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My Matchday - 437 Welfare Park

Armthorpe Welfare 3v1 Parkgate
Northern Counties East Premier Division
Tuesday 3rd March 2015
Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Armthorpe is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Doncaster in South Yorkshire. The settlement of Armthorpe is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as 'Ernulfestorp', being the property of the monks of Roche Abbey near Maltby. 
The village name shows Viking origins, translating as a farmstead or hamlet from the Old Scandinavian word “thorp” owned by of a man named either Earnwulf or Arnulfr.
The population of Armthorpe increased when the deep seam Markham Main Colliery was sunk in 1916, with a model village constructed for the mining workers, when coal was first recovered in 1924. The pit closed in 1996 and the old colliery site is now a large housing estate, with a thriving community with parks and tracks for walkers and cyclists to the local wood.

When I think of Armthorpe one person immediately springs to mind; former England international player and manager Kevin Keegan. The one-time “King of Newcastle” was born in the village on Valentines Day 1951 and went on the have a successful playing career at Scunthorpe, Liverpool, SV Hamburg, Southampton and Newcastle United. He also won 63 England caps and in his managerial vocation almost achieved the impossible dream of guiding the Toon to a first piece of much sought after silverware for this trophy starved generation.
 Plantpot History
Armthorpe Welfare FC was established in 1926, initially playing in local competitions, before first entered the FA Cup in 1936, followed by competed in the FA Amateur Cup after the Second World War. The club dissolved in 1974 before reforming two years later to join the Doncaster & District Senior League. They won all four divisions within the competition’s pyramid, four years on the bounce, topped off by winning the Premier Division title in 1982-83. 

The Welfare joined the Northern Counties East Football League in 1983–84 in Division Two North. Their taste for winning championships was stretched to six consecutive years as they won the won two NCEL league titles to reach the Premier Division in 1985. They have remained at this level for the last thirty years, the Welfare’s highest league finish came in 1987-88, when they just lost out to champions Emley on goal difference.

 Ground no.437 Welfare Ground
(Non League pyramid grounds total - 214 NCEL Grounds 14/43)

The 2,500 capacity ground is made up of a seating stand and a cover section behind one goal. The Philip Mitchell Stand faces one half of the pitch with a capacity of 250. The seating is made up of wooden benches on concrete steps, split into two sections and decked out in all white. Between the turnstile entrance and the back of the stands are the club offices, the match officials changing rooms, toilets and the Welly Boot cafe. The players changing facilities are in a new looking building in the near corner of the pitch.
The cover on the Park Close terrace is directly behind the far goal, giving shelter to 200 spectators. There’s two large floodlight pylons on each side large flanking the stand and the dugouts at the Southfield Road side, which also has the remnants of five old fashioned concrete pillar lamps. 
 The Match
The Welfare came from behind to grab a much needed three points to steer themselves clear of the relegation zone. They fell behind in the tenth minute when Adam Stapleford-Jones (who sounds like a contestant on University Challenge) picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box before delivering a pinpoint chip over the 'keeper to put them one up. Parkgate could have built on there early lead, but the hosts soon got back on level terms, when a long range effort was deflected into the path of Joe Lumsden who made no mistake to fire home from the right hand side of the area.
Armthorpe finished the first half strongly and Lumsden gave them the lead in the 38th minute with an ambitious 25 yard effort from the right flank, which took everyone by surprise as the ball found the back of the net.
The match result wasn't in doubt once Tom McLaughlin made it 3-1 early into the second half, finding himself unmarked in the box with a simple task of shooting home from close range. The visitors pressed to get back into the game but the Welfare always looked menacing on the break, and surprisingly both teams failed to add to the scoreline in an entertaining encounter.

Matchday Stats
AWFC 3(Lumsden 20,38 McLaughlin 51) PFC (Stapleford-Jones10)
Top Bloke - Joe Lumsden (Armthorpe)

Admission £5
Programme £1.50
Pin badge £3
Bovril £1

Foetoes  (Matchday album of 25 pictures from the Welfare Ground)

