Welcome to The 100 Football Grounds Club

Welcome to Shaun Smith's groundhopping football blog 'The 100 Football Grounds Club'(est.2006) the original internet ground logging website. Please feel free to leave any comments if you wish. Cheers!!! site updated on post date

Revisiting Shielfield

 The occasion for my return to Shielfield after 14 years was for another of our days on the lash, this time for the pending 47th birthday of best pal Zippy. Apart from a map with a list of pubs, I also took my camera to click together a web album of the home of Berwick Rangers.

The Borderers entered the Scottish League in 1951, some 70 years after their formation in 1881. Shielfield Park dates back to 1890, named after land owned and local butcher William Shiel Dods. The club moved from an adjacent ground pitch to the present site in 1954, purchasing steelwork from Bradford City to build the main stand.  Aston Villa were their first opponents and over its 60 year history the record attendance stands at 13,365, for the famous 1-0 Scottish Cup victory over Glasgow Rangers in January 1967.
Berwick Rangers was forced to sell Shielfield Park to the local council in 1985 due to financial difficulties, who in turn leased it to a greyhound company. The leaseholder sub-let Shielfield to the club, then after nearly going out of business in 1992 they were locked out , forcing the club to ground share. The company eventually relented and allowed the club back for three days a week, until the club's supporters bought the lease out in August 1995.

The ground is oval shaped due to its surrounding cinder track used by the Berwick Bandits speedway team and formerly the greyhounds. The Main Stand runs pitch length, fully covered with a single tier of 1,366 seats decked out in sections of red, grey and mostly yellow seats, The stand has a row of floodlights running across the front  which were switched on in 1972. There's open terracing behind each goal and at the far side is a small covered section known as the 'Ducket Enclosure' with a total capacity of 4,500.
 As this is a revisit it doesn't get the full 'My Matchday' report, so the tale of how me, Zippy, Jimmy Jimmy, Plymouth Pete and Honest Paul were all stranded in Berwick will have to be told another time.

Matchday Stats
18th October 2014
Berwick Rangers 1(Currie 31) Elgin City 1(Gunn 43)
Scottish League Division Two
Spondoolicks - 
Admission £12
Programme £2
Coffee £1.30

Originally ticked:
Ground no.74 Shielfield Park
Tuesday 1st August 2000
Pre Season Friendly
Berwick Rangers 2(Woods 71 Smith 85) Newcastle United 5(Ameobi 17 Ketsbaia 25,45 Coppinger 88 90+1)

Foetoes - Matchday Web Album (35 pics from Shielfield)

My Matchday - 419 North Shore Academy

Stockton West End 0v4 BEADS FC
Teesside Football League Division One
Saturday 11th October 2014
 This was a free Saturday in my fixture diary, but because of work commitments I was unable to travel too far. I fancied bagging a new ground with a few boozers and maybe a record store close by. I receive regular supplies of Northern Rail Ranger tickets (thanks to the future breadknife of Jimmy Jimmy) so I cashed one in to take the rattler down to Stockton-on-Tees.

The market town in the unitary authority and borough of Stockton-on-Tees is historically part of County Durham. The borough incorporating a number of smaller towns and villages which are split with North Yorkshire.The name derives from the Anglo Saxon with the “ton” ending meaning a farm or homestead. The town is on the north side of the Tees, five miles from Middlesbrough and famously has the widest High Street in the UK.

 Stockton West End this year celebrated their 70th birthday having first been formed by young cricketers during the war. The club currently run teams at all age groups from under-10s to senior level with over 200 players on their roster. The senior side play in the Teesside League Division One and I dipped my toe into this league for the first time for their fixture with BEADS FC.

 A sweet 20 yard free kick from Carl Liley on fifteen minutes separated the two sides in a tight first half but it was the visitors that went on to dominate proceedings after the break. They doubled their lead on 58 minutes when Aninakwah dribbled his way to the by-line to set up Mark Sowerby for an easy finish. Minutes later David Aninakwah was on hand to fire home the rebound, after a long range shot from Liley was initially saved, then on 70 minutes a sublime exchange of quick passing football was rounded off by substitute Carl Matthews. This convincing win took BEADS to the top of the table and if they continue in this vein of form they’ll take some stopping.

Matchday Stats
SWEFC 0 BFC 4(Liley 15 Sowerby 58 Aninakwah 63 Matthews 70)
Admission & programme:none
Top bloke - Carl Liley(BEADS FC)
 Building work on the North Shore Academy began in March 2012 and opened in April the following year, with Stockton West End moving there last season The club use the caged 3G pitch which is found at the back of the complex on Talbot Street, the academy is based just off the town centre on the Norton Road.

Afterwards I headed into town, stopping off for refreshments in the Sun Inn, Royal Oak and the Thomas Sheraton. Apart from having a few bevvys the main reason I frequently head down to Stockton is to visit the fabulous Sound It Out record shop. I first came aware of the store when I saw the documentary film on BBC4. 
Film blurp;
Over the last five years an independent record shop has closed in the UK every three days.
SOUND IT OUT (75 mins) is a documentary portrait of the very last surviving vinyl record shop in Teesside, North East England. A cultural haven in one of the most deprived areas in the UK, SOUND IT OUT documents a place that is thriving against the odds and the local community that keeps it alive. Directed by Jeanie Finlay who grew up three miles from the shop.
A distinctive, funny and intimate film about men, the North and the irreplaceable role music plays in our lives.

As long as this shop stays open then I’ll continue taking the hour journey on the Northern rattler to north Teesside and if I can also bag a new ground in the vicinity then what’s not to like

My Matchday - 418 Coach & Horses Ground

Sheffield 4v3 Spalding United
Evo-Stick Division One South
Saturday 4th October 2014
On this corresponding Saturday last season I visited the oldest surviving football ground at Hallam and I vowed to return (be it one year later) to the Steel City to finally tick off the oldest football club on the planet. 

Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
The south Yorkshire city of Sheffield takes its name from the River Sheaf, which during the 19th century gained an international reputation for the production of crucible and stainless steel. However the musical birthplace of the Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Def Leppard,  the Human League and ..erm...John Shuttleworth.. wasn’t my exact football destination today, as Sheffield FC play home games seven miles south of the city in Dronfield.
The town is in the valley of the River Drone in north-east Derbyshire between Chesterfield to the south and Sheffield to the north, making it a popular commuter town. Dronfield is known to have been in existence prior to the 1086 Domesday Book, and has a 12th-century parish church. In 1662 Charles II granted the town a market and its industrial history includes coal mining, engineering, the wool trade and the production of soap and steel.
Plantpot History
Officially recognised by FIFA as the oldest football club in the world, Sheffield Football Club formed in 1855 when members of a local cricket club organised informal kick-abouts without any official rules. Nathaniel Creswick and William Prest formed the first football club with the inaugural Sheffield FC meeting taking place on the 24th October 1857 at Parkfield House in the suburb of Highfield. As they were the first club they obviously had no one to play against, so matches between club members took place with the likes of  "Married v Singles" or "Professionals v the Rest". on a field adjacent to their original headquarters on East Bank Road.
At the club's AGM on the 21st October 1858, the first set of rules were drawn up, which were referred to as the Sheffield Rules, which were distinctive with no offside rule and the introduction of free kicks for foul play.
Hallam formed in 1860, with the two clubs playing each other in the first ever local derby and by 1862 there were 15 clubs in the Sheffield area. They became members of The Football Association in November 1863 but continued to use their own set of rules, until reluctantly adopting the FA directive in 1878.
During the 19th century Sheffield were founder members of the Midland Alliance in 1889 and Midland League in 1891. They also played in the Sheffield League and Yorkshire League then in 1903 they won the FA Amateur Cup beating Ealing 3-1 in the final at Bradford.
They returned to the Yorkshire League in 1949-50, playing within its two divisions until becoming founder members of the Northern Counties East League in 1982. They won the NCEL Division One title twice in 1988-89 and 1990-91 to win promotions to its Premier Division, with relegation in between due to not having floodlights. In 2007-08 season Sheffield finished runner-up to Retford United to win promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One South. They’ve played in the division since including a 4th place finish in 2012, when but lost out in the play-offs to Chasetown.
Ground no.418 Coach & Horses 
English Non League ground no.206 
Current Evostick pyramid 24/68

