“Woo! It’s snowing”
“snow, get in!”
A small selection of some of the Facebook status updates that we’ll all have no doubt seen over the past month or so, however mine were generally less cheery and usually contained at least several swearwords in one of many tirades against the arctic conditions that the country has been facing!
I hate the stuff! It’s cold, wet, difficult to walk in, and most criminal of all… the football fixtures have been decimated by it! On the weekend in question, I’d been planning to go to Malvern Town, and even arranged a lift down there, but at 11am, after a couple of calls to the club, then their match was called off, so watching the forums as game after game fell victim to the weather, the choice of somewhere to go seemed to be getting increasingly smaller until Coventry Sphinx confirmed their game would be on. Pitch more or less fine. Definitely on. No problems! Don’t worry. Beaten the weather. Bit of frost down one side, but it’ll be fine come 3.
It was a ground I’d been saving up for a night game due to the close proximity, but with time passing and little else surviving locally, then I decided to go for it, even adding the club to my Twitter feed to check on the journey down (how did we ever survive before all this technology!?!), but after getting off the bus and walking down the quiet residential streets towards the ground, only to see a stream of traffic heading back towards the main road, then it felt instantly ominous, and so it proved to be, with the game called off shortly before 2:30pm.
Situated in the Stoke area of the city, the whole local vicinity is dominated by a giant Marconi Tower that stands adjacent to the far end of the ground, and acts as a guiding landmark. The ground itself has a large clubhouse and car park after entering up a winding driveway, and this is where the changing rooms are located as well, with a fair traipse over to the pitch, some 100 yards or so away. The ground itself is part of a wider complex of pitches, including cricket, bowls, tennis, and even a golf course, although that looks somewhat overgrown these days. The Main Stand sits on the far side, with hard standing running around three sides. The stand dates back to 1995, providing a mixture of seating and standing, and is named the Willie Knibbs Memorial Stand after the clubs former manager who tragically died in 2001 when his car was involved in accident returning from an away game. At the near end is a bench, for those who want a sit down to watch the match and perhaps most surprisingly, especially given the weather, a tropical looking tree and plants to give the ground a warmer feel (maybe that’s why they thought it would still be on…!)
Having had a look round, and being given a programme (nice touch) then I eventually left, and made my way home, having a quick look at Highfield Road on the way, not that there’s anything left of it now.
The replay for the game is March 9th, having already been postponed once more since the original date, so with any luck then I’ll finally get a chance to tick the ground, but in the meantime, some pictures below.
Welcome to Sphinx Drive
The Clubhouse and Dressing Rooms
The Near End
The Far Side
Rear of the Dugouts and Willie Knibbs Memorial Stand
The Willie Knibbs Memorial Stand
Seating in the stand
The Far End
The Cricket Pitch Side
The Marconi Tower overlooking the ground
Coventry or the Caribbean?
Sphinx Drive Panoramic