Gainsborough Trinity
The Northolme

Ground No. 173
Visited - Saturday 24th January 2009
Result - Gainsborough Trinity 0-2 Alfreton Town
Competition - Blue Square North
Attendance - 389

Founded in 1873, Gainsborough Trinity have a long history, yet their home ground, The Northolme, dates back even further, having hosted sport since the 1860’s. Trinity moved there in 1884, and between 1896 and 1912 it was a Football League venue when the Lincolnshire side were members of the Second Division before being replaced by their county rivals, Lincoln City. With so much history attached to it, then it was a ground I was determined to go to, and the match against Alfreton seemed a good choice to visit.

Setting off early, I made my way northwards with few problems, stopping off in Sheffield before carrying on through Worksop and into Gainsborough itself. Situated on the River Trent, the small Lincolnshire market town has a past almost to match that of its football club. If history had taken a twist then it could perhaps have ended up as the capital of England after the Danish kings based themselves there in the 11th century, but it was never to be and like with Trinity and the fledgling Football League, the town was usurped by the bigger cities.

The ground is based just outside the town centre, only a 10 minute walk from the Market Square, so I was able to spend some time there before walking up. From the outside, there isn’t a great deal to see, however after going in, it opens up into quite an impressive sight, seemingly far bigger than it appears from outside with the stands pressed right up against the roads. Coming in through the main turnstiles on North Street, then the first thing that grabs your attention is the Main Stand over on the far side of the pitch. A small stand, it’s centred on the halfway line with two tiers of seating, and most notably, a low, swooping barrel roof. The rest of this side is hard standing, but at both ends are reasonably sized terraces, the North St End covered by a roof, whilst away fans at the far end are left open to the elements (not that the ground is segregated). On the near side runs a small terrace that is fully covered and situated a bit back from the pitch, but with steep steps, offers a good view of the action from the back. Other features include the Club Shop, a small wooden hut perched in one of the corners and also the impressive clubhouse which has a huge hall with a stage that must bring in the club a fair bit of extra revenue.   

Having had a walk around, then I made my way into the clubhouse for a pint before it was time to kick-off. Before the game, there was a minutes applause for former non-league chief Jim Thompson but this was preceded by a rather interesting procession onto the pitch by the players, thanks to Northolme having two tunnels either side of the Main Stand. With all that over, then it was the hosts who started brightest and had a goal disallowed in the 3rd minute for offside, but they dominated the first half and would have felt hard done by to go in a goal down at the break after the visitors took the lead on 38 minutes. That said, it was a fantastic goal, on the break Liam Hearn, despite being forced wide, lashed home a half-volley from a tight angle to make it 1-0. Buoyed by this, Alfreton came out in the second half and looked by far the better team with the home side barely troubling the goal at all. They had a couple of penalty shouts turned down, but were able to wrap it up with 10 minutes left when Paul Clayton knocked home a low cross to make it 2-0. Gainsborough did hit the woodwork during injury time, but it was the most they could offer after a disappointing second-half performance, and most of the home fans left seemingly quite annoyed with a number of boos being heard.

After leaving myself, then I made my way home, getting back with no problems on the trains, with a couple of changes in Sheffield and Birmingham, arriving back just after 9pm.

Overall, it had been a fairly good day out. The ground is a good place to visit, being well developed on all four sides, with plenty of character to boot. Whilst not much remains in homage to the clubs former League history, you do still get a sense of importance, however they are probably operating at about the peak of their potential now, with the ground looking small if they did make the step up to the Conference, especially as there isn’t much scope for development. Despite that though it still suits the clubs needs and is certainly worth the trip.

Welcome to Gainsborough Trinity

Rear of the Main Stand

Main Reception

Rear of the North Street End

The Supporters Club

The North Street End

The Main Stand

The Far End

The Near Side

The Club Shop

Players emerge from separate tunnels

Minutes Applause

The Near Side

The North Street End

The Northolme Panoramic 1

The Northolme Panoramic 2


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