Saturday 13 March 2010

Motherwell; Scotland

I popped along to look at the home of Motherwell on Friday 5th March 2010, I wasn't sure of being able to gain access, as I hadn't planned to go there. I'd bought a one day 'Roundabout' ticket, which covered 'Greater' Glasgow (if there's such a term for the city) by train & underground. It went out as far as Motherwell. I hadn't realised what a 'goldfish bowl' Scottish football is in these parts, & explains the not too big crowds away from the 'Old Firm'. They play in the top flight of Scottish football, the Scottish Premier League.

I was extremely lucky to get some snaps. I walked around the perimeter & found an open gate, as groundstaff were working inside. I'd barely got in when an officious woman marched out & asked "What are you doing?" Apologetically I tried to explain that I was taking photos, as it was a little hobby of mine, & I was up in the area for the weekend. She said I shouldn't be did I get in? " I pointed to the open gate I walked through & said "Erm...through that gate!". She said it should have been locked & that I would have to leave. I apologised again & asked if I could take a couple of quick pictures before I left, & snapped walked along toward the middle of the side I was on before she could refuse! She was too busy on her mobile, phoning the groundstaff on the other side telling them off for leaving the gate open!

Now I know I'm unlikely to return to watch a game here, but if I were to return to the Glasgow area I'd opt for, say, Partick Thistle over Motherwell, as when I went to Firhill last year they couldn't have been more friendly in their welcome. First impressions count...Motherwell could do well to remember that; as 'Mother' wasn't 'Well' but 'Quite surly'!

First of all we are going to see the outside of the ground. Here is a set of turnstiles in the corner.

They are at one end of the Davie Cooper Stand. He was a former Motherwell player who died of a brain haemorrhage in 1995.

Further along, behind the same stand, is this forecourt. The club shop is through here. But we're not going in here yet, time to stroll round the other side.

On the next bend is the side of the next stand named after another Motherwell favourite, Phil O'Donnell, who died too young.

There are some sort of club offices here, & a ticket office.

This is behind the Phil O'Donnell Stand. Here we see the main entrance.

Back round the other side now, through the open gates, and this is the club shop. I didn't go inside as I had no spare cash to shop with. But I will pop back when I'm up in Glasgow at the end of May, to buy myself a scarf.

Hundreds of engraved bricks adorn this wall.

Here is a close up of some of them.

The obligatory set of ground rules. Couldn't to bothered to read them!

Just past this wall was the open gate, & I was suddenly pitch side, from this corner.

A similar shot, getting in the other end of the advertising across the roof.

The was the stand at the far end, I've not heard of the Lanarkshire International Children's Games 2011, but apparently it's been endorsed by the Olympic committee. To the right you can just see a terraced paddock, in front of the Phil O'Donnell Stand.

This is the Davie Cooper Stand, behind the near goal.

And here I manage to get a picture from the front of the Phil O'Donnell Stand.

This is from on the steps leading up into the middle of the stand, and you can see the dugouts at the front.

This is the rest of the Phil O'Donnell Stand, to my left.

Another shot, slightly higher from the steps, of the Davie Cooper Stand.

Those were the steps, as we see the terracing in front of them. And that concludes my somewhat brief tour of Motherwell.

Friday 12 March 2010

Farleigh Rovers

Farleigh Rovers play in Division One of the Combined Counties League, & I visited here during the recent cold snap. There was a game on that day, but I didn't expect it to play, & it didn't!

I've been here a few times before, for Dulwich Hamlet pre-seasons, and Junior games, but not for a good few years.

This is the 'approach road', if you can call it that! I once got a lift here for a Dulwich Hamlet Under 18's Junior game, & my driver hammered her car down here, taking great delight as us passengers bounced our heads off of the roof. She didn't care about any possible damage to under her motor, as it was a hire car, with her one being in for repairs! Good to see it hasn't been tarmaced almost twenty years later!

It doesn't get any better as you approach the pitch.

Half way along that green netting is a gate, so I used this to gain entrance, and this is right behind the goal. The goalmouth is frozen, as you can see, but to be honest, the rest of the pitch is playable. Maybe a few hot kettles over the area & a couple of large sponges would have done the job... Actually I just made that up, but I wonder if anyone has tried that to get a game played?

Running down the side to our left is all the club facilities. The bar to the left, and then the changing rooms.

A 'corner flag' shot with a difference for down the touchline, rather than across the pitch.

Here we see the hard standing that leads to the bar & the changing rooms area.

Note the overhang that doubles up as a 'covered terrace' and the benches, that 'double up' as a 'stand'!

The dugouts are in club colours.

Basic training lights are up in front of the changing rooms, which are just before the dugouts, on the halfway line area.

From in front of the dugouts we look back down the main side.

Across the pitch it's open behind the goal where we came in, no spectator standing area at that end.

Looking over the halfway line we see it is railed off down the far side.

