Thursday, 7 January 2010

273: don valley stadium,sheffield

(GROUND NUMBER 273)


Date of First Visit: 13th OCTOBER 2009


DON VALLEY STADIUM, SHEFFIELD



ROTHERHAM UNITED RESERVES 4


NEWCASTLE UNITED RESERVES 2 (Spear, Baheng)


CENTRAL LEAGUE (NORTH)


Attendance: 203 (or 4?) (‘The Mad Professor’ coonted them!) (50 or so Toon fans)



“THE TALE OF THE COCK-EYED COPPER DRAGONS HAT!”


The Gloucester pub opposite Gatesheed Civic Centre was mee forst ‘port o’ caall’ for a few ‘tonsil ticklers’ (John Smith’s bitter!) before heedin’ for the bus concourse where mee lift was from.





Wor meetin’ point with ‘Dave from York’ was a waaterin’ hole within ‘hocklin’ distance’ of groond, which went by the strange name of ‘The Cocked Hat’ and we duly arrived at the designated time. Within a few minutes the ‘Ashington Antagonists’ torned up (Glennn and Byzy) and Glennn telt us that they’d been lookin’ for a pub caalled ‘The Copper Dragon’ where Dave had telt them to gan te, but! they could’nt find it anywhere, despite waalkin’ in circles aroond the groond?.



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Dave then arrived with his side-kick Alex and explained that he’d got the pub’s name wrang and this was the one he’d actually meant! (he is an OAP yi na!) (Old And Pist!)


This resulted in a ‘domino effect’ response from the assembled saddos with various names to wot the pubs real name actually was, includin’!---‘The Cock-Eyed Goldfish Tavern’---‘The Dragons Cocked It Up Inn’ and ‘The Cock-Eyed Copper Dragons Hat’


(ie: Dave had ‘cocked it up’ ‘big style’ and we were’nt gannih let him forget it!)




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“WOULD YOU LIKE SOME RED SAUCE ON YOUR PROGRAMME SIR?”



It was soon time to gan to the match and up until this point we had’nt seen a single Rotherham fan either in the bar or on the streets and it was’nt until we got to the rear of the stadium concourse that the forst one appeared. He was an aad gadgie standin’ beside a ‘Pukka Pie’ stall, which believe it or not aalso had the match programme on sale for the princely sum of 20p! next to the Heinz tomato sauce bottle! (a single ‘A4’ piece of glossy paper with a red border!)


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When ‘The Mad Professor’ commented that he’d seen it aall, the Rotherham fan piped up---“Wots wrong wih that lad!?”, as though it was normal to sell pies ‘n’ programmes from a food hut! (strange folk theeze Yorkshiremen!)



Admission was free! (so there were complaints from ‘The Mad Professor’ and ‘Dave from York’ aboot NOT getting’ their OAP discoont!) and there were ne tornstiles to gan through (or to be seen?) and you simply waalked through a door and into the stadium concourse. The downside of free entry is that there are ne match tickets for the souvenir hunters like me Glennn and Byzy , but at least we did have some glossy sheets of paper to add to wor collections!



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We needed to use the ‘tool-shed’ and unbelievably the way to them was in near darkness with just dim emergency lightin’ to guide us. Some of the netties were locked, just to mek it a bit harder, but thankfully we eventually foond one that was open! (“oh mee achin’ bladder!”)


On wor way back we foond that some of the doors to the seats were aalso locked as well? and we had to waalk aall the way back to the main concourse to try and find a way in!


(so much for the Taylor report-----and this WAS Sheffield after aall!)



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We eventually foond some unlocked doors to the main stand seats (“horray!”) and as there were less than 200 hardy souls inside when we arrived we managed to find some prime viewin’ seats on the half way line near the back of the stand.



The Don Valley had recently hosted a U2 concert and they’d had to relay parts of the damaged pitch which was a patchwork of dark and light green grass.


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The World Student Games had aalso been at the stadium a while back and they had an Olympic flame torch to the right hand side of us on the grass bank behind the goal. (aalthough it has to be said, it was’nt lit for this momentous occasion!) (an insult to aall of us!) To the left there was a scoreboard and a big clock’ so yi had ne fear of not naa’in wot the reet time was.



Viewin’ matches in an athletic stadium with a ten lane runnin’ track ‘to boot’ is not my cup of tea (give me beer any day!) and it totally kills the atmosphere wherever these games may be, especially when there are virtually less people in the stands as there are players on the pitch!



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Rotherham were playin’ here of course because the owner of their Millmoor Groond some five miles away in ‘er!’ Rotherham (a scrap metal man no less!) was tryin’ to flog it for a few bucks and this was the nearest place that they could find to play!



The Toon’s team consisted of 10 of the 12 players who had played in an under 18 game at the weekend as many of the resorve team regulars were either injured or on international duty, which meant it was aalways gannih be an uphill struggle for us.



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So it was a great surprise when we took the lead in the 12th minute when 16 year old midfielder Aaron Spear (a very appropriate name to grace an athletic stadiums outfield!) stabbed (sic!) the baall in from a very tight angle at ‘The Big Clock End’


However the lead did’nt last very lang and the ‘exiles’ equalized in the 27th minute with an unfortunate own goal from Ben Tozer and that’s the way it stayed til the break.



The second half started off with loads of pressure from the home side and this paid off in the 55th minute when Cummins blasted a shot past Jak Alnwick in the Toon goal. It was soon 3-1 from a Warner effort and it was ‘game ower’ 12 mins from time with a raspin’ shot from Brogan.


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‘The Mad Professor’ missed the thord goal as he was wanderin’ the aisles coontin’ the crowd and when he came back he telt us that it was 203----the anly problem was!----he’d forgot to coont himself!----and he so adjusted it to 204! (believe it or not, even the ‘Ronny–Gill’ gave this as the ‘official attendance’ the next day!)



There was a late consolation goal from Baheng who heeded into an empty net followin’ a goalkeepin’ blunder at the ‘Unlit Olympic Torch End’ (“whey!”---“wot else could yi caall it?”) to give the scoreline a little bit of respectability!



To sum up---“We cocked it up big style”---as ‘Dave from York’ would say!




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©Fink (the mad-sad gr☺undh☺pper!)





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