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What’s the Question?

So Tottenham Hotspur have appointed Jose Mourinho as manager after sacking Mauricio Pochettino.

Really?

Granted Spurs haven’t been doing well in the league this season and are well off the top four – much nearer the relegation spots in fact – but they’re well placed to qualify out of their Champions League* group even though they got gubbed 7-2 at home against Bayern Munich. And the players surely are as accomplished as they were last season. If it is true they may be a little stale that can be laid at the foot of the club’s hierarchy, notoriously unwilling to make the outlays necessary to attract players to the club. (Okay, the new stadium’s costs are a factor in that.)

But Pochettino has surely outperformed his resources and is still young in managerial terms. Will his sacking come to be seen as a huge mistake?

Given Spur’s traditional style of play Mourinho’s pragmatism seems an unlikely fit – as it was at Manchester United – and will inevitably lead to dissatisfaction among the fans, and probably quite quickly at that.

This may be a hostage to fortune as it is possible (if unlikely) that Mourinho (whose best days seem to be behind him) will lead Spurs to a Champions League win this season. But.

If Jose Mourinho is the answer to Spurs’s problems what on Earth is the question?

*So-called

Trammondford Park, Wigtown

Home of Wigtown & Bladnoch FC.

Wigtown & Bladnoch play in the South of Scotland League.

Like many clubs in this sparsely populated are of Scotland it sometimes has difficulty raising a team. I believe that last season (2018-2019) they took time out from the league due to this.

After a long day travelling round the Machars and Rhinns peninsulas (penisulae?) I found the ground on a late evening stroll down the road to Bladnoch from Wigtown past Wigtown golf course, from where this first picture was taken:-

Trammondford Park from Wigtown Golf Course

Ground entrance, bathed in late summer evening sunlight:-

Entrance Trammondford Park, Wigtown

I had to balance on a round-topped wall to get these last three photos of the pitch, stand and entrance:-

Pitch Trammondford Park, Wigtown

Pitch and Stand, Trammondford Park, Wigtown

Stand and Entrance, Trammondford Park,Wigtown

Porto

I couldn’t help recognising the scene in this photo from Saturday’s Guardian Review:-

Porto

It was illustrating an ensemble piece about various writers’ relationship with Europe.

The photo brought back memories of that wonderful trip we took down (and up) the River Douro from just that jetty in the picture and which I featured in this post:-

aBuildings 20 yacht  river bank

And this one:-

Porto Buildings from Bank of River Douro

Curiously an item on Reporting Scotland on Thursday? night about the trip of Rangers to Porto for a Europa League* game also showed scenes of the same jetty. Synchronicity.

*So-called.

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.)

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