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Hopping Mad

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  1. Steeton, who until recently played at Cougar Park, open their new ground, at Marley, Keighley, on November 14. Garstang are the visitors for a North West Counties League Division One North fixture.
  2. Yes, some of the Midlands clubs have suffered over the years. I remember Leek Town spending a season in the Southern League. Their travelling expenses doubled. Almost broke the club.
  3. As I'm sure you know, it's not that long ago Lowestoft Town were in the NPL!
  4. It's ridiculous - and potentially ruinous, financially. Why, for example, would a Northern League club give up well attended derby games every week for the privilege of travelling across northern England, on a mid-winter Tuesday, to play under lights in front of little more than one man and a dog at, say, Prescot Cables? Spennymoor Town (unlike United, their predecessor) have made a decent fist of life away from the Northern League but they've got a wealthy backer. Ditto South Shields. Marske United and Whitby Town are doing OK but then they were on the southern fringe of the Northern League catchment.
  5. Tuning into the Radio 4 repeat, I heard that yesterday. Alice Fraser, the Sydney-born (!) female comedian, gave the impression union is Australia biggest 'rugby' concern. Mind you, Fraser has an Oxbridge background.
  6. Blackpool Borough change strip, second half of the 1980s: light grey shirt, white shorts, black socks. Apparently, Borough got the grey shirts for next to nothing.
  7. Having been to POR last Saturday (3/10) to watch Wakefield AFC, I wondered what Rovers fans felt about the groundshare. Anybody know how much the football club are paying to use Fev's facilities? All 300 tickets (COVID capacity) were sold for the game I saw but I don't think everybody turned up. Pitch was in (understandably) superb condition. Held up very well despite the relentless rain. To my surprise, the whole ground was open to spectators.
  8. The two penalties (both for so-called handball) awarded to Celtic at Motherwell the other week were a joke. Watch them on iplayer. Ridiculous.
  9. Last Saturday (3/10), I went to Post Office Road to watch the relatively new Wakefield AFC, who are based at Featherstone this season. All 300 tickets (COVID capacity) were sold, though I don't think everyone turned up. Quite strange watching footy at POR. Wakefield recorded their first win, beating 4-0 Sheffield & Hallamshire County Senior League Premier Division rivals Oughtibridge War Memorial (feel free to insert your own 'the opposition must have defended like statues' joke). Pitch held up superbly despite relentless rain. All parts of the ground open. Free admission (donations invited), with a 28-page programme two quid. Wakefield (based at Cudworth last season, their first) are at step 11 of the English football pyramid.
  10. Could that non-league football increase be explained partly by spectators not being allowed at Premier, Football and National league matches? Some, starved of live football, will now watch anything - even step five, six, seven and eight etc stuff.
  11. Fair points, all. I just feel, with the closure of so many traditional grounds (whatever state they were in by the time the bulldozers turned up), rugby league has lost at least some of its character. At the top end, it can now seem like a sport played at soccer stadia.
  12. With the exception of Dewsbury (which I enjoy going back to), none of the 'flatpack', characterless new grounds! Of the old ones, I had/have soft spots for Central Park (when packed, nothing like it), Craven Park, Barrow (warts and all, a cracking little set-up), Knowsley Road (fond memories, during Liverpool student days, of watching Meninga outclass the opposition), Fartown (always a sense of occasion, even when crowds dropped to a few hundred), Lawkholme Lane (great fun during Cougarmania), Mount Pleasant (a very good example of how an existing ground can be modernised), Station Road (faded grandeur), Thrum Hall (brimming with interesting features), Victory Park (such a shame Chorley never really 'got' rugby league), Watersheddings (a lovable dump), Wigginton Road (tight and atmospheric) and Wilderspool (another regular student days haunt, when Boyd, Tamati and Rathbone guaranteed entertainment - of one sort or another!).
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