The Onion Bag Awards 2010


Best Ground Visited 2010 ..

 To be honest i cant choose my favourite ground and we have 5 tied for first place.
Below you will see photos of the entrances to the grounds. For many more pics inside each ground  ....

If you have visited all of these grounds , please be kind enough to leave a comment as to which is your favourite.... many thanks,

  •  West View - Bacup Borough
  • Shawbridge- Clitheroe
  • The Dovecote - Shepshed Dynamo
  • Seel Park - Mossley
  • Victoria Park - Burscough
1st Place ...    Worst Ground Visited 2010
AFC HORNCHURCH - Hornchurch Stadium
Thought this ground lacked everything really and is not recommended as a tick. The welcome was ok and the bar was acceptable. The more i walked around this ground the more i didnt like it. The pitch is too far away from the pitch to gather any atmosphere. The clubhouse also was too far away from the pitch which didn't help as it looked more like a school trip as the players came out. The food was very poor tasteless and expensive. I didn't stand behind either goal as the view was very poor and too far away from the action. One Official i met was very kurt when i asked him a couple of questions about the stadium and team which was unwelcomed. Obviously the stadium doubles up with an athletic club hence the huge shot put/ Hammer net behind one goal and the sand pit behind the other goal. Poor atmosphere, poor match, tasteless and over priced food made this one ground hop i prefer to forget.
  • Arriva Stadium - Marine FC - another 3 sided ground but on my visit was restricted to only one side. So was unable to roam around as i enjoy to take pics from all angles.
  • Causeway Lane - Matlock Town - this was only due to being half built, 2 sides out of action. The other two sides were ok to be fair. Atmosphere lacked mainly due to the players walking a hundred yards from the changing rooms. The Matlock folk seemed a depressing bunch, and was awkward for parking.
1st Place ...      Most Friendly Club 2010
Set up in the High Peaks on the Cheshire/Derbyshire border lies this friendly club. New Mills was known for coal mining until cotton took over, but now days a decent club on a upward curve setting the pace in the Premier Division of the North West Counties League. From the moment i arrived at Church Lane, i somehow felt at home especially after the welcome given to me by John, a club official who was monitoring the gates until my departure a few fun filled hours later. Normally i have found committee members to be stand offish and somewhat "above" us humble visitors but not here. As soon as they learnt the distance i had travelled to watch this evenings match they could not do enough for me. So much so i was presented with a Club Mug which i thought was a lovely gesture and one i appreciated deeply, not through monetary value but because it was given with genuine sincerity, which is quite rare in today's world.

In turn all the committee members spoke with me and at half time i was invited into the VIP Lounge as a guest and new found friend. The night was very cold so a cup of their finest brew was most welcome, which also helped wash down a smogersbord of delights at the half-time buffet sponsored by Mr Kipling !.
It was clearly evident as to how passionate and caring everyone was for "their Club" .
I sincerely hope they gain promotion this season because they really deserve it. Even from afar i manage to keep one eye out for their results.
The fact that the match had eleven goals also helped the enjoyable occasion. We had a few drinks after in the bar with some great conversation. The fact that i also manged to miss four of the goals only added to a great evening and made me more determined to return to this very friendly club, which fully deserves the attention from any serious ground hopper or football lover.
 Full details of my Amazing visit to New Mills .... click here
Also highly recommended :
Known by many as a ground hoppers dream , Seel Park did not disappoint in any department. I was particually looking forward to visiting this little gem of a ground from the research i had previously undertaken. I arrived extra early in order to take plenty of pictures before the hordes arrived. The welcome i received in the clubhouse from those who were aware of where i had travelled from was most uplifting. I was even giving a free cup of coffee for my efforts. I met some really good people, Darren a life long fan remains firmly in my memory. It was his first home game since his father had sadly passed away that summer, the person he had stood with on the terraces all those years come what may. He met every game with renewed incurable optimism for his beloved boys in black and white. The fact that the club gave him the honor of a minutes silence only added to how wonderful it was to be in his company at that time. Again this was an excellent day but the fact i knew i would return one day to stand on those terraces steeped in history , made the departure a little easier.
Shepshed Dynamo 
The guys from Butt Hole Lane made me very welcome , we had a great evening. It was made better by the following for the opponents Bedworth United . The boys from the Bedworth Boot Room were excellent value and full of cracking little stories of their travels following the green army.
The Shepshed staff could not have been more freindly and helpful. This is the only ground i have been to the mens loo by exciting the ground walking 50 yards down a muddy road. A memorable evening was spent in Leicstershire.