My Matchday
I'm not usually the envious type but I was getting quite jealous of Lee and Katie's postings on Facebook. Every midweek they were heading off to matches at grounds I hadn't previously done and my envy multiplied, as they’re also ticking off uncharted JD 'Spoons. As Tuesday was my day off this week, I contacted Katie on Sunday night to check if they had a midweek match planned and was delighted that a trip to Armthorpe Welfare was on the cards.
To make things easier and to save time I caught the X1 express bus down to Easington Lane to get picked up, so we were on the A19 by quarter to four. The chosen Wetherspoons pub Lee picked out on route was The Winter Seam at Xcape in Castleford, where there was plenty of time for a couple of bevvies and some bait. Lee had his usual Spoons meal of Chilli con carne plus Ham, eggs and chips in the two meals for £7.39 range, while me and Katie were content with just the standard one plate full.
I posted on Twitter about our trip to the Welfare so the club were expecting our arrival. When we entered the ground at 7.20, we received a warm welcome and they were good enough to seek out a couple of pin badges for our collections. Overall an enjoyable night out and hopefully I’ll get another chance for a ground and ‘Spoons double in the Katiemobile in the not too distant future.

Facebook Pic of the Week Cup 2015 - Round 1

A17 Peter Miles - MCM Mouloadia Marrekech
Jim McAlwane - Weldon United
Neil Edgar - Alloa Athletic
Paul Paxton - Sutton Courtenay
Ben Hall - Bradford City
A17 Peter Miles - SC Preußen 06 Münster

Vote for your favourite at 


My Matchday - 436 Hannah Park

Shotts Bon Accord 2v1 Vale of Clyde
New Coin Holdings Cup Round 2
Saturday 28th February 2015

My two recent trips to Scotland have seen me end up at a different match to the one I initial intended. I fully expected my planned trip this week to again fall foul to the weather, so I was well prepared with a list of potential backups, however I needn’t have worried as the forecast of heavy rain held off until after the football so I could visit Hannah Park, the home of Shotts Bon Accord.
Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Shotts is a small rural town in North Lanarkshire with a population of just over 8,000, located almost halfway between Glasgow and Edinburgh. Shotts was known for its mining and ironworks, having 22 coal mines prior to the Second World War, with Northfield Colliery being the last to close in the 1960s.
According to folklore Shotts was named after the legendary giant Bertram de Shotts who roamed the village in the 15th Century.  He notoriously mugged pack men and peddlers carrying their goods along the Great Road of the Shire, which prompted King James IV of Scotland to offer an award for his death. 
Bertram’s life came to a barbaric ending in a gripping tale told by Willielmo, the 1st Laird of Muirhead who slayed the giant, ambushing and paralyzed him by slicing both his hamstrings as he lay down to drink at Kate's Well in Sallysburgh (now Salsburgh, 3 miles from Shotts) 
He was then savagely decapitated with De Muirhead proudly carrying the blooded head to the King, claiming his reward of a 'Hawk's Flight' of land, which subsequently became Muirhead's Lauchope estate. Bertram de Shotts was only about seven or eight feet tall but his large presence merited giant status, and is believed to have lived roughly between 1467 to 1505.
Toponymics give the Anglo-Saxon derived 'sceots' (steep slopes) as the real origin of the name, but the legend of Bertram de Shotts is a much better source and a splendid tale in the history of this part of Lanarkshire.
Plantpot History
Shotts Bon Accord FC were formed and began playing in the Lanarkshire League in 1950. The club were one of the most successful in the competition, winning the title for the first time in 1957-58, in the same season they won their first Scottish Junior Cup, beating Pumpherston 2-0 in front of a 33,000 crowd at Hampden Park. Six further league titles followed during the 1960s, and they also lifted the League Cup on seven occasions, until the flagging league saw the remnant clubs move into the Central League from the 1968-69 season. 
During their time in the Central League, The Bonny played within its three divisions, the majority of which in its Premier Division, until the club fell out with the game’s governing body and were suspended in 1995. The club returned to the league the following year and placed in its third tier, but under a new manager Rab Sneddon they won a hat-trick of championships in all three divisions, crowned Premier Division winners in 1998-99.
The amalgamation of the Ayrshire League and the Central League at the end of the 2001/02 season, saw Shotts enter the Superleague First Division for the following campaign. In 2004-05 they won promotion to the top division after finished runners-up to Kilsyth Rangers.
The long awaited second success in the Junior Cup finally came in 2012, beating warm favourites Auchinleck Talbot at Almondvale Stadium, with goals from Stefan McCluskey and John Boyack securing a 2-1 win.
P.S. Before anyone asks this fine club has got bugger all to do with the Bon Accord which lost 36-0 to Arbroath in 1885. 
Ground no.436 Hannah Park
(Scottish Grounds 57 Junior Grounds 12 Lifetime Junior Cup Winners 7/27)