The club have played at a number of grounds around the Steel City, initially at Strawberry Hall Lane Park, before renting grounds at Newhall Athletic, Old Forge and a ground near Hunters Bar on Ecclesall Road. There was a charity match between Sheffield and Hallam played at Bramall Lane in late 1862, with the ground then being used by Sheffield for important fixtures, however the owners were never keen on the pitch being used for football, so the reluctant agreement lasted until 1875 when the club vowed to never play at the ground again.
Sheffield finally settled at the new Abbeydale Park ground in 1921, until moving to Hillsborough Park in 1988. The club moved to the  Don Valley Stadium in 1991 but the ground was unsuitable for the NCEL, so they relocated to the former greyhound stadium at Owlerton.  
Sheffield FC finally found a ground they could call their own when they purchased the Coach and Horses pub and the adjoining land in 2001.The field was previously used by the Coach and Horses pub team, and was also home to Dronfield United and Norton Woodseats. 
The stadium is now called the Home of Football Stadium and has all its main facilities in one corner of the ground at the admission entrance. The main stand is behind the goal having 250 red and white flip seats, next to this is the snack bar, players tunnel and in the very corner the club shop. There are club offices in the form of a cabin perched on top of the dressing rooms, with everything decked out in the club colours of black and red. The East Terrace runs to the half way line meeting the rear of the Coach & Horses. The rest of the ground is hard standing with the team dugouts on the west side and a good old fashioned manual scoreboard in the far corner. There are three floodlight pylons on each side with the grass banking on the west side covered with blue plastic sheeting. The current capacity is 2089.
The Match
Sheffield held on to taking the three points against a spirited Spalding side who looked dead and buried in the second half. The home side took the lead on 11 minutes when a terrific cross from Reece White picked out Ash Longstaff who volleyed home from six yards. Spalding presented the hosts with scoring opportunities by TWICE passing the ball back to Michael Duggan who in turn picked the ball up, the ‘keeper seemed to have amnesia when it comes to the back pass rule which changed in 1992. However they weren’t punished from the free kicks and the hosts went into the break with a slender one goal lead.
The first of seven..1-0!
Sheffield made a frantic start to the second half, gifted a goal after only 30 seconds when a throw in by-passed the Tulips defence to present Longstaff with an easy finish, then moments later Reece White met a corner kick with a powerful header which beat the defender at the far post.
On 54 minutes Andrew Tidswell headed the visitors back into the game, but the three goal cushion was restored with twenty minutes remaining, with a sweet 20 yard drive from Tim Whittaker. That looked to be game over but two minutes later Lewis Webb fired in from the edge of the penalty box, then in the 85th minute he repeated the feat, rifling in another similar effort to set up a grandstand finish. 
The busiest person in the Home of Football this afternoon was the lad who puts the numbers up on the scoreboard, but his work was finally done for the day as both teams came close to adding to the score, but it was Sheffield who held on to win an entertaining match by four goals to three. 