    JOINT WINNERS  1st Place ..Worst Food 2010 


     Must admit it was so hard to choose which  was worse  they both won ! I am not sure if it was something to do with the water in Tameside but boy the food was awful and tasteless at both venues.
    At Curzon i opted for a Steak and Kidney Pie, they had no peas and no gravy so already i was not happy. I was given it inside a paper bag from the heater. The crust was dry and tasteless and i counted 1 little kidney inside a few little bits of so called meat - in fact i have seen more meat on a butchers pencil ! and to cap it all of little or no gravy, obviously it had dried out from its time spent in the heater.
    Down the road at the Butchers Arms, Droylsden it was not much better and was more expensive. It was obvious this 'bad boy' was from the same caterers. In fact it was such a bad taste i could still taste the tasteless 'food' some hours later, even after some trying to swill it down with a few cups of their awful stewed coffee. Not the best of culinary experiences.

    2nd Place - Hornchurch - Over priced burnt tasteless burger on stale bread all washed down with 'warm' tango. For dessert i was given an out of date Mars Bar. The only positive was the decent After Dinner Coffee.

        1st Place ...   BEST  Food 2010

    Whilst visiting this great little ground i got talking to some Barrow fans with time to kill before the gates were opened, i decided to join the queue outside the Fish & Chip shop just across the road from the ground. It turned out to be the correct decision as the Cod and Chips i had were the most delicious by far, i had eaten for a very long time. The coating on the fish was perfect, dry not greasy and tasty which complimented the thick cut juicy white cod. Seasoned to perfection with lemon wedges and black pepper. The chips were also just perfectly cooked with the exact amount of salt and vinegar on them. Sensible priced at £4 , they were so tasty and filling i have a good mind to return there even on a non match day !

     Now this was a hard one as all five were really yummy , all for different reasons. But have decided to split into two sections. Best food inside and near a football ground.

    Alfreton Town

    The Alfreton food was delicious. Tasty Steak pie in rich gravy with a lovely puff pastry, with perfect mushy peas and tasty mint sauce to add that little kick. The only negatives was too much gravy over flowed onto my trousers, the coffee burnt my tongue. The price was double that of Matlock's version which was also decent

    AFC Emley
    AFC Emley
    This pie was particually welcome due to the weather and cold wind. The tea hut at Emley is situated at the side of the main stand and is run by two freindly ladies. It was actually served on a China Dish with real cutlery - very rare to see now days at any ground. The tasty chicken  pie was helped with a generous portion of homemade pea broth, thick and full of goodness. With a generous dollop of mint sauce.
    The only downside was and empty plate but also having to return the finest denby china and cutlery to the kitchen, but that was a small price to pay !

    Bacup Borough
    Within five minutes of entering West View the Homemade Pie was the topic of conversation. The chap on the gate couldn't speak more highly of this culinary masterpiece "as seen on sky tv ".
    Must admit it was delicious and above all it was homemade. The pastry was quality. When asked to the ingredients , i was only given a shake of the head to say "cant possibly tell you". The meat, potato and vegetable pie accompanied by mushy peas was a big hit. The only downside being the size of the portion as it left you wanting more. I must confess its the only time apart from the Matlock Pie i had urges to return for second helpings. But the fact that it was homemade that afternoon makes it a real winner .

