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My Matchday - 465 Newlandsfield Park

Pollok 2v2 Auchinleck Talbot
Evening Times League Champions Cup Semi Final
(Pollok win 3-2 on penalties)
Wednesday 10th June 2015
 Just when I was beginning to think my football season was finally over, along comes another invitation to a game, as I joined Katie and Lee for our third road trip to the west of Scotland in the space of a week. Last Wednesday we travelled to Wishaw then on Sunday we were in Kilmarnock for the final of the Junior Cup. Auchinleck Talbot captured the biggest cup prize in Scotland, and they were in cup action again with a semi final tie at Pollok, a club I’ve been really looking forward to visiting (must be the black ‘n’ white stripes...Ed) as part of my book quest to visit the winners of the Scottish Junior Cup.

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
With a population of around 8,000, Shawlands is a district of Glasgow located less than 2 miles south of the River Clyde. The area consists mostly of tenement flats and is surrounded by the neighbouring districts of Crossmyloof, Langside and Pollokshaws. The nearby Queen’s Park was developed in the late 19th century in response to the increasing population on the south side of the Clyde, with the need for open spaces within the large community. The park was opened in 1857, designed by Sir Joseph Paxton and dedicated to the memory of Mary, Queen of Scots - who lost the Battle of Langside near the park. The entrance to Pollok FC is just south of Shawlands at the other side of the White Cart Water in Newlands.
 Plantpot History
Pollok were formed back in 1908 and had their first successful period during the Second World War years, winning the Glasgow Junior Cup and the Glasgow Dryburgh Cup in 1941-42. They won more honours during this decade and also reached the semi finals of the Junior Cup in 1944-45. In the quarter-final they beat Fauldhouse United after a protest, winning 3-1 in the replay in front of a crowd of over 15,000 at Newlandsfield. Many spectators had to leave the ground as they were unable to see any of the match action, so they headed to the Pollokshaws East Station just 50 yards away, where for the price of a platform ticket they had a birdseye view of the game. In the semi finals they lost out to eventual winners Burnbank Athletic 1-0 before a crowd of 25,000 with the ground full signs going up an hour before kick off.
The club benefited after the demise of senior club Third Lanark in 1967, with many fans switching their allegiance to their south side neighbours. The club won the Central League Cup for the first time in 1978 and lifted the trophy on eight further occasions, the same number of times they won the Central Division from their first title success in 1978-79.
The Scottish Junior Cup first took residence at Newlands in 1981, beating Arthurlie in front of a crowd of over 13,000 at Hampden Park with Norrie Fulton grabbing the decisive goal. Pollok followed up this success in 1985, returning to Hampden to beat Petershill 3-1 in the replay after a 1-1 draw, but missed out on the double the following season, losing 3-2 to Auchinleck Talbot in the centenary final. 
The 1990’s was a hugely successful period for the ‘Lok including a third Junior Cup triumph in 1997, defeating Tayport 3-1 in the final at Motherwell’s Fir Park. However disappointment followed twelve months later as Arthurlie finally gained revenge for that ‘81 defeat by gubbing Pollok 4-0 at Fir Park. 
Following the reconstructing of the Junior Leagues in 2002, Pollok were placed in the West Region Super League Premier Division. The ‘Lok were the first club to win the division and have been champions in 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2007-08, making them the division’s most successful club. Those last two triumphs coincided with the SFA inviting the winners of the 3 major Junior leagues and the Junior Cup winners to take part in the Senior Scottish Cup. Pollok overcame St Cuthbert Wanderers and faced Montrose in the 2nd round, achieving a 2–2 draw at Links Park, but narrowly losing the replay at Newlandsfield, then the following year they were knocked out by Spartans FC in the 1st round.
Last season Pollok were relegated for the first time following a disastrous season, having four different managers and the club also entangled with off the field problems. This season under the guidance of Tony McInally they’ve comfortably won the league, so they’ll be back in the West Region’s top division next season.
 Ground no.465 Newlandsfield Park 
(Scottish grounds 63 SJFA grounds 17 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 11/27)