Hannah Park appears as a huge venue, having one the largest playing surfaces at this level surrounded by an oval track. There's a central standing enclosure on one side, with eight steps of terracing which snakes around the other three sides of the ground. The brick wall around the perimeter of the terraces forms the dugouts at the far side. There is also a larger terrace in front of the changing rooms/clubhouse building with the Bonny Bistro and toilets at the top. The changing facilities are downstairs with two rooms upstairs providing refreshment and bar facilities. There are four floodlight poles on each side, although these are rarely used nowadays.
The 4,000 capacity ground was build by the workforce of local volunteers and is named in honour of James Hannah, who died of thrombosis during their efforts to finish the ground. As well as being a football stadium, it’s also been used as the venue of the annual Shotts Highland Games.
The Match
Prior to this game I fully expected Shotts to comfortably book their place in the next round of the West of Scotland Cup, however Vale of Clyde can count themselves unlucky not to have taking the tie to penalties.
They took the lead in the 27th minute when a cross from the right dropped onto the left foot of Higgins who hit a half volley out of the reach of Whyte, but unfortunately the visitors couldn't keep hold of their slim advantage and ten minutes later Bonny equalised with a quite bizarre goal. The ball found the back of the net at the third attempt, after the initial shot from Marriott hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced in front of Allan McCrum, his point blank effort well saved, but Jordan White was on hand to fire home the rebound. 
The best chance of the second half saw a header from Chris Walker kicked off the line on 70 minutes which could have settled the tie, but just as it was looking like Vale had won a ticket for the spot kick lottery, a right wing corner in the final minute saw Jack Marriott fire in through a crowded penalty area to book their place in round three.

Matchday Stats
SBAFC 2(White 38 Marriott 89) VoCFC 1(Higgins 27)
Att. 90apx
Top Bloke Jack Marriott (Shotts Bon Accord)

Admission £5
Programme:No issue (but giving 3 back issues free)
Pin badge £2
Mince pie £1.20
Tea and biscuits free in clubhouse (invite from club secretary)

My Matchday
I  travelled up to Glasgow via Edinburgh, arriving mid morning, so allowing plenty of time to visit my favourite shopping outlets and of course have a few bevvies. Breakfast was partaking in the Camperdown Place ‘Spoons which still has black pudding on the menu, but my delight was dampened by the fact they don’t serve alcohol until 11am.
One of my favourite shops in Glasgow is ‘Missing’ which is an Aladdin's Cave for collectors like myself, having a huge range of CD’s, DVD’s, vinyl, football programmes and magazines, autographs, basically a shitload of great stuff! I picked up a couple of CD’s for only two quid a piece(old albums by Stephen Malkmus and Flaming Lips) and headed off for a few pints. I’ll be back in Glasgow with a few of my mates in four weeks time, so I surveyed a couple of boozers for our return before catching the train to Shotts at 1pm.
Before heading to the train station I rang the club secretary just to confirm the match was definitely on and arrived at Hannah Park ten minutes before kick-off. On arrival I was greeted by Alec Hendry who apologised for not asking who I was when taking the earlier call, and invited me upstairs in the clubhouse for a cup of tea and a chat at half time. Everyone was very hospitable and recognized my presence, even when I bought a pie and a pin badge at the Bonny Bisto I was giving me a couple of old programmes, which included both the Shotts recent Junior Cup semi-finals. 
After the game I thanked Alec for a great afternoon and headed next door to the Shotts Bon Accord Social Club. Just as was leaving I was approached by a member of the football club hierarchy who apologised for not getting the chance to speak to me earlier, wishing me well and I promised to send him a copy of my book … if it gets published.
So overall an ace day and I don’t have too long to wait until my next venture into the West Region, with the next ground in the series at the end of March, which will round off a busy month of football and new grounds to bag.

Foetoes(link for Matchday album of 27 pictures from Hannah Park)

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 Shotts, including the whitest footballer I've ever seen and what the 28th of February really means to me.
 You can check the progress and a map of the grounds on my list on the T’Do Page

Bevvy Almanac
Crystal Palace (Jamaica St)
Mauldons 'Suffolk Pride' (4.8)***+
The Horse Shoe (Drury St)
Harviestoun 'Bitter & Twisted(4.7 )*****
(One of my all time favourites)
Drum & Monkey (St Vincent St)
Stewarts 80% (4.4%)****
Plus Belhavens Best in the Shotts Bon Accord Social Club