     1st Place ...BEST PHOTO 2010 WINNER  
     This photo was taken at West View , home of Bacup Borough. Set high up in the Lancashire hills, the ground just oozes old world days of non league football.My reasons for enjoying this photo so much is that the whole setting looks so peaceful and serene. The rain had relented at this point and the dampness actually adds to the charm of the surrounding countryside. The stand has obviously seen better days but is still obviously loved. The angle of the roof of the stand, together with the goal fully compliment the perspective of the stone wall which gets lower as it reaches the far corner flag due to the contours of the pitch. The nets behind the goal gently flutter in a soft breeze, whilst the past rain storm has left traces on the nearby rooftops. All the angles compliment each other fantastically all capped off by the rolling Lancashire hills running down to this cracking ground.

     2nd Place
    Taken at Shawbridge, Clitheroe. Rickety old stand from years back . The muddy goal area is protected by what looks like a fishing net to stop wayward balls from being lost. in between the goal and housing is the directors lounge ...All nestled in residential 2 up 2 down terraced housing with the spire of the local church keeping an eye on everything.
      3rd Place
    Seel Park home of Mossley is where this decent pic was taken. It is liked because of how it depicts real non league football. The casual way the fans just stand on the old terraces, mixing in with anybody. All set in sunshine whilst enjoying a dent game and no matter what the result they will return at the next home game. But if you take a closer look you will see a young kid standing watching the match at the bottom of the terrace, it is clearly evident that generational heirachy is apparant as you get higher on the terracing.
    Best Match Seen 2010    -   1st Place 

    Curzon Ashton 2 v Chorley  6
    Evo North Division 
    Now this was a cracker of a game from start to finish. Chorley were 2-0 up after 2 minutes ! Then after five minutes 2-1. The game quick, high tempo, and physical. It was also an excellent advert for this league.  Goals galore on a very slick pitch which was in excellent condition .

    Worst Match Seen 2010

    Burscough 0 v Colwyn Bay 0
    Evo North Division

    On a bitterly cold November evening i witnessed the worst game of the year. In fact i am not sure which team was worse as they were both lucky to get nil.
     Halfway through the first half i was thinking to myself that this game has nil nil written all over it. The first shot on target came in the 89th minute when a Colwyn Bay forward ballooned the ball over the bar from on the goal line. All he had to do was nudge it froward 6 inches ! That just summed up the the game.
    The only positives were the excellent peppered steak pie and the excellent ground Victoria Park is, allowing for some excellent photos to be taken. At least my journey home allowed me enough time to erase this very poor game from my memory.


      1. A great read OB.

        Out of your shortlists I'd say Clitheroe and Mossley provide truly superb places to watch football.

        I think Alfretons grub is courtesy of Pukka Pies (one of the best pies going, especially for a big supplier). Shame some clubs mark the price up a bit. You can usually get them anywhere between £1 to £1.50 in the supermarkets.

        Agree with you about Droylsdens pies, when I went last season they were crap, I think they may possibly be 'Peters Pies'? Curzon were associated with Greggs the Bakers last year, they may have changed the supplier but Greggs stuff was usually ok last time I had some.

        As I've mentioned to you before, I don't know what you were doing at New Mills to get all that free stuff but they obviously liked you? Mind you there is a lot of sheep farming on those Peak District fells.

        As for Colwyn Bay, they are a lot better than when you saw them at Burscough, it must have just been one of those days (like my rubbish game at Woodley Sports).

        I enjoyed your awards review very much.

        All the best for 2011 OB.

      2. Many thanks KRUGG for your kind feedback.
        I am looking forward to Where's the Tea Hut Awards f0r 2010.
        Happy Travels and good health for 2011 and hope to meet up with you somewhere.

      3. Some great pictures here. Can you take some more of the food for upcoming matches? It's something that never seems to get covered but most fans spend money on!

        1. Robinson,
          Many thanks for your kind comments, much appreciated.
          I will certainly do that for you. Wish i had last weekend ,as i had a corker of a Full English, best sausages ever !.

      4. I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable.

      5. Thank you very much Kitchens from Bognor !