Saturday, 12 September 2009

Day Six

A nice easy morning. Up at 7.30 and out taking pictures along the tyne by 8. From there we walked up to St James' Park and bought our tickets for the 11am tour. After a seriously satisfying 'belly buster' breakfast we returned to the stadium for our first look inside Newcastle United. What an unbelievable set up they have. Its difficult to see how they can fail to get promotion this year especially since they're still raking in over 45,000 for games in the Championship. The highlight of the tour for me has to be sitting in Bobby Robson's seat.

90 minutes later and we were off to Carlisle where we met our contact Jenny at reception. She really made us feel at home and spent a lot of time walking us round before presenting us with a signed ball. In the main entrance is a big photo showing just how bad the floods of 2005 hit this club. The entire pitch and first few rows of each stand were under water and took, in total, 4 months to complete the clean up process. Jenny showed us round the old training pitch and it wasn't difficult to see the destruction that the rain had caused. On the way out of the ground, purely by coincidence we bumped into 3 guys touring the 92 in 92 hours. They were rushing round, seeing grounds in the dark and sleeping in the van. Im happy with the way we're doing it I think!

After a long run down the M6 we arrived at Morecambe. We found Janet Preston who we'd been emailing before the trip in a portacabin outside the main entrance. She immediately handed over a limited edition home shirt for this season, their last at Christie Park. As an added bonus we were allowed to walk on the pitch! Ground 47 and finally we got to step on the green stuff.

Blackburn next and the security guard was kind enough to let us into the ground. Took our pics and panoramics and headed off to Accrington Stanley.

We were due to be presented on the pitch but Rob Heys who was going to arrange it for us was very busy with Sky tv interviews and the SOS appeal (save our stanley). We accepted our free tickets and found our seats. Neither of us were disappointed by not going on the pitch. We weren't going to do a bucket collection or anything so it would only have been a quick wave anyway. However, the average crowd at The Fraser Eagle stadium has been little more than 1500 recently, but with fans of all other local clubs appealed to to turn out, tonights attendance was in excess of 3200. There were a mass of Blackburn, Burnley, Bury and even Rochdale shirts. It was impressive to hear stories of local clubs providing charity matches to help raise vital money needed to keep Stanley's head above water. But its not just other clubs helping out. As we sat in reception a man walked in and handed over a £1000 cash donation! No one wants to see this club go under again.

And after the atmosphere the home fans in the main stand behind the goal created, its obvious to see that passion at tradional football grounds is well and truly alive.

1 comment:

  1. Good work Stu, really enjoying your updates and just a bit jealous. Can you keep it up after the ten days? Maybe extend to Scotland? Non-league perhaps? Keep it up guys and have fun. And keep those photos coming, you've got some great ones... BTW, pop into Wigan at 3pm and support your local premiership club! COYI ;o)