Bradford Park Avenue FC
Ground Number: 227
Monday 19th November 2012
Bradford Park Avenue 4-0 Hinckley United
Blue Square North
As I was going to Rotherham the following night, and due to my mate Paul having family, who I also knew, up that way, it was decided that we would stay overnight on Monday and make a better day of it. The first thing I looked for was games on Monday, there weren't many. But one that I did fancy was Bradford Park Avenue v Hinckley United, so I pencilled it in for a visit. In the time in between deciding to go and the game, I also discovered that Bradford's club shop was another good'un, with lots of interesting stuff to buy. I had also made an unscheduled visit to Bradford itself, finding the excellent Fighting Cock pub, sadly I was not making a revisit tonight, but I will certainly be returning at some point in the future. On the day we had decided to leave at our normal work time, 6 am, to make the most of the 2 days. So after waking at 5.10 and having a quick wash etc, I was out of the house by 5.40 and after filling up with petrol, I was picking Paul and Sue up bang on time. After a fairly easy journey traffic-wise, we were in Sheffield just after 9 and so parked up and had a look around. I had a list of shops I wanted to go to and also a list of pubs I fancied visiting, as Sheffield is well known for being a drinking capital of the UK.
But it was fairly early and only just after 11 when I left, so I decided to give the pubs a miss. Instead, we went and had a look around Meadowhall for a bit. Sheffield was a great city with lots of good shops. The only sour point was the £9 parking charge for 2 hours 3 minutes parking. Between the 3 of us, it was not so bad, but still a total rip off. I will be researching somewhere cheaper next time. After that we went to our hotel in Rotherham, checking in at around 2.30. After a short rest, I was on my way again, stopping at Hemsworth Miners Welfare and Nostell Miners Welfare football grounds.
I had also planned in a trip to Wakefield, as there was a few shops I fancied looking at there, not least Ninja Games, a store that was supposed to have a good range of old games at good prices. But I was thwarted for the second time that day - the shop had disappeared, that said I did get a couple of old games from the local Cash Generator shop. I had time to kill so I went for a quick ha;f at The Fernandes Brewery Tap. They only had Old Rosie cider on tap, which I had had a few times before, but it was a nice place to drink, and they had lots of choice for the real ale enthusiast. After that, I went back to where I was parked at Sainsbury's and bought some chicken and other stuff to make up the £10 that I needed to get my parking for free. By then it was just after 6PM and was time to leave to pick up my mate David, who lives in nearby Liversedge and who loves football and pubs as much as me. The game was a good chance to catch up with a mate who I talk to loads online and who I had met before when going to pick up a laptop in Huddersfield when I went to watch Alfreton Town v Barnsley in pre-season. The journey took a bit longer than expected due to traffic and I got there at around 6.45. We were soon on our way, but the Sat Nav directed us to the wrong end of Cemetery Road, where the ground is located in. When I tried using another app to search for the stadium, it was another 20 minutes away. This meant we didn't get there until about half 7, meaning I didn't have much time in the club shop. There was a huge range of programmes there and I had a quick flick through but didn't find any I wanted as I only had around 5 minutes. Neither did I see any pennants, but I later read in the programme that they sell them for £1.50, sadly that was the next day so I had no way of going back. But the club were very helpful and I ordered one by post later on.
Bradford Park Avenue has lost 3-1 to Solihull Moors at the weekend, their third 3-1 defeat in a row after losing to Doncaster Rovers in the FA Cup and Stafford Rangers in the FA Trophy in the previous 2 games before that. Hinckley meanwhile, were having a rotten season - rock bottom of the table with one win all season and their latest result was an 8-0 defeat to Altrincham at the weekend. And tonight didn't get much better for them - after just 10 seconds of the game, they were picking the ball out of their net as they made the worst start possible. This was to be the story of the evening as despite Hinckley putting up a determined performance, the home side prevailed 4-0 with 2 goals apiece from Danny Holland and Tom Greaves. You can view a more detailed match report here. It was a good game overall and I had enjoyed my evening thanks to some great company. The journey back was a lot easier, and after dropping David off just before 10, I was back at my hotel in Rotherham 50 minutes later. We have already started looking at what game we can go to next time. Bradford City v Wycombe would have been great, but I have already given some mates from Hayes and Bath who will be playing that day my word that I will go, so I am hoping that one of them gets moved due to a cup competition. I have a week off in February which I plan to do a few grounds up North again, with an ever increasing number of targets, due to meeting so many decent and like-minded people.
THE HORSFALL STADIUM is not the best place to watch football, as it is shared with the local athletics club and has a running track surrounding the pitch. This is made up mainly of one big stand which is all covered and offers as good as view as you could expect from such a stadium. As mentioned previously, the club shop has a great range of programmes and old books as well as the usual club merchandise.
The Tea Bar has a decent range of stuff including chips for £2.50. By far the most I have paid at any ground, league or non-league. In their defence, they were homemade and pretty nice, but even so, still really expensive. At least I was able to get Sausage and chips for 50p extra, which wasn't so bad, as there were 3 sausages and a huge portion of chips. There was also a clubhouse at the ground, but I didn't go in, so can't vouch for what it was like. Overall though, a decent friendly club, and although it would be far from my first choice for a revisit, they are making the best of what they have and are a club with a long and interesting history.