Stick a fork in I’m done with 2018/19

Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2018/19 campaign.

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Total Matches Attended: 280

New Grounds Visited: 202

Total Goals Scored: 1,147 (Average of 4.10 goals per game, up on 3.81 last season, I saw seven 0-0 draws this season)

Biggest Win: Bestwood Miners Welfare 15 NG Vikings 0

Biggest Crowd: 59,903 West Ham United v Liverpool

Grounds Abroad: 49 (Romania 12, Serbia 12, Germany 11, Greece 3, Iceland 3, Italy 3, Bosnia 1, Bulgaria 1, Gibraltar 1, Netherlands 1, San Marino 1)

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK IN 2018/19

1.THE STANKS


An amateur pitch marked out on a rough piece of grass against the Elizabethan fortified walls of Berwick-upon-Tweed. If it was good enough for L.S.Lowry to draw then it’s good enough for me. An absolute bucket list footballing experience.
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2. HOPEMAN – Sea Park
The Moray Welfare League is a summer competition played on parched pitches across the Morayshire region. Hopeman play on a pitch adjacent to the sea and harbour and the view from up on the hill towards the High Street is just stunning. Sea Park should be a new entry on anyone’s iconic football venues list.
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3. FORRES MECHANICS – Mosset Park

A sturdy main stand, ample banking around the rest of the ground. One of the best grounds in a league full of decent venues.

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4.KILSYTH RANGERS– Duncansfield Park

Huge covered terrace on one side and sweeping curves of terrace around the rest of the ground. To cap it all there is player’s tunnel that goes under the terracing before rising up to pitch level. Steadfastly Junior and all power to its elbow.

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5.ELGIN CITY– Borough Briggs

A traditional old ground completing a strong Scottish bias to this season’s awards list. Magically old school and seeming untouched by the rampant need to modernise.

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD IN 2018/19

1.BOLOGNA – Stadio Renato Dall’Ara

Just an incredible footballing amphitheatre. Built in the 1920’s with so many amazing architectural features from the Littoral, the cover walkway on the open side of the ground to Nervi’s masterpiece tower. Despite a fairly recent revamping for the 1990 World Cup, it would seem the owners, the City of Bologna, are keen to modernise it further, you would trust the traditional features are retained but who knows?

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2.RHEYDTER SV – Jahnstadion

When you get to hear that an old school stadium is to soon be “modernised” you experience two emotions. One is the pang of sadness of another lost playground and then that’s superseded by the urge to go and see it as it is before the “improvements” destroy the essential character. The Jahnstadion will have its 20,000 capacity terracing removed in its entirety and just a revamped grandstand will be left. Work is scheduled to start on this latest act of social vandalism in early 2020, be warned!

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3.ASC OLIMPIC ZARNESTI – Stadion Celuloza

Dramatic mountain setting, ancient wooden stand somehow held together for more than 80 years and a bright red pavilion. Just a stunning place to watch football.

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4.FK ŽAK KIKINDA – Stadion ŽAK

Features a big old grandstand and a perimeter wall made from about a million roof tiles stood on their ends. An indescribably good football ground.

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5.ALTONA ‘93 – Adolf Jäger Kampfbahn

One of the oldest remaining stadiums in Germany, perfect in every way. Coupled with a great fan scene, this a must do venue before their muted plans to move come to fruition.

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BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2018/19

(based on status, resources, effort and originality)

1. Clapton Community FC

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2.Lower Breck

Lower Breck

3. St. Helens Town

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4. Aberystwyth

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5. Steeton

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BEST FOOD IN 2018/19

  1. Curry (Queens Park Crescents)

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2. Scouse (Litherland REMYCA)

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3. Jerk Chicken (Enfield Borough)

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Stick a fork in I’m done with 2017/18

Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2017/18 campaign.

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Total Matches Attended: 258

New Grounds Visited: 185

Total Goals Scored: 984 (Average of 3.81 goals per game, down on 3.91 last season, seven 0-0 draws this season)

Biggest Win: Southampton 12 QK Southampton 0

Biggest Crowd: 42,679 Tottenham Hotspur v APOEL

Games Abroad: 43 (Serbia 14, Romania 9, Slovakia 4, Belgium 3. Cyprus 3, Latvia 3, Austria 2, Isle of Man 2, Liechtenstein 1, Lithuania 1, Northern Cyprus 1).

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2017/18

1.   FORT WILLIAM – Claggan Park

One of the most beautifully scenic grounds in the world let alone the UK. Set in front of Càrn Dearg, one of the foothills of Ben Nevis, the thought of this ground closing for football sent many scurrying up to the Highlands this season. Fortunately the club live to fight another campaign at this wondrous place.

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2.   GREENOCK MORTON – Cappielow

Classic grandstand and terracing, iconic floodlights and maritime cranes. One of the UK’s finest surviving old school football stadiums.

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3.  TON PENTRE – Ynys Park

Steeped in a century’s worth of history. Boasting a superb example of covered terracing, even with no one it, Ynys Park is the type of place that just crackles with atmosphere.