Matchday Stats
SFC 4(Longstaff 11,46 White 48 Whittaker 70) SUFC 3(Tidswell 54 Webb 74,85)
Top Bloke - Reece White(Sheffield)

Admission £8
Programme £2 48 pages(22 adverts)
Pin badge £3
Tea £1

My Matchday
No rushing for train connections or heavy boozing sessions for this one, as I took the Smudgers for a day out in Sheffield. We arrived just before noon and after a ‘Spoons lunch and a bit shopping, I headed off to the train station to catch the 1405 Nottingham train for the short journey down to Dronfield. The ground is a good 10-15 minute walk from the station up the Sheffield Road, so I had time for a swift drink in the Coach & Horses before kick off, as it would have been disrespectful and very rude of me to visit this ground without having a pint in its pub. After a thrilling match it was straight back to Sheffield to meet up at the car park, before heading back up the M1/A1, meaning we were back home by quarter to eight. A really enjoyable day out, although I’m not a great lover of driving to matches as this restricts my pub visits, but I don’t really mind making an exception when it comes to spending time with my family... then nicking off to a match!

Foetoes (26 pictures from the Home of Football)

Bevvy Almanac
As expected not much bevvy due to driving
Cotswold Spring OSM (3.9%)***+ (The Bankers Draft, Sheffield)
Atom ‘Blonde’ (4%)**** (Coach & Horses, Dronfield)

Pic of the Week Cup - Round 5

100FgC FB Stephen Carpenter - Crystal Palace

100FgC AF9 John McClure - Blaenau Amateur

100FgC Squad#155 James Little - Zell Am See

100FgC FB Tommy McMillan - Fethiyespor

100FgC Squad#138 Lee Stewart - Horden Colliery Welfare
Vote by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook group page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/100FgC/

My Matchday - 417 Park View Road

Welling United 1v1 Gateshead
Vanarama Conference
Saturday 20th September 2014
Whereabouts and Whatsabouts
Welling is a district south-east of the capital which forms part of the London Borough of Bexley, originating as a village on the main road between London and Kent. 
It was traditionally a staging post for coaches, with three inns along the main road, so its name is said to come from the era of horse-drawn vehicles. Expressions such as "well in" to Kent, or "well end" from the journey up and down Shooters Hill, which was steep road on route and notorious stomping ground for highwaymen. However, local historians have recently concluded that the true origin is most likely from 'Welwyn' meaning 'place of the spring’ due to the existence of an underground spring located at Welling corner.
Plantpot History
Welling United Football Club was founded in 1963, beginning as a youth team before gradually developing a senior side in the London Spartan League. They joined the Athenian League in 1978 and progressed to the Southern League three years later. In 1985–86 they were champions of the Southern League Premier Division, taking the title with 23 points to spare to win promotion to the Conference. 
The club spent 14 seasons in the division and during this era enjoyed FA Cup success reaching the first round proper six years on the bounce, including defeating Gillingham 1-0 in a replay front of a record attendance of 4,100. They also made a third round appearance in 1989, but lost to a narrow one goal defeat away to Blackburn Rovers.
The Wings were relegated from the Conference in 1999–2000 season and returned to the Southern League, before the reconstruction of the pyramid placed them in Conference South in 2004. 
Welling was served with a winding-up petition by HMRC in August 2010, given 14 weeks to pay off the outstanding debt. The club survived with almost the entirely £60,000 raised by the supporters to clear all monies owed, but were handed a transfer embargo and a 5 points deduction by the Football Conference. After a third place finish in 2011-12 they lost out in the play-offs to Dartford but were champions the following season, so returned to top non-league status after an absence of 13 years.
Ground no.416 Park View Road
Current Conference grounds 23/24
English Non-League grounds 204.

