Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Stadium of Bright

Yet More History

As I keep pointing out, my local football team is the oldest team in the world. 6 years ago, Sheffield FC moved into the ground which is 15 minutes walk from my home.

Although they engaged in ground improvements with the help of a grant from the Football Foundation, they only leased what was then known as the Coach and Horses ground - named after the neighbouring pub.

A sponsorship deal led to a re-christening of the ground. It is now known as the "Bright Finance Stadium". As first and foremost a Sunderland supporter, I call it the "Stadium of Bright".

The Club has now purchased the ground outright. This is the first time in its 150 year history that it has owned its own ground. So when I went to see them play Glasshoughton Welfare yesterday, I was witnessing their first game ever on their ground!

Game On

Although it was a fine day for football with top of the League Sheffield playing a team who had lost three quarters of their away games,this was not to be the type of dream result that we had dreamt about.

That expectations were high can be seen by the size of the crowd. At 385 it was over 50% up on the norm. Few of these came from Glasshougton as its average home crowd is only 50.

For 35 minutes or so, Sheffield seemed to be coming to command the game. Then suddenly, Glasshoughton realised that this was not a lost cause. A goalmouth punch-up in front of Sheffield's goal revealed that the situation was getting tense.

Jamie Holmshaw in the Sheffield goal now displayed fine form and was called on to bring about further top saves in the second half. It was, therefore, disappointing that he moved unwisely towards the corner of his penalty area in the 73rd minute as Glasshoughton broke down their left wing. Stuart Dove then lobbed the keeper to score a great goal. Expect it wasn't one of those carefully crafted, gentle up and unders. Under pressure he managed to crack the ball and clear the keeper at the same time.

Sheffield were now stirred back into action and after another 15 minutes, they levelled the scores thanks to a fine diving header by David Wilkins from a telling cross from Jon Boulter. Yet just before the end of added time, a Stuart Dove free kick from just outside the Sheffield penalty area rattled the crossbar. So we were then content to settle for a share of the spoils.


From past experiences, I would not be surprised if Sheffield don't end up signing Stuart Dove. It happened. for instance, after David Wilkins scored against us for Arnold Town.

Whilst Sheffield drew, their rivals for the top League spot Retford Town won 5-2. Which adds spice to Tuesday's nights six pointer at the Stadium of Bright with Retford themselves.

As I explained to our Club Chairman this is a clash which I am obliged to miss. Heaven knows how we will win without my will-power to push us on.

Although I have to admit that this magic hasn't worked over our past two home matches. In case I did not mention it, one of these was the last game in the 150 year era of Sheffield not owning their home ground, whilst the other was the first of the new era!

At least the lads from the real Stadium of Light won 2-0 at Barnsley as part of their current 11 game unbeaten run to move into 3rd place in the Championship. I am still on song for my two teams to win promotion this season.

The future is Bright - well, at least, the Stadiums are.


Tom said...

We can only hope.

Bob Piper said...

Sunderland are certs. I saw Keane interviewed after the match on Saturday and he looked as manic as he used to do as a player. Those poor young sods must be terrified to go back into the dressing room and face the boss if they lose.

Harry Barnes said...

The great thing about football is that whatever goes wrong there is always next season.

I did not see the Keane interview. Perhaps the pressure is finally getting to him. He left three of his squad behind in Sunderland when they failed to turn up in time for the team bus. They had to do some extra training instead.
Yet up to Saturday, all the comments that I heard from him were laid back, philosophical, words of wisdom. His new image was the complete antithesis of his old one. As the Sunderland fans chant -"Who needs Mourinho, when we've got Keano".