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4.  JK SILVERTOWN – Lyle Park

A fine ground hidden away by East London industry. Nearly 100 years old and what a rich story that lies within.

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5. BRECON CORINTHIANS – The Rich Field

Lovely little ground in a fantastic town, one of those sort of places you wouldn’t mind moving to and following the Corries.

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2017/18

1. AS TRENČÍN  – Stadion na Sihoti

Despite undergoing a rebuild the floodlights and medieval castle backdrop at this stadium are stuff of dreams.

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2. FC TRIESENBERG – Sportplatz Leitawies

I had always known this was a beautiful setting but it truly defies description

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3. CSM SCOLAR RESITA – Stadion Mircea Chivu

Hewn rather than built into a valley, this is a magical ground. You will not be disappointed.

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4. FC POJORÂTA – Stadion Pojorâta

Like watching football on a fantasy movie set, just stunning.

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5. RSD JETTE – Stade Communal de Jette

Crumbling terracing in a decreasing curve from start to end. Really unusual and yet another on the never ending list of sublime Belgian football grounds.

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BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2017/18

(based on status, resources, effort and originality)

1.   BOSHAM

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2.   HORNSEY & HIGHGATE

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3.   OSSETT ALBION

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4.   CANVEY ISLAND

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5.   BARRY TOWN UNITED

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A special mention for the tournament programme for the CONIFA World Football Cup held in London. Superbly produced and very informative.

BEST FOOD IN 2017/18

1. AYA NAPA – Koupes

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2. BISHOPS LYDEARD – Thai Curry

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3. SUTTON UNITED – Fish Finger Roll

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Stick a fork in I’m done with 2015/16

Here is a review of my itinerant football watching during the 2015/16 campaign.

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Total Matches Attended: 244

New Grounds Visited: 200

Total Goals Scored: 885 (Average of 3.63 goals per game, up on 3.45 last season, though still eight 0-0 draws this season!)

Biggest Win: KFC Uerdingen 12 TSV Bockum 0

Biggest Crowd: 46,781 Combined attendance for Non League Finals Day (Wembley Stadium)

Games Abroad: 50 (Belgium 9, Sweden 9, Germany 7, Serbia 7, Romania 5, Malta 4, Estonia 2, Netherlands 2, Spain 2, Italy 1, Finland 1, France 1)

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED IN THE UK 2015/16

1. AYR UNITED – Somerset Park

A visit to Somerset Park is a 90 minute wallow in the way things used to be. An utterly brilliant ground.

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2. BARROW – Holker Street

Finally managed to get to Holker Street after several previous attempts failed due to poor weather. Great ground that has retained character along with modernisation.

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3. MERTHYR TOWN – Penydarren Park

A weather enforced revisit but a timely reminder of this majestically ageing leviathan, not a minute too soon as bulldozers loom over the old main stand like vultures over roadkill.

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4. BILSTON TOWN – Queen Street

A very well maintained big ground at odds with the declining fortunes of the team. One of the many great grounds of the Black Country.

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5. WENDRON UNITED – The Underlane

Not often a ground in the UK catches me by surprise but this one did. Such a welcome panacea to see something different to the usual kit made stands favoured by so many progressive clubs. Built on an audacious scale for the the level club not to mention with sustainable energy incorporated into the construction. Magnificent!

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BEST GROUNDS VISITED ABROAD 2015/16

1. RFC TILLEUR – Stade du Bureaufosse

Massive weed strewn terrace, big pitched roof main stand, sizeable covered terrace. A truly magical place.

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2. KFC BERINGEN – Mijnstadion

Tenant free for a number of years the chance to this fantastic stadium for a reunion match was too good to resist.

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3. RAYO VALLECANO – Campo de Vallecas

Hemmed in among the urban sprawl of the Vallecas, working class, passionate and resonant. An absolute must do venue.

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4. RRC BOITSFORT- Stade des Trois Tilleuls

Built on a preposterous scale, huge sweeping terraces immaculately crafted. A quite wonderful arena.

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5. KFC UERDINGEN – Grotenburg Stadion

Built on a vast scale before the club collapsed financially, the Grotenburg is big on concrete and floodlights.

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BEST ATMOSPHERE 2015/16

Olympique Lyonnias v Angers SCO

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MOST UNUSUAL GROUND VISITED 2015/16

Fratia Bucharest, home to the lost and lonely, seemingly bonded by uncommon blood. An utterly unique and life affirming experience.

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BEST PROGRAMMES BOUGHT IN 2015/16

(Criteria being status, resources, content, effort and value)

1. Whitehill Welfare

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2. AFC St Austell

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3. Elstow Abbey

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4. Airbus UK

AIRBUS UK

5. Barrow

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BEST FOOD IN 2015/16

1. Sporting Khalsa – Chicken tikka wrap

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2. Brackley Town-  Sausage baguette
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=3. GoIF Kåre – Reindeer kebab


=3.Coventry Sphinx – Pasta and chips

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