The southsides local team began life at Haggs Park in the Pollok Estate, but were forced into a move during the 1926-27 season when the city council wanted the land for school pitches, despite the club spending hundreds of pounds on improving the facilities. After playing temporarily at Rosebery Park and the Queen Mary Tea Gardens in Thornliebank  they acquired Newlandsfield Park in 1928.
The ground is a gem, made up of terraces on all four sides, dominated by a 1,500 covered enclosure on one side. The roof is decked out in black and white with the club and ground name proudly displayed in the centre. The dugouts are in front of the stand and opposite there's now a row of apartments to block the view from the train station. The changing rooms and social club are in the corner beside the paying entrances. Newlandsfield is without floodlights and has an overall capacity of 4,000

The Match
Talbot were looking for a hat-trick of wins in this competition and another trophy in what's been a terrific season for the Bot. They took the lead after quarter of an hour when following on from his magnificent strike in the Junior Cup final, Dwayne Hyslop scored with a much simpler task to fire in a right wing cross from twelve yards. At the interval I expected the Super Premier champions to march into the final but the 'Lok had other ideas in what was a cracking second half. 
Tam Hanlon equalised from the penalty spot following a handball ten minutes after the restart, then moments later their job was made easier when McCulloch totally lost his rag. He was shown a red card after pushing over an opposing player, before arguing the toss with fellow players and the referee, then to top it all off on his way to the dressing room he chinned the corner flag!
Pollok instantly took advantage of the extra man when Robbie Winters was on hand to head home a right wing cross from close range to make it 2-1 on 57 minutes. It was Gordon Pope who scored the decisive winning goal in Sunday's final with a coolly taken penalty, but he was denied from 12 yards this time 'round as Longmuir pulled off a fine save in the 67th minute. Talbot pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded a few minutes later when a free kick from a central position found Graham Wilson, who showed good control to pick the ball out of the air and finish neatly from ten yards.
Auchinleck should've had the tie wrapped up late on but were denied by some stunning saves from Jordan Longmuir who took the tie into a penalty shoot out after keeping the score locked at two apiece. After a man of the match performance from the Pollok 'keeper I fully expected him to again produce something special and he didn't let me down, saving twice to book the 'Lok's place in Saturday's final against Blantyre Vic's, winning the penalty shootout 3-2.

Matchday Stats
PFC 2(Hanlon 54pen Winters 57)ATFC 2(Hyslop 16 Wilson 70)
Att.800.est
Top Bloke -  Jordan Longmuir(Pollok)

Spondoolicks
Admission £5
 Programme £1.50
Coffee 80p
Scotch pie £1.30
 My Matchday
Due to the usual heavy tea time traffic I got picked up later than we planned, which meant we didn't pull into the Morrisons car park outside the ground until 7pm. Although we missed out on our usual Wetherspoons tea, I wasn't going to be denied another tick so I ran along to the  Sir John Stirling Maxwell by myself for a swift pint. 
I was back home much later as well, so there was just 4 hours sleep before graft this morning, but I’ll happily sacrifice that much needed extra kip for what turned out to be one of my favourite grounds out of the 67 I’ve visited this season. 
Not only was it it a cracking ground but the match was entertaining as well and a good one to finish the season on, which means that I can now finally make it official, after 116 matches and 447 goals, I’m declaring the end of the brilliant football season of 2014-15.
Foetoes (Matchday album of 20 pictures from Newlandsfield Park)
(Sorry for the poor quality, used phone after recently losing camera number 2)

Footnote
All going well I’m in the process of writing a book on the winners of the Junior Cup over the last 50 years, so I’ll be writing a more thorough piece on my matchday at Pollok. This chapter will also include my life on the motorway and Never Mind The Polloks Here's ThE 100 GrOUndS ClUb.
You can check the progress and a map of the grounds on my list on the T’Do Page.

My Matchday - 464 Beltane Park

Wishaw Juniors 2v1 Blantyre Victoria
West Region - Central League Division 1
Wednesday 3rd June 2015
 I had resigned myself to the fact my groundhopping was over for this season, before receiving a message from my favourite Kiwi asking if I fancied a midweek trip up to Wishaw. The Scottish Juniors have become my new obsession this season, and although Wishaw Juniors aren’t on my “T’do list” I welcomed the chance of bagging another new ground.

