Saturday, 1 March 2014

Southport - Haig Avenue


Southport FC

Haig Avenue
Southport
Merseyside
PR8 6JZ

01704 533422

Official Website
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Ground Number: 334
Tuesday 25th March 2014
Southport 2-1 Grimsby Town
Skrill Premier







MY VISIT


So, after the match at Cammell Laird, I was off to the evening's game at Southport. I had agreed to give my mate David a lift there to save him the hassle of getting the train. He's a Tranmere fan and mates with most of the Grimsby lads that I know, so I was more than happy to oblige. We had plenty of time to kill, and so after having to pay to go through the Mersey Tunnel, we stopped at a couple of grounds for pictures. Firstly Marine of the NPL Premier which was all locked up and so I only got pictures of the outside. Then onto Formby FC of the North West Counties League, whose ground had signage for Redgate Rovers FC, but looked pretty decent for the level they are at. Looking at their website, they now play at Burscough, ironically enough my destination for this coming Saturday. I'd actually visited Southport a few years earlier on a non-matchday whilst in the area. We arrived in Southport at 4.45 and with plenty of time still to go until kick off, we took the 20-minute walk into town and went to Wetherspoons for dinner. They do plenty of good deals in there and I opted for the Gourmet Chilli Hot Dog which was £7.29 with a drink included. The Thatchers Gold went down nicely and the hot dog was huge and very filling. After that we headed back to the ground arriving at 6.30, just as the Grimsby supporters bus was arriving.  I went into the club shop and got a pen, pencil and old magazine for about £1.50, before meeting John, William and the rest of the Mariners I know in the club bar.




We went into the ground at around 7.15 and after taking some pictures I took my place on the terrace for the nights game. Richard Brodie was the main focus of the Grimsby fans ire, having missed a penalty for them in last seasons play-off final defeat to Wrexham. His attitude throughout his career has been questionable, to say the least, and he probably could have had a career at Football League level had he been more committed. The fact that he is playing as a sub for Southport, having scored 1 goal in 14 games this season says it all. He even offered to fight some Grimsby fans on the night in a fit of rage, and then ran off when they jokingly accepted his invitation. The stewards were a laugh, encouraging the fans to sing louder and saying that they hated Brodie as much as the Grimsby fans did! They particularly liked the 'Full-Time sub - part-time club' chant. The game started brightly with chances for both sides in the opening few minutes, though Southport were on top. Ross Hannah's looping ball was bundled over the line to give Grimsby the lead on 9 minutes and although Southport had some chances, the visitors looked comfortable. The game was beginning to peter out, but Scott Brown equalised for Southport before half time with a drive from 20 yards. Southport for the winner around 20 minutes from time through Osayamen Osawe after a mix-up in the Grimsby defence.



After the game, I said goodbye to everyone and made my way back to my car. In normal circumstances, I would have dropped David back off home, but it would have added 30 minutes onto the journey and with me already having precious little sleep, I needed to get back. I still dropped him off at the station so he could get a train home. I had to fill up with petrol on the way home and this added further to my delay. Another 15 minutes were added to the journey as the southbound junction on the motorway was closed, meaning that I had to travel North and then turn round at the next junction. Despite stopping at services for the toilet on the way home, I was back at 1.15. I didn't get to sleep till 2.30 though and with only 90 minutes sleep before I was up at 4am, I didn't feel great the next day, and it probably played a part in me getting a stinking cold shortly after.


THE GROUND

HAIG AVENUE is one of the more traditional non-league venues, that are becoming ever rarer these days. There is a big main stand with a capacity of around 1500 and this is elevated so it looks to offer great views. For the home supporters behind the goal there is a large terrace, covered and holding around 2000. The rest of the ground is open terracing. The club shop at the ground is excellent, with a large range of stuff at small prices, and also old programmes. I didn't try the tea bar but the club bar was OK, offering the typical sort of drinks you would expect to find, in the case of cider, Strongbow. The town is only a short walk away and has plenty in it, making it well worth visiting if you have time.

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