Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020 in Football

2020 wasn’t the year of football myself or many others was expecting back in January, though despite several interruptions and restrictions I was still able to attend some fantastic matches and grounds all the same. I managed to go to 87 games, 86 of those being ‘new’ grounds (the revisit was Cheadle Town for all those wondering).

As a person who loves lists, I have devised some sort of ‘top 10’ of my favourite grounds from this years hopping travels. I find it a nice way to look back and appreciate some of the places I’ve been. It was a genuinely hard list to compile and there were lots of venues I had to leave out to keep it to 10. Of course, like groundhopping itself, this is all arbitrary and I could have instead chosen to do a top 17 or any other random number, but a top 10 seems the most appropriate so here we are!

I have listed them in the order which I visited them.

Ravenhill Park

Brereton Town 1-5 AFC Bentlands
Staffordshire FA Kimberly Cup QF (Sunday League)
12/01/2020

For someone who loves both power stations and grass roots football, Ravenhill Park was a match made in heaven. It’s hard to avoid the eye catching concrete structures in the form of Rugely Power Station, which are still striking despite the bottom halves distorted by an Amazon building. Sadly, these towers are set to be demolished sometime in 2021, so you better be quick if you want to experience football against one of the most exciting backdrops there is. Well, in my opinion anyway!

Full set of photographs here.


Knypersley Sports Club


Staffordshire Victoria Ladies 3-0 Doveridge Ladies

Staffordshire Women’s County League

12/01/2020


While searching for a women’s game we could double up with Ravenhill Park, Knypersley Sports Club in Staffordshire made for the perfect accompaniment. It had a stand at one end, views of the cricket pavilion at another, set amongst fields and topped off with a warm welcome, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.


Full set of photographs here.



Newlandsfield Park


Pollok FC 2-0 Hurlford United

West Region of the Scottish Junior Football Association

18/01/2020


Newlandsfield Park was on my hit list for some time and we finally took advantage of a free weekend in January to visit. The ground was everything I expected it to be and more, with the welcome and hospitality one of the friendliest ever. This will be a day I’ll hold long in my memories.


Full set of photographs here.



Western Lane


Buxworth Reserves 3-2 Railway FC

Hope Valley League A Division

08/02/2020


Craving a ground with views, Western Lane in the High Peak did just that and then some. Not only did it provide me with the views I was yearning, it was hemmed in by a dry stone wall and situated alongside a row of picturesque cottages, it really made a photogenic football setting. 


Full set of photographs here.



Indodrill Stadium


BSC Glasgow 1-4 Hibernian FC

Scottish Cup

09/02/2020


A large grandstand, some terracing (both covered and uncovered) and views of what I assume are the Ochil Hills, this made for a brilliant first game of a double header back in February in the midst of Storm Ciara. Sadly this was one of those grounds I didn’t take my camera to, so all the more reason to return…



Horsfall Stadium


Bradford (Park Avenue) 0-2 Curzon Ashton

National League North

14/03/2030


A little different to my usual idea of what I like in a ground, but perhaps because it was the penultimate match I attended before the first lockdown it holds a special place in my heart. Or maybe I just liked the large seated grandstand, complete with terracing on either side, the friendly welcome and the unique clubhouse.


Full set of photographs here.



Quarry Lane


Cartmel AFC ‘A’ 2-3 Endmoor Reserves

Pre season friendly

17/08/2020


From seeing pictures of this one on Twitter the previous week, I knew this ground would be making this list before I even visited! Set within a quarry and with views out to the sea, this was a great August Monday evening out and a fantastic ground to mark my 300th. It was so special, it even got it’s own blog.


Full set of photographs here.



Bamford Rec


Bamford FC 4-1 Buxworth FC

Pre season friendly

22/08/2020


The Hope Valley League never disappoints for grounds with views and Bamford Rec was no different. This one even included some football furniture in the form of a small wooden stand tucked to one side. Would recommend! 


Full set of photographs here.



Sir Tom Cowie Millfield Ground


Crook Town AFC 0-2 Marske United 

Men’s FA Cup Preliminary Round

12/09/2020


For the limited time travel restrictions were relieved, we took advantage with a trip to the North East to the magnificent Sir Tome Cowie Millfield. One which was on our to do list for a while, I was so pleased we took up the opportunity to attend for this sold out FA Cup fixture. I’ll let the images do the talking, so without further ado you can view those here. 



Park Road


Swarthmoor Social FC 2-1 Bootle AFC

Furness Premier League Premier Division

26/09/2020


After seeing an image of Park Road, I couldn’t get the ground out of my head and knew I just had to visit! I finally put my words into action one weekend and took the train up to Grange-over-Sands, where the ground was a couple miles walk away. Not only did the ground have fantastic views, but also a clubhouse and a compact bus shelter stand. It’s just a shame that there were only 8 or so spectators to enjoy it… 


Full set of photographs here.



That’s it from 2020, hope 2021 brings more football and travel for those that want it and hope to see you at a game when circumstances allow!

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