Dark Lane

Gate : 0
Admin : 0
Ground : eerie , empty , and reeking of bygone days and 113 years of history.
Match Enjoyment : no match , just  rusty turnstiles , decaying stands and remains of vandals visits.


Saturday 16th July 2011
Colne 2 v Salford City 4

Pre Season Friendly
Gate : £2 - superb value ! 10/10 (other clubs take note !)
Atten : 50
Ground : Superb ground , set high up in the East Lancashire  hills. Excellent views. Lovely old rickety stands with bags of charm ... a must tick and a groundhoppers dream 10 /10
Match Enjoyment : very enjoyable game by two energetic teams . First goal after 10 seconds !!! 8/10
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Despite the awful weather i was determined to get a game in today and i had a choice of three matches but as it later turned out , Colne was definately the correct choice.

On arrival in East Lancashire i was greeted by rain storms , i was due to meet up with a fellow groundhopping buddy , who himself had put in decent mileage to be here today. His excellent blog can be found here .
When i arrived Reynard was already snapping away at this gem of a ground. The groundstaff were friendly and very amused at the distances we had travelled for todays event. The sun was now shining and the game was definately on !

Reynard suggested we went in to town for a lunch but the cheap skate 'suggested' the £2.99 all you can eat special at a local pub was his preference. The Onion Bag opted for a more discerning eating establishment and off we went. We returned to the ground just in time to watch the teams warm up ....
Colne warming up
 The entrance was only £2 - superb value in my book but the cheap skate Reynard suggested we asked for the £1 concessions option !!!  deep down i like to feel he was only kidding !

The game started and within 10 seconds Salford had scored !!! the quickest goal i had ever seen. But to be fair to Colne they fought back well and the game was a very decent affair.
I walked around all parts of the ground and the more nooks and crannies i found the more enjoyable this ground became. The locals were very friendly and interesting to talk to.

I loved my day in Colne and the ground and location makes this place a gem and is in my top ten grounds of all time - that alone will make me return when the chance is given.


Ebbsfleet 3 v Leyton Orient 0

Pre season Friendly
14th July 2011
Gate : £10
Atten : 432
Ground : superb ground , 3 decent stands , lots of old world charm about the place 9/10
Match Enjoyment : Really enjoyable match , Ebbsfleet were very impressive and were very lively. 8/10

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The Princess needed some therapy ....... retail therapy !  She 'needed' to abuse the plastic and the little minx had her eyes firmly set on Bluewater Shopping Centre. I had noticed Ebbsfleet were playing later that same day and was only a few miles away and immediately predatory ground hopper instincts said we had to go on a day out with Linda and Big 'A'.
The retail therapy idea was an expensive mistake by me as the Princess will never accept second best in the fashion department but atleast i was able to tick another ground off the list.

Stonebridge Road - home of Ebbsfleet (conf prem) was an excellent ground full of yester year charm and is well worth a visit.

 I had decided to play "guess the crowd size" game with The Princess and Big A - and promised if they got it exactly correct they would win £1 per person .... Princess said 423 ... Big A said 703 ... and i said 535 !
Moments later over the tannoy the answer came .... 432 !!!!  the Princess leapt out of her seat to claim the £432 in prize money in fits of laughter. But fortunatley for myself and my wallet , minutes earlier i had written the guesses down on paper and the evidence was concrete ! she had said 423 and not 432 !!! i nearly fell off my seat in sheer elation !

Faversham Town

Saturday 9th July 2011

Faversham Town 3 v Dover Athletic 1
Pre Season Friendly
Gate: £8 (ouch !! £4 too much ! i felt Fagin had pick pocketed me at the turnstile !)
Atten: TBC plenty of beer swilling guys from Dover
Food & Drink: had a delicious lunch in town
Ground: was only 2 sided today as stadium still not ready for new season 2/10
Match Enjoyment: had to wait one minute of new season for first goal ! but overall a non descript match 2/10

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I needed to get out for the day whatever sacrifices needed to be made and after having to cancel a few days in the lakes due to ill health a day on the Kent Coast was what the Doctor had ordered. My previous visits down there had all been successful ones. My choice was Faversham a market town , which to my deleight was better than i had imagined. The market place was a hive of activity in glorious sunshine. Getting here was problematic due to my arguments with 'Linda' - she had insisted we were to 'turn left here' i disagreed and saved us ten miles - even after three attempts to "make a U-Turn immediatly !!" Linda was not happy.

already a serious contender for "most delicious pre match meal" of the season.

Lunch was taken in the town centre market place and already has a vote for 'most delicious pre match meal of the season' ... Bubble and Squeek with the most moist a tasty ham carved off the bone and mango sauce and perfect freid egg. All washed down with coffee and a door wedge of home made Victoria sponge .. mmmm !

The ground was easy to find and for some reason i 'needed' to visit on a few occasions last season without success. But today i was here ! I was welcomed by club officials as the car park was full a bigger than average gate was due. I was ushered to the turnstile to pay only to learn it was £8 to get in   Ouch ! for a freindly i was suprised but then when i lowered my head to speak to the chap on the gate  in my head i saw .... Fagin !  trying to pick my pockets for the £8 ! ,
Fagin comes from Faversham !!!
So as i paid and entered i heard him rubbing his hands and laughing. I then imagined him singing "cheerio but be back soon ... you know we are gonna miss ya ....!" whilst playing his fiddle !.

I actually felt a bit cheated as Dover only came with academy players - not to inform the public in advance was naughty to say the least !. We only had to wait a minute for the first goal of the new season - a penalty a Dover player chopped in half an opponent , no disputes from anyone.
before the game started Faversham got in a  celtic style huddle !!! i have never seen that at a pre season friendly !!

The rest of the game was very average at best - but the day out was a good one as i had an excellent lunch , met Bob Geldorf , visited a lovely market town with great antique shops etc to browse around.
I had also learned that Fagin lives in Faversham !!!  the actual day was spoilt by a football match getting in the way !!