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Wishaw is a town and former burgh in North Lanarkshire on the edge of the Clyde Valley, found 15 miles south-east of Glasgow. The settlement in the area dates back to the 12th century when St. Nethan established a kirk dedicated to St. Michael by a bend in the Clyde near what became Netherton. The area then became known as the parish of Cambusnethan until the Scottish Reformation. The site of the original church remains as a ruined burial ground, including a majestic mausoleum to Lord Belhaven, The village itself was laid out in 1794, later renamed Wishawtown, before incorporated with the villages of Coltness and Stewarton to form the Burgh of Wishaw in 1855.
Famous people that hail from the town includes world snooker champion John Higgins aka “The Wizard of Wishaw” and new wave modsters The Jolt who build up their following gigging at the Crown Hotel in Wishaw. They enjoyed moderate success during the early new wave era and became forerunners to the mod revival in the late 70’s. They moved to London and signed to Polydor Records, releasing an album dedicated "to the memory of the Saturday lunch times at Wishaw". The band supported the likes of The Jam, The Stranglers, Generation X and Ultravox, before splitting up around 1979.
 Plantpot History
Wishaw Thistle founded as a Junior club in the 1880s, enjoying instant success by winning the Lanarkshire Junior Cup in three successive years from 1886, before becoming the second club to lift the Junior Cup, beating Mayhill 3-1 in the 1888 final(far too early to feature in the book...Eddy) 
The club hosted Liverpool and Everton in their formative years as well as Notts County when they were English champions. Following the Junior Cup success they turned Senior and played within the Senior ranks until football recommenced at the end of the First World War, when they restarted as Wishaw YMCA Juniors. The name was changed to Wishaw Juniors in 1924, winning the Lanarkshire League and Cup the following season. More league titles were added in 1934-35 and 1945-56, with the county cup won four more times, the last of which was in 1966. The club also won the West of Scotland Cup in 1934 and their last honour came in 1967, when they won the Lanarkshire Hozier Cup for the fifth time. The club currently play in the Scottish Junior Central District League Division One.

Ground no.464 Beltane Park
(Scottish grounds total 62 Scottish Junior grounds 16)

Wishaw Juniors originally played at Stewarton Street and then at Belhaven Park, the site of the former Wishaw Dog Track. For the majority of their history they were based at Recreation Park on Kirk Road until the ground closed in the early 1990s. This lead to a groundshare with Coltness United for a number of years until 1999 when they secured a tenancy at Wishaw Sports Centre. This was the first of two spells at the ground, with another period sharing with Coltness in between. 
The club moved to their current home at Beltane Park, securing a 10 year lease for the start of the 2011–12 season. The ground has been transformed from a basic park pitch with perimeter fencing around the pitch and a small terrace cover on the east side. All the amenities are set back from the pitch in portacabins,  installed at the venue are toilets, a snack bar, a players lounge and chancing rooms. The rest of the ground is grass standing with one metal framed dugout on each side.
 The Match
I saw Wishaw Juniors earlier this season winning a penalty shoot out in the Central League Cup at Cambuslang. The club went onto reach the semi-final of the competition, where they lost to Kilwinning Rangers. Tonight they were back in league action against newly crowned Central District First winners Blantyre Victoria, who were confirmed as champions just 48 hours earlier after a 2-0 home win over Vale of Clyde. The hosts provided a guard of honour for the title winners and they still had something to play for themselves at the other end of the table. After falling behind to a goal by David Galt who finished off a quick breakaway from a Wishaw corner with a clever chip over the keeper, their chances improved when Blantyre were reduced to ten men. The Vics number 6 was giving a yellow card after reacting badly to a foul, then a few minutes later he received a straight red card which was sealed with a Glasgow kiss. 
Just before half time a free kick from the left was volleyed in at the far post by Paul McGeogh which gave Wishaw a huge lift which they took into the second period. The winner came seven minutes from time when Kevinbarry Grant, who was unlucky with a first half effort which smacked off the upright, was on hand to fire in after a goalmouth scramble, to the delight of his Dad, who I was standing next to when the decisive goal hit the back of the net which secured safety for Wishy.