Welling United played on park pitches before moving to Butterfly Lane in Eltham. They were one of ten clubs interested in taking over the vacant former home of the defunct Bexley United at the Park View Road ground. In January 1977 they were granted a 15 year lease, with work commencing on the derelict ground in April and ready in time for the first game on the 26th August. Like the football club, the ground progressed as the team moved through the leagues up to the Conference. 
The ground is quite unique as it appears as two grounds in one, due to the share arrangement with Erith and Belvedere FC. The original Main Stand opened in 1950, runs two-thirds pitch length after it was extended in the 1960s. The stand is small but quite steep, with a peaked roof, supporting pillars and filled with 570 red and burgundy flip seats. There and red wooden dugouts at the front and behind the stand is the club reception, Wings Sports Bar, clubhouse and refreshment bar. There is terracing behind each goal with red crash barriers at the High Street end, but nothing to lean on at the Danson Park End, with both terracing coming around to meet the stands. 
The east side looks new in comparison with the rest of the ground as this is the Erith and Belvedere end as they’ve ground shared since 1999.This side is also known as the Cricket End and has a neat 600 capacity stand which was opened in 2002. The stand is decked out in blue and red flip seats next to the large clubhouse known as Deres Bar, which dominates this side of the ground.
The floodlights were replaced in 2007 after damage caused by severe storms and gale force winds in December 2006, with the lights on the Welling side of the ground replaced with corner pylons.
The Match
Welling and Gateshead settled for a point apiece in a proverbial game of two halves. The Wings entered the field to the band which(according to Alan Partridge) The Beatles could have become, as Paul Macca & Wings 'Live and Let Die' blasted from the PA. The hosts started the match faster than the 'Speed of Sound' racing into a fifth minute lead when Harry Beautyman picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired in a low right foot shot which flew into the bottom left hand corner. Welling were the better side throughout the opening period and With a Little Luck could have increased their advantage as the Heed looked lacklustre and short of ideas.

The start of the second half reflected the first but it was the away team that came out of the dressing room like a Band on the Run to also score five minutes from the kick off. Recent signing Carl Finnigan headed in a peach of a cross from JJ O'Donnell to make a dream start to his Gateshead career having been introduced as a second half substitute. It seemed just a matter of time before the Tynesiders grabbed a winner but the hosts didn’t Let Em In and on Another Day would have took maximum points.
*Apologies for this match report but this week I got a Beatles themed tattoo and McCartney seems to have got under my skin.

Matchday Stats
WUFC 1(Beautyman 5) GFC 1(Finnigan 50)
Top Bloke - 

Programme £3 (pic)
(52 pages with 24 advertisements)
Best feature - 'Ale & Footy' by Mark Doig

Admission: press pass(otherwise £15)
Pin badge £3
Sausage sandwich £2.50
Coffee £1

Foetoes (32 pictures including match ticket from Park View Road)

My Matchday
I arrived at Kings Cross at quarter to eleven, so sufficient time for a couple of previous uncharted Wetherspoons pubs before the onward journey to today's destination. I took the Northern Line down to Elephant & Castle before heading back up to London Bridge station to visit the very nice Pommelers Rest, found just along from Tower Bridge. The train duration to Welling takes around 25 minutes, so I was there in good time for a browse in the local record shop and of course a couple of pints in the local JDW. I was surprised how big Welling is, as the main road which stretches down to the High Street and onto Park View Road had plenty of shops and places to eat and drink. As expected the Heed Army who left on the earlier 0630 train drank in the majority of the pubs on the main drag, so when I met everyone it was apparent that I was the soberest Tynesider in town. The return journey back to Kings Cross and onwards to Newcastle went without a hitch, so another successful long Heed Army trip, which leaves me just one step away from maybe finally completing the top 5 divisions for the first time.

Bevvy Almanac
Rockingham Arms(JDW) (Newington Causeway,Elephant & Castle) 
Woods ‘Wonderful‘ (4.8%)***+
The Pommelers Rest(JDW) (Tower Bridge Road) Adnams ‘Phat Sprat’ (3.8%)***
Newcross Turnpike (Bellegrove Road,Welling)
ELB Pale Ale (4%)***
Westerham  ‘Helles Belles’ (4%)****
Wings Sports Bar (WUFC) 
Portebello ‘Pale Ale’ (4%)****
Euston Flyer (Euston Road) 
Fullers ‘Wild River’ (4.5%)****