Turf Moor

Ground No. 41
Visited - Saturday 21st August 2004
Result - Burnley 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Competition - Coca Cola Championship
Attendance - 13,869

The past two times that we've played Burnley away I had planned to go to the game, but for one reason and another I never actually did, well this year was going to be the exception, so it was with anticipation of a new ground that we set off northwards.

The trains weren’t too bad going up there, although when I'd last done this route, when changing from Manchester Piccadilly to Victoria station I managed to run down the stairs from the footbridge only to see the train pulling away, well today was no different, the exact same scenario as when we played Burnley’s Lancashire rivals Blackburn just over a year ago. It wasn’t too bad though, I had a walk around Manchester managing to find ‘Sportspages’, which is well worth a visit by any football fan, picking up a copy of the Albion’s fanzine Grorty Dick which took up some of the journey, although a word of warning to anyone buying their main rivals fanzine, be prepared to laugh at yourself!

Anyway, with an hour gone, we got on the train to Blackburn where we had to wait again for a train to Burnley, that came along soon enough, and before long we had arrived at our destination.

It was getting on for 2pm by that point, so we decided to go straight to the ground, mainly just following the shirts on the way. It didn’t take too long to walk from Central station, about 15-20 minutes at a slow pace, and once there we had a brief walk around the ground taking pictures, making sure to take in the cricket field as well, which was an interesting sight to see when turning the corner and seeing an old style cricket board, pitch, and then a small stand packed full of Wolves fans drinking! I think someone had forgotten to tell them which sport we were playing that afternoon!

We went into the ground, and our first impressions were that we would be in for an uncomfortable game, especially after receiving a text from a friend who had said we were sitting in wooden seats. The concourse underneath the stand, is a very tall, yet narrow corridor, which doesn’t allow much light in, and with the toilets and food outlets looking ‘dated’ we didn’t get our hopes up for it being anything other than a cramped seat with a splinter up our backsides for the rest of the afternoon! However once inside the seating area, you don’t really get that impression. The club has evidently taken care of the ground over the years, and it does turn what could be a miserable, uncomfortable day into a pleasant experience, different from many of the identikit stadiums popping up around the country. The seats are not what you would expect either, but instead much better, giving more leg and width room than modern stands, and also they are of good quality, not what you would come to expect of most grounds, where generally speaking facilities are done on the cheap.

Despite the club having kept it nice, the away end (David Fishwick stand) is dwarfed by the more modern stands to its left (James Hargreaves Stand) and at the opposite end (Jimmy McIlroy Stand), both of which are good sized two tiered stands. The stand to the right of the away end (Bob Lord Stand) looks a similar age and condition, again being dwarfed by its more modern neighbours, but age shouldn’t be mistaken for poor quality, and the whole ground manages to fit together well.

After a display by the largest contingent of cheerleaders that I have ever seen at a football ground the game got underway, with the biggest surprise being the inclusion in the Wolves side of long term injury victim Jolean Lescott. If reports were to be believed, then he shouldn’t even be walking, never mind playing professional football, but our injury crisis and small squad necessitated his return. We took the lead early on, when Shaun Newton capitalised on a mistake in the Burnley defence, to nip around the goalkeeper and poke the ball into the empty net, but Robbie Blake scored a cracking equaliser when he went through about 3-4 of our players to smash the ball into the bottom left corner. Despite it being a nice bit of skill, Lescott showed why he had come back too soon, when one of the divisions former best defenders was easily outpaced to allow the striker into the box, also the baffling continued inclusion of the woeful Paul Jones, who doesn’t seem to be able to come off his line could have made a far better effort in saving it instead of keeping the angle and his near post wide open for an easy shot. The rest of the game was played out by two poor sides, who never really looked like scoring, and it finished 1-1. A fair result in the end, although I'm sure Burnley would have been a bit miffed at not being able to beat us, as we were so bad it's hard to describe. The poor quality of the game must have had an effect on the atmosphere as well, as despite their fans making a few attempts to get some songs going, it was a pretty quiet afternoon.

We left the ground and after a brief stop off in the club shop, walked back to the station. It was a long wait for a train back to Blackburn, but it eventually came and after a change we got back to Manchester without any problems. The train south to Wolverhampton was interesting though, as it was absolutely packed full of Manchester United fans, who we had an enjoyable time making fun of, imagine, a train full of manure fans coming back from the game heading south towards London, it was just too easy!

Overall it was a good day out, the game was poor, but it’s a nice ground, and well worth a visit by anyone, also contrary to reports, the home fans seemed pleasant enough with there being no sign of trouble, although there was a heavy police presence throughout, whom evidently did their job.

Welcome to Burnley!

Rear of the Bob Lord Stand

Turnstiles for the David Fishwick Stand

The Club Shop

Rear of the Jimmy McIlroy Stand

Rear of the James Hargreaves Stand

Main Entrance to the James Hargreaves Stand

Burnley Cricket Club

Seats in the David Fishwick Stand

The Bob Lord Stand

The Jimmy McIlroy Stand

The James Hargreaves Stand

The James Hargreaves Stand

The Jimmy McIlroy Stand

The Bob Lord Stand

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