Thursday 11 August 2011


I popped into Lingfield in May 2010, & it is a basic Sussex County League Division One ground. I was happy enough to stop off here, as I wanted to see what the ground actually looked like. You see I had been here once before a few years ago, for a Surrey Premeier Cup tie, when Dulwich Hamlet Reserves visited, to play them. But the place was shrouded in heavy fog, & I could barely see the touchline on the other side of the pitch, never mind the goals!

A smart sign on the main road, by the ground. It looks smart, but the year is wrong. They were formed in 1893 NOT 1883!

They share their facilities with the cricket club.

This is the car park at the ground, you can see the modern club building straight ahead, which houses the changing rooms and clubhouse. The turnstiles are on the right.

This is the way into the ground.

There is hard standing along the side, the bar is just past the green mesh.

Looking the other way is the open hard standing behind the goal. We're not walking along here, heading instead, clockwise, toward the clubhouse.

The only cover is the overhang from the clubhouse, with no stand, but some picnic style tables outside.

The way in, for players & officials.

Under the cover, looking toward the far end.

The board for team line-ups, on matchdays, by the closed clubhouse doors.

Past the building is the railed off 'players tunnel', & the dugouts in front.

The 'tunnel' from on the pitch.

One of the dugouts.

Stepping onto the pitch we look at the club building, & the main spectator area in front of it.

The hard standing continues behind the dugouts.

The view over the halfway line.

Moving on the fixed rail & hard standing goes on to the corner.

From the corner we glance back down the side we've just covered.

Behind the goal it's just railed, no concrete all. Due to the sharing with the cricket, the rail looks temporary, for the winter game.

Walking behind the goal we can see the main cricket square, protected by netting, further along.

At the next corner now, I'm intrigued to know how the pylons affect the cricket.

An angled 'corner flag(less)' snap, with the main side in the background.

Moving along the side you can now clearly see how the cricket & football overlaps.

Over the pitch, all the facilities over there.

Past the artificial wicket, toward the next corner, note the cricket nets, top left.

Now at the end where we began, from the other side of the ground. Hard standing here, as it doesn't encroach onto the cricket playing area.

Turning to see down the very open touchline.

The car park behind the pathed end.

Home stretch, to the turnstile where we began.

A last look at the pavilion, from behind the net.

A final look here, with the dugouts in the picture.

And out we go, through the gate.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Aston Villa

Aston Villa are a top flight club, playing in the Barclays Premier League, & I had the good fortune to visit their historic Villa Park home on a Sunday last season, for an FA Youth Cup tie versus Middlesbrough on 6th March 2011, which had a 12 noon kick off.

Despite being modernised down the years I could feel the history that permeates the place, & I was so glad I had made the effort to get up early & take the coach, for a day trip, from Victoria coach station.

The signage at the station clearly shows you are at the right place.

Walking from there to the ground there's no doubt who the clientele in this pub support.

There was a healthy sprinkling of these stickers in the vicinity, which was good to see.

Approaching the stadium there is plenty of signage.

A close up of the map on it.

The famous Holte pub, right by the ground.

And here is the facade of the Holte End, demolished a few years ago, but some it still in theo ld style. I'm not sure if it original brickwork or replica.

Looking at it face on.

The mosaiced club crest.

And stained glass windows, not too clear from here though.

The club name is also proudly displayed.

As you can see here, from the gates to the car park, club lion standing guard at the entrance.

Zooming in on one of them.

More gates further along.

The stand ahead is the Trinity Road Stand, very unusual, in that it was re-built OVER the road behind, as there was no space to built on the road itself.

The stand has this modern emblem, nothing wrong with it, but it seems a bit too plastic & modern, to me, almost cheap, not in fitting with the place.

As we walk under the stand there are the entrances for the posher fans.

A poster advertises the next first team match.

Also the standard list of ground regulations.

We are now outside at the next corner, this is the only stand that is open today, but we're not going inside yet.

The rear of the North Stand, opposite the Holte End.

Set back across the car park behind the goal in the picture above, is the Villa Store. Club shop in 'old money'!

And looking back toward the ground, to the left of the North Stand, as we look toward it, is the Doug Ellis Stand.

Turning back to the Trinity Road Stand there's a cycle rack, those hooks look a bit menacing!

Programme booths, not open today, just a single sheet given away on entrance. Which is more than Chelsea bother to do on their FA Youth Cup nights!

Outside the ground is a statue of one of their founding fathers, the Scotsman William McGregor, who was the instigator behind the Football League, way back in 1888.

As the plaque below it tells you.

There are more fancy gates at this end of the stadium.

Old and new styles for the club name.

These are the turnstiles that were open for the match. Note the shaped tiling on the left of the picture.

Personal engraved messages on them.

The club mascots are inside... boy...

& girl!

There is plenty of service points in the concourse, though most are closed today.

Not too sure about all this healthy food lark though.

This leads through to the Family Stand part of this side.

With snazzy murals for the youngsters to 'wow'! at.

Inside the stadium itself now, we are in the Trinity Road Stand. Only the lower section is open, & I won't be able to take you round the whole place, like I prefer. But we will still see most of the ground from this side, as we move along it, going backward & forward, as the match progresses.
This is the Doug Ellis Stand, opposite.

To our left is the two tiered North Stand.

with the still huge Holte End, to the right. I'm not 100%, but I think that when this was a terrace back in the day, it was the largest terraced end in the country.

In the corner by the Holte is the electronic scoreboard. Again , informative, unlike Chelsea, who kept theirs switched off at their FA Youth Cup ties which I went to last season.

Still in the socreboard corner we see a number of executive boxes.

Back down the other end, above the boxes in the North Stand, a commentator's quotation from their finest moment runs across the length...

I couldn't fit it all into one snap!

Below the glass of the boxes the seats are completely empty, bar the ball boy!

Here we see the same stand from the side.

Up in in the lower corner of the Trinity Road we look across the pitch, to the stands on the other sides.

And now along the length of the Trinity Road, boxes inbetween the two tiers above us, to the right.

A bit of a wonky angle as I hold my camera up to snap the posh seats in front of the glass.

Moving along, but down a little, we glance along the same stand.

Back in the corner by the North Stand, this walkway shows that the Trinity Road could be classed as 'three tiered' if you class the front area, by the pitch, as another section.

Here we see the front bit, which includes a section for the press.

This is the centre part of mid/lower tier, which wasn't open to sit in, presumably more of an executive area.

This looks like the directors' box.

Sneaking up a little, another view over the pitch, toward the Holte End.

A leftwards turn now, back to the North Stand.

Another look at the scoreboard, as the game is in progress.

At the other bottom corner of the Trinity Road, we see the modern majesty of the Holte.

Down at the corner, we turn & look back along the Trinity Road, from the bottom.

In the same place, along the touchline, North Stand as the backdrop.

From the front this is probably the 'best' picture I could get of the upper tier, above the boxes.

Still at the front, over the pitch with both North & Doug Ellis stands as backdrop.

In the centre, at the front, are the perspex dugouts.

The far corner of the Doug Ellis Stand opposite. How often do you see a spiral staircase at a football ground?

The seats reflected in the boxes on the North Stand glass.

On top of the Doug Ellis flags proudly fluttering in the wind.

Unfortunately 'back to front' for me, due to the wind direction.

The final score, a deserved home win.

And the small pocket of noisy home fans are about to pack up their flags.

And so...back to the match, a few pictures of the game itself: