Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Day Four

Up and out of our Nottingham Traveloge at 6.10 this morning. This was always going to be a tough day so we needed some luck to make it round on time.

We arrived at Lincoln expecting everything to be locked up but to our suprise there were lots of cars and people gathered by the main entrance. We grabbed our cameras and asked if it was possible to go inside. I think the guy that showed us round was the stadium manager but for the purpose of the meeting that was taking place he was also the cook and barman!

At Chesterfield we were able to just walk straight in and up the stairs into the ground. We made some time here but lost it all and fell about 15 minutes behind after getting lost on the route away from the ground.

Our next stop was Sheffield FC. The worlds oldest football club. As we pulled into the car park the place looked very quiet. So we decided to grab a quick photo and move on. However, a guy ran out from the other side of the stand and asked what we were doing. We explained and he asked if we wanted to look around inside. No questions asked. He introduced us to the chairman and the manager and they showed us into the trophy room which housed all sorts of memorabilia from pictures to signed pennants and shirts. Also adorned on the walls was pictures and a FIFA accreditation for their 150th year as a football club. Jack Warner the president of FIFA had visited along with Trinidad & Tobago a few days before hand and we signed the guest book directly below him. As we were preparing to leave the 2 guys showing us round (ian and lee) presented us with some memorabilia including a shirt to help with fundraising. A great effort from a terrific club hopefully destined for bigger and better things.

Lee at Sheffield FC also happened to know a projects manager at Bramall Lane and so phoned ahead for us. When we arrived he met us and showed us round the stadium. He then badgered the lady at reception, Sue Bramall into donating something. She went into her cupboard and managed to dig out a shirt signed by the whole team. Thanks go to Dave McCarthy.

After visiting Hallam FC and the oldest stadium in the world, we were about 45 minutes behind and as hard as we tried we never managed to make that up.

Sheffield Wednesday is a lovely traditional football stadium. Security took us round and showed us how bad the floods of 2007 were. Its amazing how bad it was. News stories just didn't relay it in that manor. Took pics of the Hillsborough disaster memorial and headed off towards the Don Valley.

We turned up, pork sandwiches in hand and raced in and out as quickly as possible. We did the same at Doncaster. Lovely new stadium but they dont own it. However there is good advertising outside and the most helpful and friendliest receptionist encountered in 3 months of planning and preperation.

On the way to Barnsley we were stuck for a while behind the pie van above. Fantastic company slogan. Yesterday we passed a breakfast van called Angies Big Baps. Great work.

At Barnsley we were waiting for our contact Wayne Bullimore at reception when Mark Robins walked out. He's literally just taken over at the club after compensation was agreed with Rotherham. Wayne arrived soon after and was really friendly and talkative whilst taking us in.

At Huddersfield we really had to rush in and out to get to Bradford before 5.30. We found reception and were allowed to go through to the pitch. Took some very quick snaps and raced off down the m62. Our contact at Valley Parade was Ian Ormondroyd and he'd been really helpful over email in arranging the tour so we called him to let him know we were late. He stayed on the phone for a good 5 minutes guiding us through the city in rush hour and he'd happilly stay til we arrived. He did, presented us with a signed programme, showed us inside and we left very happy!

We reached our last ground, Elland Road, home of Leeds United at 6.40pm. To our suprise security were still there and unlocked the gates for us. We took our pictures and headed off to the hotel for some very well earned sleep. Oh and the England game!

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