Thursday, 10 September 2009

Day Five

An extra half hour in bed was much needed. Last night i sat watching the England game with matchsticks holding my eyes open. I did see the goals but couldn't fully appreciate the success the win brought with it.

Anyway, by 8.30am we'd driven over 50 miles and visited Scunthorpe and Grimsby. At both grounds we managed to just walk straight in, grab a few pics including the panoramics i'm trying to do at each one and even have a wander around inside with no one insight.

The journey to Hull took us up and over the Humber bridge. Some very impressive views are to be had whilst travelling across if your quick enough with your camera! The stadium itself is a very impressive build. Its situated in the middle of a park and although im told its not the friendliest place on matchdays, today being as sunny and warm as it was, just helped to set a much better tone. Unfortunately the guy that ended up showing us round wasn't overly keen on us being in there. More than happy to usher us out asap.

Instead of using the quickest directions to Darlington we decided to take the more scenic (and slow) route up the coast through Bridlington and Scarborough. Just outside Middlesbrough we took the wrong turn (Dad's gps at work again) and managed to head off in completely the wrong direction. We ended up circling round the quays looking for The Riverside Stadium. After finding it we were very impressed with the exterior. Ayresome Parks gates are terrific. The maintenance man that showed us round was also great. A very proud West Ham fan, he spent a long time with us basically allowing us to do whatever we liked. We had photos by the pitch, in the press room and even lying on the injury tables!

At Darlington it was one ground that defined the difference between a traditional football stadium and a lifeless, soulless area where people frequent to watch games. Also, the guy that was asked to let us in was the rudest guy we've come across on the tour so far. On introducing ourselves he simply said "this wont take long will it". Went downhill from there. That said, the secretary was nice, we liked her!

Off to Hartlepool after where we'd been promised a signed ball. Our contact was off ill unfortunately but Becky, her colleague, knew about our tour and showed us in. When Dad asked about staff and how many work at the ground Becky asked if we wanted to meet the manager Chris Turner. Of course we did...! He came out and posed for photos whilst asking about the tour. They took down lots of our details to put an article on their website. Very nice of them!

Just Sunderland left after that and we really did save the best for last. There's so much to take pictures of outside let alone in the Stadium Of Light. Our contact Andrew met us at reception and took us on a tour. He really made the effort showing us the changing rooms, players lounge, media lounge, interview rooms and obviously out to the pitch. Such a lovely club and you really notice the effort they've made to bring their past with them. Statues everywhere and the H'way the lads gates help to make the main entrance that little bit more special.

After we'd finished, we headed off to find the Angel of the North. Its even bigger and better close up than it looks when you drive past.

I'm having an unbelievable time and only wish it'd stop going by so quickly!

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