Moving on, past the dugouts, is a further stetch of hard standing, down to the corner.

The rail seems to continue into the overgrowth.

There is no space for standing behind the goal. just look at how close the touchline is to the wooded area, & the poles holding up netting.

From behind this goal we look back down the main side.

this snap is a bit blurred, but you can still make out an old roller in the overgrowth.

Now we're on the other side of the Farleigh ground. Simply railed off all the way along.

From this corner flag angle we look across the pitch.

Halway line again, looking to the more substantial side.

And finally to the last corner, some of the pitch rail missing. You can also see how tight the space is behind this goal, no room for fans at this end either.

A final view down this open side, before it's time to leave.

Thursday 11 March 2010


Southwick play in the Second Division of the Sussex County League. I've been here a few times before, all with Dulwich Hamlet. The last was at the start of the nineties, when they were an Isthmian League side. My first time here was for an FA Cup 2nd qualifying round midweek replay defeat in 1985. On getting the train back we got off at Peckham Rye at around midnight, & Rye Lane was even more deserted than usual. no people, no traffic. What was going on? I turned left, walking toward the Old Kent Road, where I lived. Walking down a deserted road I got to the bottom of Rye Lane to be met by a line of riot police! They asked where on earth we'd come from, but not so politely. Turns out trains had been told NOT to stop at Peckham Rye, as parts of Peckham were burning that night, as a riot was taking place. Sadly one of the buildings to burn was the pie & mash shop, but thankfully it was rebuilt.

I took these snaps in January 2010, prior to watching the Hamlet at Worthing. After I'd completed my circuit a man came out of the clubhouse & enquired what I was doing. I explained, & he said he was the commercial manager Alan Petken. We only spoke briefly, but he was extremely friendly & gave me a free copy of their programme for that afternoon, an excellent sixty page effort, with colour cover. He refused to take any money off me for it, which I don't know if it means he is a genuinely kind person, or a crap commercial manager! ;-)

That small act of kindness ceetainly made my day.

This is the approach to the ground, where you can see the club bar.

This is the actual entrance to the ground.

In the corner are these turnstiles, this is inside the ground.

To the right, as we walk in & begin our tour, is this open area behind the goal.

From this corner we look across the pitch, to the also open far side, and the dugouts. Club name proudly painted on the perimeter wall.

We're going to go staight ahead though, down the nearside touchline, in a clockwise direction. The glass fronted patio is the smoking area for the clubhouse, with a stand urther along.

A bit blurred, but this is inside the bar.

This wonderful club crest is displayed on the wall in there.

Behind the bar area is the changing rooms, and here is the 'tunnel' to them, with the stand just beyond.

This is down the tunnel, the door to the changing rooms on the left, at the end.

Another club crest painted on the wall. This ground may be rundown a little, but there is no doubt the people of this club are extrmely proud of their home.

As if we never knew, from the amount of club emblems everywhere! ;-)

From the tunnel we look over to the club name on the far side.

This is the stand, a few rows of bucket seating.

The ones further along have a slightly higher vantage point.

Here is a shot from the front. There may not be many of them, but they're tidy, & the stand has its own individual style.

Further along this area is 'bricked in', maybe an official' area?

And a tidy stand alone press box.

Past this is open paved hard standing to the corner.

Double railed, the lower one presumably being an old pitch surround which they didn't completely dismantle when the new one was installed.

Just behind the goal is the railway line. When we saw the Hamlet play here all those years ago I don't think the bridge over the tracks had the cage over it, and a number of tight fisted locals watched the game for free on it. We nicknamed it the 'Southwick Hornby Stand'!

Turning the corner & it's more open hard standing.

From this corner we look back down the side we've just walked down.

And now we're going to stroll along this old concrete path behind the goal.

From behind the goal we glance over to the dugouts side which we're on our way to.

Set back in the next corner of the ground is this old hut. I'm guessing this is/was for refreshments.

And while in this corner we have a corner flag view (minus the corner flag!) over to the built up side.

The first stretch of this side has some old terracing, with a whitewashed brick wall at the back.

Here is a better angle of it from the front.

From here we glance back behind, to the railway end.

This is another angle of the terrace, as we move along.

It's a bit tight, and a right rubbish view(!), as we move behind the dugouts.

From by the dugouts we look across the pitch to the main buildings side.

This is one of the dugouts.

Past them is the outer brick wall, smartly painted with the club name. I don't know why the hard standing is wider here. Perhaps there was once some cover of some sort here in years gone by?

We now on the latter part of our visit. Heading for the area behind the goal.

Here we have one more look down the length of the open side.

Behind the goal it's more built up, a couple of steps of shallow terrace, rather than just a basic hard standing walkway.

A bit further along it's a decent end for this level.

Behind this goal we see the stand beyond.

Another club sign behind the goal. This one a manufactured one. they must have run out of paint! And on that note we've run out of time at this ramshackle but delight of a tidy ground...if that's not too much of a contradiction!