Matchday Stats
WJFC 2(McGeogh 40 Grant 82 BVFC(Galt 26)
Att.153.hc
Top Bloke - Kevinbarry Grant(Wishaw Juniors)

Spondoolicks
Admission £4
Programme £1
Coffee 80p
My Matchday
After travelling to plenty of grounds with Katie and Lee this season I don't need to tell my dozen or so readers, the usual routine, just that the JDW this week was the Wishaw Malt on Stewarton Street. I posted our plans on Twitter so when we arrived at the admission hut, Robert the club secretary greeted us and although we hadn't asked, he was kind enough to have reserved a match programme for each of us, so once again another Junior club showed great generosity and made us welcome. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Katie aka “My favourite Kiwi”  for driving me around various grounds this season. I hope I’ve been a model passenger and I’m looking forward to one final trip this season as we head to Kilmarnock for the Junior Cup final this Sunday.




 Foetoes (Matchday album of 29 pictures from Beltane Park)

Facebook Pic of the Week Cup - Round 3

100 FgC A62 John Blair - Blackburn Rovers
100FgC Sq#119 Michael Hudson  - SC Saganihara
100FgC Sq#81 Jamie McQueen - Armadale Thistle

100FgC A11 Laurence Reade - Guru Nanak

100FgC Sq#50 Joris van der Wier - Forfar Athletic

100FgC FB Group Ulf Lange - B.93 Copenhagen

Please vote by leaving a comment or on our Facebook Group


463 Dimotiko Stadio


My final new ground of the season was on the Greek island of Zante, whilst I was out there celebrating the 50th birthday of my old friend Lynn Ainscow. Unfortunately for the second occasion this season I lost my camera, so the superb set of foetoes I took at the match are lost forever, not unless I hear of news of its whereabouts from APS Zakynthos FC. 
As you can imagining I’m total gutted to lose not only the ground pictures but the highlights of a terrific week in Zante. This huge disappointment means I’m not going to write a My Matchday blog report, so the story of my two trips to the ground with Nikos the taxi driver will have to remain untold….for the time being.

However I do have one picture of the Dimotiko Stadio which I took on my phone to post on Twitter…


My Matchday - 462 Warout Stadium

Glenrothes 1v1 Forfar West End
East Region Premier League
Saturday 16th May 2015
 My future publication project continued with the tenth visit to a club that has won the Junior Cup during my lifetime, with a trip to Glenrothes within the Kingdom of Fife.

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Glenrothes is a town in the heart of Fife, situated approximately 30 miles in between the cities of Edinburgh and Dundee. The name Glenrothes comes from its historical link with the Earl of Rothes, who owned much of the land with "Glen" (Scottish for valley) added to the name as it lies in the valley of the River Leven. The small village became one of Scotland's first post-second world war new towns, with the original plan to provide houses for miners at the newly established Rothes Colliery. The town developed as an important industrial centre in Scotland's Silicon Glen sector from the early 1960’s with several major electronics and hi-tech companies setting up facilities in the town. Glenrothes is the administrative capital of Fife and has a quite unique town centre(akin to Washington), as the majority is indoors within the Kingdom Shopping Centre, the largest of its kind in Fife.


Plantpot History
Glenrothes Football Club formed in 1964 and enjoyed instant success by winning the Fife County League in their second competitive season, the first of three successive league titles. The Fife Regional League was won in 1969-70 and they were crowned champions on four occasions through the seventies and twice in the eighties, the last of which was in 1984-85. Since the Fife clubs became part of the the East Region Junior set up, they were relegated from the Super League in 2006, but made a quick return after clinching the Premier League the following season.

