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Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie

Home of Dalbeattie Star F C, who currently ply their trade in the Scottish Lowland League.

The stadium lies to the side of Colliston Park, Dalbeattie.

Exit gates:-

Entrance/Exit Gates, Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie

Turnstiles:-

Islecroft Stadium

Stand:-

Stand, Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie

The stadium was closed when I visited Dalbeattie so these views of the pitch are somewhat restricted being taken through or over the fence:-

View of Pitch, Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie

Pitch and Dugouts, Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie

Part of Pitch, Islecroft Stadium, Dalbeattie

Bury F C

The club’s name seems all too appropriate now.

And so a club with 134 years of history behind it – and an illustrious history at that encompassing two FA Cup wins, one of those with the highest winning margin in a Cup Final [albeit now shared,] from the heartlands of the early Football League, industrial Lancashire, has now gone, from the highest levels of the sport anyway.

I can only feel sorry for the fans. Supporting a football club means it is part of you, a family member almost. Its loss must feel devastating, the more so because most clubs have existed over several life-times and you don’t really expect yours to disappear.

But Bury’s fate serves as a terrible warning to us all about how owners of a club are more or less laws unto themselves, with little to no restraint on their activities – and nothing the average fan can do to influence their behaviour.

Any such shadowy creatures need to be scrutinised with a hawkish eye, ever vigilant, or your club might vanish in a historical blink.

Brabco, I’m looking at you.

Dumbarton Football Stadium

I’ve been aware for a long time that though I have a category for Scottish Football Grounds in which I post pictures of those theatres of disappointment I’ve never actually featured what Sons fans know as The Rock.

Given that this season promises to be one of the most dismal in over twenty years for said fans what better sight to lighten the mood?

The stadium has had several sponsored names over its years since the club moved from the traditional Boghead: Strathclyde Homes Stadium, the Bet Butler Stadium, the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium,* the YOUR Radio 103FM Stadium, and now the C&G Systems Stadium reverting to Dumbarton Football Stadium in times between sponsorships.

It really is in a fantastic location.

Dumbarton Rock and Dumbarton Football Stadium from Castle Road:-

Dumbarton Rock and Dumbarton Football Stadium from Castle Road

From car park and pedestrian access. The turnstiles here are for the home end:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium from Car Park and Pedestrain Access.

Stadium, Stand and Dumbarton Rock from main car park:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium and Dumbarton Rock

Stadium and Dumbarton rock from western part of car park:-

Dumbarton Rock and Dumbarton Football Stadium

Showing Stand seating:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium Stand Seating

Stand from River Leven side:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium Stand

Stand from west car park:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium Stand from Car Park

Main Entrance from car park entrance:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium Main Entrance from Car Park Entrance

From Home support end of Stand. Kilpatrick Hills (known locally as the Long Crags) in right background:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium, From Home End of Stand

Pitch panorama. Dumbarton town in background. The large red brick building, once part of Ballantine’s Distillery, has now been demolished:-

Pitch Panorama, Dumbarton Football Stadium

Away end of pitch:-

"Away" End of Pitch, Dumbarton Football Stadium

I caught this disniterested spectator before a game once:-

Disinterested Spectator, Dumbarton Football Stadium

*When that one was first referred to by a BBC Radio Scotland reporter at a game I remember the programme’s presenter Richard Gordon wailing, “Noooo.” It was bit of a minter.

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness

Home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.

This sits just off the A 9 immediately south of the Kessock Bridge. It has three stands. The western side is open, without seating or standing area. I visited it for the first time in April last year when the Sons were up there for a league match.

Stadium from Kessock Bridge:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness

North Stand from access road. (Emblazoned with the legend “Tulloch Caledonian Stadium”, as was the South Stand. This may be a sponsorship which has now lapsed):-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, North Stand

Main Stand. (The Jock MacDonald Stand):-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, Main Stand

Main Stand from south:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, Main Stand From South

South Stand:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, South Standd

Main Stand seating:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, Main Stand Seating

North Stand from Main Stand:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, North Stand from Main Stand

South Stand from Main Stand:-

Caledonian Stadium, Inverness, South Stand from Main Stand

McDiarmid Park, Perth

McDiarmid Park is the home of St Johnstone FC, and was the scene of the Challenge Cup* Final, 24/3/18.

