Gallery

Towns of Two Halves is more about tourism than football, but I can’t resist the temptation to include a few pictures of football grounds in their contexts:

‘Something mystical happened at half-time. Through a gap between stands at a corner of the stadium, a red-brick industrial skyline with rooftops and a chimney caught the declining sun. The rosy glow briefly suggested Tuscany with town-houses and a campanile. And the temperature seemed to rise several degrees in the second half.’

Towns of Two Halves

‘When the Leeds-Liverpool Canal arrived in Blackburn in 1810 the local newspaper looked east as much as west, noting that only “the Corsican tyrant’ stood in the way of trade between Blackburn, Hull and the continent of Europe. “Not tonight, Josephine. I ‘ave to devise a plan to thwart the burghers of Blackburn.”
Turf Moor, Burnley, from outside two pubs called the Royal Dyche and the Turf.
Orwell stayed in Barnsley on his way to Wigan Pier: ‘The monstrous slag-heaps round Barnsley Main are all more or less on fire under the surface. In the darkness you can see long serpentine fires creeping all over them, not only red but very sinister blue flames’
‘Bradford City’s maroon and orange, offered in recent years in hoops, stripes and a chequerboard pattern, certainly add to the rich tapestry but rarely look other than bilious except against a team playing in all-white’
The other St James Park – the one without the apostrophe. Exeter City’s home blends in with the surrounding roof heights
Grimsby Town: ‘Try to get a seat high up in the main stand; if the game is dull, you can watch the shipping moving up and down the Humber’
Huddersfield: ‘you might go further in towards the town centre and follow either the line of the Huddersfield Broad Canal or the River Colne. Either way, it’s a pleasant approach to a fine stadium’
Middlesbrough: ‘the Riverside Stadium and the Temenos ‘butterfly net’ sculpture. They knew Anish Kapoor on Teeside long before London 2012’

 

“Orient’s ground… from some angles might be mistaken for a riverside development in the Chelsea area. But skulking behind a whitewashed brick wall at the end of streets named after royal palaces, it looks every inch the Victorian home of a fourth division football club.”