Scunthorpe United
Glanford Park

Ground No. 92
Visited - Saturday 29th April 2006
Result - Scunthorpe United 1-0 Blackpool
Competition - Coca-Cola League 1
Attendance - 5917

As usual, the final day fixtures for the Championship were moved to the Sunday, leaving me with a free Saturday to visit a new ground. After looking down the fixture lists, the one game that stood out was Scunthorpe vs Blackpool. I had planned to go to Glanford Park earlier in the season, but with heavy snow forcing a postponement, it meant that I’d had to go elsewhere, so with the sun out in force, and summer on its way, then this seemed as good a time as any to travel up to North Lincolnshire.

I’d decided to set out early, given the length of the journey being a fair bit longer than expected, so after a change in Birmingham and Sheffield, it was just gone 10:30am when I finally arrived into Scunthorpe, leaving the station and going up to the ground.

Despite being right on the edge of town, you don’t quite get the impression of it being a typical ‘out of town ground’ like say Reading or Wycombe, as surrounded by houses and a retail development, there isn’t any countryside to see when walking there from the station/town centre, so that was a nice surprise. After passing through the retail park, and past the nicely designed gates and ‘arch’ you come to the ground, which is set a fair way back from the main road.

It’s no secret that the ground attracts a lot of criticism for its rather basic design, but when walking around, I couldn’t help but liking it. From the outside, the Scunthorpe Telegraph Stand is the most interesting to look at, with an attractive extension built onto the side of the existing stand. The other three sides are slightly monotonous, with there being little to distract away from the breeze blocks and sheet metal, but they could certainly be worse. Unusually, the four floodlight pylons are on the outside of the ground, set a few feet back from the perimeter wall.

After finding an open gate, and checking with security inside, I was able to walk all around taking a few pictures, and inside, like with the outside, despite being fairly basic compared to many grounds, I did quite like it. All four sides are of the same height, with the roof being a continuous structure, covering the empty corners. At one end is the Caparo Merchant Bar Stand, which was all-seated, and featured 13 rows of seats, that offered slightly restricted views, thanks to the supporting pillars. Both side stands were of the same design, with 13 rows of seats restricted by more pillars. The only difference between these two was a row of executive boxes at the back of the Telegraph Stand, and also the players tunnel, situated on the halfway line. The home end of the ground was slightly different in that, although it was the same size as the others, with a number of supporting pillars, it was all terracing, with some interesting looking crush barriers.

After having taken enough pictures, it was off round to the club shop, to buy a badge, and get a ticket, before going back to the town centre to spend a few hours. On the way, I passed the site of the clubs former home, The Old Show Ground, which sadly is now a Sainsbury’s.

With it approaching 2pm, it was time to head back to the ground, so after walking back up the Doncaster Road, it didn’t take too long to reach the now buzzing retail park and ground. I’d chosen to stand in the Study United Stand, so didn’t have long to walk, with the stand being nearest to the main road. After entering the ground at 2:35pm, the home end was already reasonably full, so after finding a place to stand, the game eventually started.

The week previously, Scunthorpe had secured their place in League One, but Blackpool were still trying to avoid relegation, so when the game began, the match reflected the two sides positions with the hosts forcing a number of early free-kicks in the Blackpool half. They could have taken the lead in the 20th minute, after a good move resulted in a diving header from Billy Sharp going just wide, but unfortunately, that was about as exciting as it got. Neither side really had much going for them in the final third, and with the Scunthorpe players understandably taking it easy, at half-time, the scores still stood at 0-0.

In the second half, it was much the same, with Blackpool on the back foot, and goalkeeper Lee Jones forced into a few saves. Most of the half was played out with the tempo of a pre-season friendly, until the last 10 minutes, when Scunthorpe seemed to step up a gear, and mount a sustained attack on the visitors goal. Billy Sharp went close, and just when it looked like it might end up as a draw, the home side eventually got the goal that they deserved. After getting forward well, Peter Beagrie was able to drag the ball back across the box, where Sharp again was there for a simple tap-in. The last gasp winner saw a mini-pitch invasion, although not by celebrating Scunthorpe fans, but by a number of idiots in the Blackpool end, who were quickly chased back to the stand by police and stewards, with a few being arrested on the spot.

Following the goal, there was a short amount of added time to be played out, but that soon finished, with the home fans happy at having secured a win. Throughout the game, there hadn’t really been a great atmosphere, but with the players treating the match like a friendly, it wasn’t so surprising. As expected, other than the pitch invasion, there hadn’t been any sign of trouble, except from the stewards in the away end. One of the reasons that I’d chosen to stand in the Study United Stand was because of a few bad reports from visiting fans about the stewards, and from the other end, they certainly seemed to be keeping themselves busy by pestering the Blackpool supporters!

After staying to see the lap of honour by the players, I eventually left the ground, and made my way back to the station for the train homewards, happy at having made the trip.

Overall, I quite liked the ground. I’m not usually a fan of the new stadiums, but with the more traditional straight lines, and mixture of seats and terracing, Glanford Park was quite different from most of the boring bowls built today. It also quite reminded me of how Walsall’s Bescot Stadium looked prior to them ruining it with the building of the Floors-2-Go Stand. It might not be a ground that I’d like to visit every other week, but it certainly isn’t as bad as its reputation.

Welcome to Glanford Park

The Iron

Rear of the Study United Stand

Rear of the Scunthorpe Telegraph Stand

Rear of the Caparo Merchant Bar Stand

Rear of the Grove Wharf Stand

Players Tunnel

The Scunthorpe Telegraph Stand

The Study United Stand

The Grove Wharf Stand

The Caparo Merchant Bar Stand

The Grove Wharf Stand

The Caparo Merchant Bar Stand

The Scunthorpe Telegraph Stand

Glanford Park Panoramic

Site of the Old Show Ground

The Sainsbury's store that now occupies it

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