My posts on the final are here, here and here.

Ormond Stand from access road:-

Ormond Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

Ormond and Main Stands:-

Ormond and Main Stands, McDiarmid Park

Main Stand (stitch of two photos):-

Main Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

View of North Stand:-

View of North Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

North Stand from Main Stand:-

North Stand from Main Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

East Stand:-

East Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

Ormond Stand from Main Stand:-

Ormond Stand from Main Stand, McDiarmid Park, Perth

*Irn Bru Cup

Stevie Chalmers

Barely a week after the sad demise of Billy McNeill comes news of the death of his Lisbon Lion teammate Stevie Chalmers.

But Chalmers wasn’t just a teammate. He was the scorer of that goal. Not the best, not the most spectacular, not the most intricate, but perhaps the most precious goal in the history of Scottish football. It was the foot of Chalmers that deflected the course of Bobby Murdoch’s shot into the Inter Milan net and so made sure that Celtic would become not only the first (and so far – and likely forever – the only) Scottish, but also the first British (and first North European) team to lift the European Cup.

Bill Shankly is reported to have said to Celtic’s manager that day, Jock Stein, when they won the trophy, “Jock, you’re immortal.” Well, so too is Chalmers; or at least his memory is.

Looking at his Wikipedia page I see Chalmers turned out for the Sons of the Rock (for one game; as a trialist. Looks like we missed a good one there.) Our loss was Celtic’s gain. He ended up the club’s fifth highest ever goalscorer.

Thomas Stephen (Stevie) Chalmers: 26/12/1935 – 29/3/2019. So it goes.

New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury

New Meadow Stadium is the home of Shrewsbury Town FC of the third tier in English football.

On the Saturday we had seen that there was an antique fair taking place in the main stand on the Sunday so we headed there after visiting Powis Castle and Welshpool.

New Meadow replaced the club’s old ground (called Gay Meadow) which was closer to the town centre near the Abbey and the River Severn. For many years in that old location local coracle maker Fred Davies used to use one of his coracles to retrieve any balls which happened to end up in the river.

New Meadow Stadium, Main Stand From Car Park:-

New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury

Main and North Stands:-

Main and North Stands, New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury

Shrewsbury Town FC Heroes:-

Shrewsbury Town FC Heroes

Main Stand from south-west:-

New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury, Main Stand

South and Main Stands:-

New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury,South and Main Stands

West and South Stands:-

West and South Stands stitch

If you look at the above there’s a blue set of doors between the stands. I took this photo of the main and north stands from the gap in the door:-

New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury, Main and North Stand from South-west

Inside the main stand this poster for the previous day’s game was still in evidence:-

Poster for Game at New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury

I took the opportunity to photograph the other three stands from inside the Main Stand.

West Stand:-

West Stand, New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury

North Stand:-

New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury, North Stand

South Stand:-

South Stand, New Meadow Stadium, Shrewsbury

The club has a distinctive badge featuring three lions’ heads* and the legend Floreat Salopia (May Shrewsbury flourish.):-

Shrewsbury Town FC badge

When I visited the team was going well at the top of their division. Sadly their performance tailed off and they missed out on automatic promotion and also lost in the play-offs. Some of these players left the club for better things in the summer and this season they have struggled a bit, flirting with the relegation places for a while. But I see now they are in thirteenth place with four games to go (though only six points clear of the relegation zone.)

Given that Rochdale have also had a run of poor results since I attended their stadium in November maybe I’m a jinx. Rochdale have also revived a bit recently but are only one point above the danger area with a terrible goal difference – much the worst in the bottom half of that league.

*Edited to add (16/4/19): According to this website they are actually leopards’ heads (known in heraldry as loggerheads.)

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Home of The New Saints of Oswestry Town & Llansantffraid Football Club aka The New Saints or TNS, once known as Total Network Solutions.

Scene of the most recent historical achievement of Dumbarton FC, the mighty Sons of the Rock.

Since The New Saints play in the Welsh Premier League this also counts as a Welsh Football ground.

The ground is more or less in the middle of nowhere, across the main road which by-passes the town of Oswestry and up a narrow unlit road. And it doesn’t have much in the way of dedicated parking spaces.