Exactly four years from the day the club was founded, they reached the Junior Cup final. They negotiated some tricky ties on route to the final at Hampden Park, where they met Johnstone Burgh in front of a crowd of 28,800. The match finished 2-2, but three days later the clubs returned to Hampden for the replay, with the Glens narrowly losing out in a 4-3 thriller, witnessed by an attendance of  21,700. 
The club have won an array of cup honours over the last half a decade but the Junior Cup took pride of place in 1974/75. The club defeated Arbroath Victoria, Dunipace, St Roch’s, Cumbernauld United, Baillieston after a replay and Ashfield in the semi-final. Hampden Park again hosted the final where they faced Rutherglen Glencairn in front of a 17,776 crowd, who witnessed Willie Cunningham grab the only goal of the game to take the prestigious trophy to the Warout Stadium for the only time in their proud history.
Ground no.462 Warout Stadium
(Scottish Grounds 60 SJFA Grounds 15 Lifetime Junior Cup winners 10/27)

The Glens originally played at Dovecote Park where a record crowd of 5,400 attended the 6th Round Scottish Junior Cup tie against Shotts Bon Accord in 1968. The club moved just a half a mile south to the Warout Stadium in 1974 which has a capacity of 5,000. The ground has one main stand which has 730 seats made up with seven rows of benches, with a small standing section at the top. At the rear of the stand looking out towards the pitch is the spacious clubhouse and the committee room. The stand is split by the players tunnel where the team dugouts are at each side, which are the proper kind which are actually dug out into the ground. The rest of the ground has grass banking which is beautifully maintained, with the large pitch separated by a surrounding oval track. The highest attendance recorded at the Warout Stadium is 5,600 for a 6th round Junior Cup tie with Cambuslang Rangers in 1974.
The Match
Both clubs game into the game level on 32 points, but with Glenrothes having played more games they still have an outside chance of being relegated.
The match was a basic game of two halves with the hosts having the better of the opening period before taking the lead just before half time, when John Martin was put clear and finished with a neat nutmeg through the goalkeepers legs.
After the restart West End were on the front foot and equalised after just three minutes when a long throw in fell into the path of Matty Reynolds who found the net from six yards.
The Glens poor start to the second half continued, being reduced to 10 men after the Glens number 8 was shown a straight red card. Both teams had chances to win the game but the match finished with the clubs still remaining level on points at the bottom section of the East Region Premier League.

Matchday Stats
CJFC 1(Martin 40) FWEFC (Reynolds 48)
Att.170.est
Top Bloke - No.10 Forfar West End

Spondoolicks
Admission £5
Programme:none
Steak Pie £1.70
Coffee £1
 My Matchday.
I arrived in Edinburgh at 9.25, a hearty breakfast and a patrol around the city centre filled in the few hours before I met up with Mark Wilkins who had travelled up from London. This whole Matchday was made possible by James Little who picked us up at the station at 11.30am and drove us over the Forth into Fife. A few Wetherspoons pubs on route saw us calling at the Robert Nairn in Kirkcaldy before heading to the Golden Acorn at Glenrothes. When we arrived at the ground we were greeted by John Hay the club's media man, who was expecting my presence as I had posted my pending visit on Twitter. He introduced us to the club chairman Dougie Cooper who invited us into the boardroom at half time for tea and sandwiches. So far during my Junior Cup winners adventure, the hospitality has been superb and yet again I enjoyed the warm welcome that myself and my travel companions received. 

After the game we heading back to Edinburgh, listening to the football updates on the radio which left me totally pissed off after yet another pitiful performance from NUFC. On the way back we called at The White Lady, another uncharted JDW next to the zoo in Corstorphine, before James dropped us off at Waverley at 6pm, as we were both booked on the 1830, there was time for a few swifty's in the Jingling Geordie. 
Another terrific day in great company in my pursuit of visiting the winners of the Junior Cup over the last half a decade, and I can't wait to continue on this fantastic odyssey again next season.

Foetoes (Matchday album of 28 pictures from the Warout Stadium)

Bevvy Almanac
The Robert Nairn - Kirkcaldy
Wild Weather 'Howlin Gale' (3.9%)***+
The Golden Acorn - Glenrothes
Black Wolfe 'Lomond Gold' (5%)***+
The White Lady - Edinburgh
Inveralmond 'Fair Maid' (3.6%)****
Harviestoun' Schiehallion(4.8%)' ****+ (re-sup)
Jingling Geordie - Edinburgh
Skye 'Blaven' (5%)****+


Footnote
All going well I’m in the process of writing a book on the winners of the Junior Cup over the last 50 years, so I’ll be writing a more thorough piece on my matchday at Glenrothes. This chapter will also include a look back at my first ever season of going to the match.
You can check the progress and a map of the grounds on my list on the T’Do Page.