Introduction to the blog...

Hi, my name's Toby Wildgoose. I'm a 19 year old boy who's obsessed by sport, so much so that I am looking to become a sports journalist/media officer in later life.

I've set up this blog not only so that I can improve and refine my writing skills, but also to provide a platform for potential employers to view my work.

I have already developed a small portfolio of my work, with my experience in the industry including: written match reports for junior football teams, published work at numerous EFL clubs in a variety of formats, and work experience placements at Chesterfield FC and Rotherham United Community Sports Trust - to see my full portfolio click here: http://goo.gl/VWws3H.

I hope to post as often as possible on this blog about anything that is sport related. Please find the time to read any of my posts.

Any comments or suggestions on how I can improve the blog would be greatly appreciated, and I would also be happy to receive any other suggestions for work experience. Please comment on here, email me (tobywildgoose@gmail.com), or even tweet me (@TobyWildgoose). Thanks!

Start Date: 11/12/12

Grounds Visited


List of Grounds I have visited (Listed in order of visiting)

1. Bramall Lane
The first time I visited Bramall Lane was on the 3rd of March, 2007. Sheffield United drew 1-1 with Everton after, from what I can remember, a very entertaining game! I was going to the game for my friend Max's birthday party with around ten other friends from my Primary School. At the time I was only nine years old and the game would be the first ever match I would go to, so you can imagine I was very excited! With it being the first stadium I had ever visited, I really didn't know what to expect from the ground. However, I can now look back at it and say that it is certainly an impressive piece of architecture! The stadium is sat right in the centre of Sheffield and so, from distance, the ground doesn't stand out too much. However, the closer you approach the stadium, the more it begins to stand out. The stand that really catches the eye though, is The GAC (South) Stand as it flaunts the red and white stripes of the Blades, giving it a real edge on lots of otherwise dull stands across the country. The atmosphere, that the ground can create, is fantastic. I'd imagine that Bramall Lane can be quite a daunting place to visit as an away team's player. There's only one real fault that I can find with the ground. As magnificent as the Kop is to look at, the view from inside the stand is not always the best. I found that it is very flat, meaning that it's often difficult to see the pitch as you constantly find yourself trying to stretch above the person sat in front of you. The other problem with the Kop is that there are two main beams that sit within the stand and they can also sometimes obstruct your view. However, all in all, going to Bramall Lane is a fantastic ground and somewhere that I would highly recommend visiting... unless you're only going for a pie. In that case you could be waiting a while for your food haha!

2. Don Valley Stadium
Whether you want to class Don Valley Stadium as a football ground or not, I will stand by the fact that it's the stadium where I found my love for Rotherham United! The atmosphere may have been flat but I always enjoyed my visits as I was just getting to the age where I could really appreciate the details of football. The Millers played at the Don Valley for four seasons. These seasons fell between the years 2008 and 2012. The stadium was originally built to host the 1991 World Student Games. However, the stadium has recently being utilised as multi-purpose by not only playing host to the Millers, but also providing a part-time playing field for Rugby League side the Sheffield Eagles. The stadium's athletics capacity is 25,000 however, during Rotherham's time at the Don Valley is was reduced to just 10,000 because of safety reasons. The Main Stand is the only covered area in the ground, yet it does not cover both the upper and lower tier meaning that the majority of the stadium is at risk of being soaked! Another problem is that, due to being an athletics stadium, there is a running track around the pitch. This means that there is a fifty yard gap between the Main Stand and the pitch and so it is often difficult to see the action unfolding! Despite all of this though, the Don Valley Stadium will always be special to me as it was the stadium that really allowed me to fall in love with football.

3. Hillsborough
Well, where should I start with Hillsborough eh? I think the best start I can give at the moment is wow! Hillsborough is a proper, old fashioned football ground and certainly a stunning piece of architecture. The capacity of the ground is now officially 39,732 and the largest football stadium in Yorkshire. It is over three times the capacity of the New York Stadium and just the Kop alone holds only 790 less than the NYS, with a capacity of 11,210. As you approach the ground from distance it really does stand out from the surrounding area, giving a menacing impression of the stadium before you have even entered the ground. The impression of the ground only gets better as you enter it. The four stands are all, in their own way, extremely menacing. The Leppings Lane End is the designated away stand however, it would really surprise if this end is ever full for anything other than a local derby. The ground produces a fantastic atmosphere as nearly all of the noise created is trapped within the ground! Not only is there a drummer inside the Kop, there is also a full brass band that helps to contribute to the amazing atmosphere at each game. I would certainly advise a visit to this ground for any football fan!

4. Saltergate
I only ever had the chance to visit Saltergate once as Chesterfield moved to the Proact Stadium (then named B2net Stadium) in 2010. The game was against Rotherham United in a re-arranged league fixture on Tuesday 26th of January after the original game was postponed due to a frozen pitch. I was sat in the away area that day, obviously due to supporting Rotherham United. The Millers took the spoils after a late goal from Tom Pope in Rotherham's last ever visit to Saltergate. I was not planning on going to the original fixture. However, after my friend was skiing at the time of the re-arranged game, I was offered his ticket and couldn't decline a chance to be part of history. As an away supporter visiting Saltergate you had two options. You could either stand in the Cross Street End or sit on wooden benches in a small section of the Main Stand. My friend and his family had tickets for the Main Stand and so I sat on a wooden bench, which allows for a great atmosphere as the benches create quite a racket went repeatedly stamped on! The ground was very worn down however, I found that this only added to the character of the place! Saltergate truly was an old fashioned ground which could hold up to 8,504 supporters. The Main Stand could hold around 2000 home fans and 450 away. There was also room for up to 1,400 standing away fans in the Cross Street End. I really enjoyed my singular visit to Saltergate and would have loved to have visited the stadium again before closure. Unfortunately, at the time, I didn't have a phone and so don't have any pictures of the ground.