My Matchday - 435 Ferguson Park

Whitehill Welfare 1v2 Stirling University
Scottish Lowlands Football League
Saturday 21st February 2015
Another day in Scotland when I ended up at a different destination from my original plan. The good weather forecast meant I hadn’t prepared for a postponement, so there wasn’t a plan B, C or D. It was left to one of my old 100 grounds club muckers to come to my rescue, so instead of the Juniors it was the Seniors with Lowlands League action at Whitehill Welfare.
Wherabouts and Whatsabouts
Whitehill Welfare play in the former mining village of Rosewell in Midlothian. The village is situated south of Polton, south-west of Bonnyrigg and 10 miles south of Edinburgh city centre. As its just a small village with its history derived from the colliery I'll leave it to Frances Groome from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland in 1882-84 to describe Rosewell:

Rosewell, a village in Lasswade parish, Edinburghshire, 5 furlongs S of Hawthornden station, and 4 miles SW of Dalkeith. It is largely inhabited by colliers employed in neighbouring coal mines; and it has a post office, with money order and savings' bank departments, an Established church, and a public school. The church (1872; 350 sittings) is a handsome edifice, and was raised to quoad sacrastatus in 1874. Pop. of village (1861) 390, (1871) 790, (1881) 1394; of q. s. parish (1881) 2129.—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1857.

Plantpot History 
Whitehill Welfare F.C. were founded in 1953, although earliest records indicate that a team first appeared in the village at the beginning of the twentieth century in the form of Rosedale Rovers, then Rosewell Rosedale playing in the Midlothian Juvenile League. The club was formed by a group of employees from the Whitehill Colliery who came to the fore in the mid 1960s, when they won every trophy in the Mid and East Lothian Section Juvenile League.

In 1979 they decided to step up to the senior ranks and joined the East of Scotland League. They were league champions in their first four seasons and won a total of 16 titles prior to joining the Lowland Football League for the 2013-14 season, making them the most successful club in the competition.
The Welfare have also won a shed load of cup honours, most notably the East of Scotland League Cup 13 times, plus the Scottish Qualifying Cup(11) East of Scotland Qualifying Cup (10) and have also lifted the City Cup and triumphed in the Kings Cup on six occasions.

Ground no.435. Ferguson Park
(Scottish grounds 56 Lowlands League 6/14)

Football in Rosewell was played on various pitches within the village until after the Second World War, when the National Coal Board leased the club a stretch of land behind Carnethie Street. The landowner of Stonefield House, Mr J. Ferguson allowed the club to cut turf from his farm, as long as they transported it the three miles to their new home, so as thanks to this gesture the ground was named Ferguson Park.
The 4,000 capacity ground is quite homely and very neat, having been vastly improved in preparation for their move into the Lowlands League in 2013. The standing enclosure has been filled with about 130 blue flip seats, bolted onto the terrace, with a new perimeter fence separating the pitch from the three sides of grass banking. Apart from the stand, the entrance side has a terraced section with the team dugouts in between. The clubhouse, snack bar and the changing room pavilion which was opened in July 1999 is also at the entrance side of the ground. There is also a row of 20 seats with a disabled shelter at the top of the grass bank in the south-west corner. 

The Match
Whitehill left the home supporters angry and frustrated after a poor display against Stirling University. The visitors took an early lead when a half hearted backpass was intercepted by Chris Geddes who took the ball around the keeper to fire in off the far post. The hosts looked out of sorts and didn't muster any clear chances while Stirling could have added to their tally in a lacklustre first half. 
The Welfare got themselves on level terms but were a touch fortunate, when the linesman flagged for a penalty after a soft challenge on Wayne McIntosh. Aaron Somerville fired home the resulting spot kick, and with half an hour remaining it looked like to game could turn on its head.
If that penalty award looked a bit harsh then it was nothing compared to the decision which gave Stirling all three points. A fierce shot from the edge of the box struck Ryan McKenzie as he lifted his arm to protect his face. The referee deemed it as a handball and to make matters worse the offending player was sent off for a second yellow card. Geddes made no mistake with the penalty which proved to be a well deserved winner for the students, who are managed by former Arsenal Ladies manager Shelley Kerr, the first female coach in British senior men’s football.

