of existing main stand which dated from 1913. When Douglas Park was demolished in the mid 1990s they sold off various fixtures and fittings to other clubs and this stand found its way to Auchinleck."

Another contributor, 'theesel1994', also mentioned: "There is a story regarding the stand that when it was dismantled at Hamilton the parts were numbered and those numbers painted on the metal beams. When it came to erecting the stand at Beechwood they decided to repaint the metal beams before anything else. They painted over the numbers. It took years for this stand to go up."

Moving along we come to the covered terrace. You can imagine quite a noise being created under here on a cold wintry rainy matchday.

From this part of the ground we look across to the stand again.

Another view of the covered terrace, from the other end of it.

In the corner, set back a little, is a toilet block.

My first ever 'corner flag' shot at a game in Scotland! (Not adifficult achievement, as the other football I have seen in Scotland was Celtic versus Leeds United, almost ten years earlier!)

Along the side is a full length open terrace.

And from this side we have a good view of the covered terrace.

Moving along the terrace we are now behind the dugouts.

Now we're on the terrace, between the dugouts, on the halfway line.

From the same spot we glance back down the terracing we've just walked along.

And this is the rest of this site, where you can see there are also toilets and another entrance in the corner.

This is a low shot of the terracing from the corner.

Here we see our first glimse of the open terrace behind the goal, with the entrance at this end in the foreground of the picture.

This is the entrance from the other side, at the final whistle.

But the game's not really over, as we have the rest of the ground to see! So from the front of the terracing we look over the pitch to the stand.

This small knot of fans behind the goal I mistakenly thought were away fans. But one is 'Auchinleckian', who kindly corrected me on the 'Non League Matters' forum, as he mentions he was standing in this group!

From behind the goal we look right across the pitch.

Same view, just a slightly different angle, looking back along the side terrace.

Beyond them it's a bit more sparse, crowd wise! To the left you can see the back gardens of the houses in the street behind.

From here we look at the main stand again, which clearly dominates the ground.

Another corner flag shot, not the best, being directly into the sun.

The linesman is in this picture, with the terrace along the side, and stand, behind. his kit looks strange to me, as down south, in England, the officials always wear traditional black.

Now we are along the side, on the open terrace, leading to the stand.

From here we look back behind the open terraced end.

On the halfway line now, in front of the stand, facing over to the dugouts.

Here we are, turning round, looking up into the stand.

Now we are up in it, and look back to the open end, and terracing along the side of the stand.

From the back of it we look the other way, to the covered end.

And across the pitch once more.

Another angle from the back, with more seats in the picture.

There is space to stand up at the back, not sure if it's officially allowed though.

Past the stand, as we can see as we look down, is some more, terracing, but very shallow steps..

From up here we have one last shot of the covered end, as the game continues.

This is the last picture of the ground, as we are back in the corner where our tour began.

Auchinleck is a very small place, as you can see from this map at the train station. The population of the village is less than four thousand!

Thiss is the station itself, positively rural to a Londoner like me!

I had over an hour until my train, so wandered around a bit, there wasn't much to see, but a number of shops & pubs had signs proclaiming their SJFA Cup winning heroes!

I have no idea what 'Eeka peeka paka po' means, but here is a possible explanation!

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Auchinleck, the only disappointment was my stupidity. I made no attempt to speak to anyone because I was English, and assumed that they would tell me where to in back over Hadrians Wall! Which I don't know tells me more about me, or the Scottish!
Whatever...this was a cracking venue to visit. I'm well pleased that I can say I've been to the famous Auchinleck Talbot.


Anonymous said...

Always interesting to hear what someone unfamiliar with the Scottish Junior game makes of Talbot. Don't be shy about talking to the locals next time- most of them don't bite!

Anonymous said...

Loved your blog and lucky you got a great night to visit Auchinleck with the sun shining over god's little acre, you missed a great opportunity by not speaking to any of the locals as we are a very friendly bunch and would have enlightened you with a lot more information about the mighty bot, maybe you will visit again, if you do don't be afraid of us because you're English, we're a multi cultural society in Auchinleck we even have our own favourite Welshman in our ranks of super talbot supporters, thanks again great photo's.

eeka peeka pukka po


Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed the Talbot game, It must take you ages for putting the pictures in like that.

Rabbler said...

Anonymous 1: Yes, I should have chatted to the locals, my mistake! I'll know next time! ;-)

Anonymous 2: Ditto! I did find out quite a bit about your history, as I purchased one of your centenary brochures.

Thomas: Thanks also for your kind words. Yes it does take a long time. From loading, sorting & writing up the Talbot set, it takes about three hours. But it's something I enjoy, and it also gives pleasure for others to look at, which is a bonus!

Isa said...

Been a bit more work to the ground since then, the pitch is seriously like a bowling green now. A new car park behind the stand has been created and the banking on the far side of the stand has been thouroughly tidied up. There are floodlights no at the venue but have still to be installed, there is also plans for a new enclosure. Great site and great photos, I just wish it had been a better fixture as that one was meaningless with a very poor crowd, pity it wasn't a Saturday earlier in the season.

Rabbler said...

I was just pleased to see a game at such a famous Scottish Junior club. thoroughly enjoyed my visit. Wearing my Auchinleck t-shirt in London gets me lots of strange looks, and fair bit of explaining who on earth you are! ;-)

Fatweegee said...

My Great uncle Dan lifted the Scottish Cup with Talbot in 1948