Entrance Gates:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

From southwest. The structure on this side is a TV camera platform.

Park Hall Stadium from Southwest.

Main Stand from southwest. The word stand isn’t really appropriate. The brick structure is more like a social club with a small balcony fronting onto the pitch. It doesn’t seem to have seats. The covered area to the left here does, though:-

Main Stand from Southwest, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Main stand and north terracing/stand from southwest:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Stadium from main stand, showing TV platform:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry from Main Stand

Pitch and TV platform from northeast:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, from northeast.

Pitch and East terracing from northeast:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, Pitch and East terracing

North Terracing/Stand:-

Park Hall Stadium Main Stand

Camera platform from north:-

Camer Platform, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Main stand and covered terracing from north terracing:-

Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry

Teams Shake Hands, Irn Bru Cup Semi-final, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, Feb 2018:-

Teams Shake Hands, Irn Bru Cup Semi-final, Park Hall Stadium, Oswestry, Feb 2018

Fraserburgh

Apart from the Art Deco buildings and its War Memorial (to come later) I didn’t find much to photograph in Fraserburgh – I didn’t take any pictures of the football ground, Belleslea Park, home of Fraseburgh FC, known as ‘The Broch’, as it was a wee bit away from where I finally parked.

However, these were worth noting.

Market Cross:-

Market Cross, Fraserburgh

Decorative Shop Windows:-

Decorative Shop Windows, Fraserburgh

Closer View:-

Decorative Shop Windows, Fraserburgh, Closer View

Rochdale 1-0 Accrington Stanley

English Football Tier 3,* Spotland,** 24/11/18.

As you can tell from this post’s title I’ve been away again. Down to see friends in Rochdale and seizing the opportunity to take in my first ever English League game. Not my first game in England – that was in Oswestry earlier this year, that wonderful magical night.

Rochdale AFC Programme 24/11/18

As you can see from the programme cover it was celebrating Ian Henderson’s 100 goals for the club.

My main impression overall was that the players’ work rate was higher than in the SPFL (Tier 3 or 2.) In particular the pressing was sharper and quicker.

I was a bit surprised to recognise the referee (from highlight games.) It was none other than Lee Probert. A high profile referee for a 3rd tier game surely?

Rochdale started on the front foot but Stanley’s more direct style soon had them making inroads at the back. Dale’s keeper Josh Lillis was only just back from injury and initially looked shaky, spilling the ball on his first contact but he was called on three times in the first half and made good stops each time. Stanley seemed prepared to shoot on sight but were only on target those three times. Dale tended to play the ball about at the back and tried to pass their way through but mostly didn’t penetrate. Dale’s number 7 scurried about, though, and his running style reminded me very much of Kenny Miller. Stanley had more of the first half but lacked that clinical edge.

Things changed in the second. Dale substitute forward Calvin Andrew immediately brought a new focus to the attack. Whatever Ian Henderson’s qualities winning high balls isn’t to the fore. Andrew put himself about and won the first four of his aerial duels. Thereafter the man marking resorted to climbing over him to get the ball. The Dale fans weren’t too keen on Probert’s failure to penalise that.

For all Dale manager Keith Hill’s desire to play football it was ironic that the goal came from that most basic of football attacking ploys, an inswinging corner. Ian Henderson worked himself room in the box to head it down and in. I thought the keeper might possibly have done better and kept it out but it squirmed under him. So goal no. 101 for Hendo. I think it was Dale’s only effort on target.

Stanley pushed in the final ten minutes but were reduced to long range efforts only, none of which troubled Lillis. Young David Perkins came on and perked up Dale’s midfield. He looked very much one for the future. Apparently Dale’s football academy is now one of the most respected in England.

It was a good result for my first experience of Spotland which is a tidy ground with stands on all four sides, the one behind the goal at Dale’s favourite end standing only. Stanley’s supporters filled the middle portion of the stand opposite the main one and made a lot of noise at the start. This faded towards the end. Dale’s supporters were notably more quiet and only roused thenselves a few times but it seems they take a good lot on away trips.

*EFL Tier 2 – call it Sky Bet League One if you must.

**The Crown Oil Arena, no less – it’ll always be Spotland to me.

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