5. Wembley (National Stadium)
I've only been to Wembley Stadium once. This was on Sunday 30th of May 2010 for the Coca-Cola League 2 Play Off Final between Rotherham United and Dagenham & Redbridge. It was a closely fought contest however, Dagenham came out on top defeating the Millers by three goals to two. As you can imagine, with me being a Rotherham supporter, this was devastating and somewhat ruined the experience. However, I still enjoyed the day and would quite happily visit the stadium again. The stadium has a capacity of 90,000 seats and was built over five years (2002-2007) to replace the Old Wembley that had previously been knocked down. It cost £757 million pounds to build and plays host to the England national team. Since I was at the stadium to support Rotherham, I could either seat in the South East Area, the North East Area or the East Stand. In order to get the best view (in my opinion) possible, I decided to sit in the South Stand Middle Tier. In my opinion the famous Wembley arch was not at all needed however, after visiting the stadium myself I do think that it adds to the effect of the ground. On the day the attendance was 32,054 which made the stadium feel very empty as the capacity was no where near reached. The fact that the whole of the upper tier was out of bounds and empty did not help. Despite this, the atmosphere was still quite good and it was the highest attended game I have been to do date. I would certainly advise visiting Wembley but with the warning that if you end up on the losing side your day will be severely spoilt!

6. Pirelli Stadium
The Pirelli Stadium is the home of Burton Albion Football Club and has been since the stadium opened its doors in July 2005. The stadium has a total capacity of 6,912 with only the Main Stand containing seats (2,034 of them). I visited the Pirelli Stadium for the first time on Saturday 18th February 2012 to see Burton Albion host Rotherham United. Obviously for this game, I was once again sat in the away end with the option of either sitting in the away seats in the Main Stand or standing in the East Terrace. I opted for sitting in the Main Stand and was happy to do so as in my opinion it provided a better view of the pitch! The ground has four modern stands, three of which are terraced, with fairly modern facilities inside. Unlike most clubs at League 2 level away fans have there own bar and even more unusually you are provided with numerous TVs that show live coverage of the game. This means that you won't miss any of the game whilst queuing for refreshments! The ground itself produces a good atmosphere and is relatively easy to find with there being just a short work from the nearest train station to the ground. I would definitely advise a visit to the ground and will certainly be returning again myself to see if Rotherham can improve on the 1-1 draw from my previous visit.

7. New York Stadium
I bet some of you, whilst reading this, are now thinking that I've been to New York! Well if you are, you'd be wrong. The New York Stadium is in actual fact the home of my team, Rotherham United! The NYS was officially opened in July 2012 as the Millers moved back to Rotherham after a four year absence. In 2008 the Millers were forced to leave their spiritual home of Millmoor after a dispute over rent with the owner of the ground, Ken Booth. The Millers were then forced to play their next four seasons at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield. The club then made plans to build a new all seater stadium to allow a move back to Rotherham. The New York Stadium currently has a capacity of 12,021 however, should the club reach the dizzy heights of the Championship in the next few seasons the capacity can be increased to 16,000 seats. There are four stands within the stadium, all of which are connected to each other by corners. Both the Main Stand and the Ben Bennett stand run the length of the pitch and have a capacity of 4,000. Whereas, both the Kop and the Morrison Stand have a capacity of 2,000 and run the width of the pitch. The Morrison Stand (West Stand) is the host to visiting fans and will often look empty with away attendances in League 2 rarely reaching 1,000 let alone 2,000. As you can imagine I'm very fond of this ground with it being the home of the Millers and would definitely advise a visit if you get the chance!

8. Windsor Food Services Stadium
The Windsor Food Services Stadium, also known as Sandy Lane, is the home of Worksop Town Football Club who at the time of my visit played in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League. When I first visited the ground it was then the smallest stadium I had entered with a capacity of around 3,200. My first Worksop Town game was an FA Trophy 1st Round Proper fixture against lower league side Kings Lynn Town FC on Saturday 24th November 2012. The game ended in a 1-0 win for Kings Lynn who would progress to the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Trophy. For a team at Step Three of the Non-League pyramid, Worksop Town's Main Stand is rather impressive with all seats and a small secondary stand that is also all seated. To the left of the Main Stand is another all seater stand that is often host to away fans when the weather is poor. Then, opposite to the Main Stand are three smaller seated stands that sit behind the team's dugouts. Finally, next to the clubhouse sits the away end that contains one small terrace that will cover around thirty away fans from the rain. The clubhouse is also impressive and has a small balcony that I would imagine provides a fantastic view of play. If you're a lover of Non-League football, I would definitely advise this as a ground to visit!



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