Matchday Stats
WWFC 1(Somerville 59pen) SUFC 2(Geddes 6,79pen)
Top Bloke - Chris Geddes(Stirling University)

Admission £5
Programme £1
Pin badge £2.50
Coffee & biscuits - free(Jamie's guest)
My Matchday
I didn’t find out until 11.15 that my intended game at Hill of Beath Hawthorn was postponed. I had arrived in Edinburgh two hours earlier, so after a big breakfast and some record store shopping I was ready for a pint. I called into The Playfair, logging onto their WiFi to find a few twitter messages letting me know the match was off. After checking through the remaining fixtures, it was disappointing to find the clubs I’m visiting for my book project were either playing away or their match was also postponed. I was alerted to the fact that Whitehill Welfare had a home fixture, so I gave club committee member and programme editor Jamie McQueen a call, knowing he would he going to the game as his beloved Liverpool FC weren’t playing until Sunday. 
I arranged for Jamie, along with Jamie Jnr. to pick me up at 1.30, which was followed by a sightseeing tour of the back streets of Edinburgh to pick up the match programmes and a Whitehill and Celtic fan called Cam, who told me a few happy tales of Celtic v Newcastle matches during the late ‘60s. 
Although my day didn’t go as planned it worked it fine in the end, as I was glad to finally visit Whitehill Welfare after promising Jamie I would visit Ferguson Park this season, before realising I probably wouldn’t be able to make it due to my Scottish Juniors task. Everyone connected with the club were very hospitable which made for an enjoyable afternoon, although I must apologise as I’ve now seen Whitehill play twice and they’ve lost both times, so you can blame me for your teams poor performance on this sunny but chilly afternoon.
Foetoes (26 pictures from Ferguson Park)

Bevvy Almanac
After going through the majority of a bottle of Jack Daniels on Friday night I wasn't really in my usual drinking mood so it was just...
The Playfair (Omni Centre)
Broughton Sin Bin ale(4%)****
Caledonian Harpoon 'The Long Thaw' (5.5%)****
Guildford Arms (Werst Register St)
Sunny Republic 'Hop Day' (5.5%)****+

My Matchday - 434 Blackhall Colliery Welfare

Hartlepool United U-18s 2v2 Hull City U-18s
Youth Alliance League - North East Division
Tuesday 27th January 2015

 Hartlepool United Academy play home matches in the former pit village of Blackhall Colliery  The village is situated on the North Sea A1086 coast road between Pools and Horden. The colliery closed in 1981 with an industrial estate built over part of the site, and following the pit closure the once busy village became a commuter link on the east coast.
Blackhall beach was the setting for the final scene in the 1971 film Get Carter starring Michael Caine, when(*spoiler alert*) Carter is shot by a sniper after a chase across a coal-strewn beach. The film shows the beach black with coal dumped by the mine's conveyor system. Following its closure £10 million was spent removing the huge concrete tower, the conveyor and clearing tons of coal from the now spotless beach. 

 Blackhall Colliery Welfare FC was formed in 1927, winning the Wearside League on three occasions during the 1930's. Just before the Second World War they joined the North Eastern League which they took part in until 1955. During the 1951-52 season they had their best run in the FA Cup, reaching the First Round proper after navigating four qualifying rounds they were knocked out at home to League club Workington 5-2. They later returned to the Wearside League in 1987 but struggled badly and unfortunately called it a day after failing to complete the 1991-92 season.
 The Welfare ground is still used by a village team as Sunday league and former Durham Alliance League side Blackhall Hardwick FC play at the Welfare. The ground is fully railed off with hard standing on three sides including a five step terrace at the far side. The changing rooms are in the new cricket pavilion which was officially opened in 2011 by former Newcastle United, Manchester City and England centre-half Steve Howey. Within the Welfare Park is the local bowls club, cricket pitch and children’s play ground, as well as the Blackhall War Memorial.

 Hartlepool United faced league leaders Hull City in a Youth Alliance League fixture rescheduled from the 17th January. Pools denied the Tigers the chance to extend their lead at the top of the North East Division coming back to grab a well earned draw.
The hosts made a bright start and took the lead on the half hour mark when Dylan Armstrong found room in the box to pick out full back Scott Howes who fired in from ten yards. The advantage only lasted a minute, as Jake Buckle stepped up to take a free kick wide on the right and surprised everyone by curling his 25 yard shot into the top corner of the net.
Hull took the lead early in the second half when Mitch Langton was giving a simple task when the defence failed to clear a corner, but they fought back to earn a deserved draw when fantastic wing play from Jack Blackford saw him pick out Connor Smith, arriving into the box to fire in the equaliser.
Matchday Stats
HUFCU-18 2(Howes 30 Smith 71) HCFCU-18 2(Buckle 31 Langton 47)
Top Bloke - Jack Blackford(Hartlepool United)

Foetoes (Web album of 19 pictures from Blackhall Colliery Welfare)