2014-15 Onion Bag Awards

 5th Annual Onion Bags Awards  
2014-15 Season

Best Non League Ground Visited


Workington AFC

Northern Premier League

As soon as you step inside Borough Park you can just smell the history of bygone days, still hear the sounds of Bill Shankly giving his team talks wafting from the changing rooms and the aura of the Busby babes just before the Munich air disaster nearly fifty years earlier. 

Despite its location a journey to Borough Park is well worth the effort. It is almost like a piligrimage to Mecca for it is that special. Vast open terraces with a beautiful ecclectic mix of old world charm and modern facilities in equal measures. 
The journey alone is memorable. As you pass by the magnificent Bassenthwaite Lake you will marvel as to what Mother nature has produced,for it is simply stunning.

You are assured of a memorable welcome by the Clubs Officials and their hospitality is excellent.I was most impressed by the excellent martch coverage service no matter where the Reds are playing, even on a wet Wednesday in Whitby ! - Paul and his collegues do a fantastic job. It took me a long time to finally visit Borough Park after a few near misses,but the wait was worth it. Hopefully I will be returning at some point next season … as long as they call me “marra” !


West Midlands Premier League

What a cracking ground Queen Street is. Situated in the Black Country Wolverhampton.The Main Stand is obviously the focal point and it is fantastic. It just oozes charm, beauty and .... Orange. Even more Orange than David Dickinson, Dale Winton and the Tango guy. There was even some orange coloured soap in the toilets. Whilst walking round to the other side of the ground if you start to get 'Orange withdrawal symptons' dont worry because you will bump into Bilston's number one and loudest fan Mr Bilston who is clad from head to toe in ....... Orange !

The Club has had an eventful history and in the last few years has had over 130 break-ins from the local recidivists. But they keep bouncing back, for which i doff my cap to them. They are determined to be an integral part of the local community , forge partnerships with multi-agencies, and host fundraising events for the locals who are more needy than themselves. Another eye catching feature of the ground is the Orange hypercube style fencing which surrounds the periminter which you can see from the from the Black Country Route Road. I would strongly recommend a visit to Bilston Town. Because like David 'Orange' Dickinson would say "Its a Bobby Dazzler" !



Welsh Alliance League – Division 2

 Cae Clyd is not the easiest to find if following the Sat Nav and is found up a narrow road going south out of the town. There used to be a stand which straddled the half way line on the far side from the entrance.I heard they 'borrowed for a while, before the Railway Authorities wanted it back. But to be honest it makes no difference to the beauty of the place, except perhaps those without a brolly when the heavens open.

But once you do find Cae Clyd, life is good again. For when you enter it is like steppng into a magical kingdom reminiscent to something out of a Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. For the sweeping views at every angle just leave you spellbound. For it is that beautiful. Except when the rain and fog appear it all disappears like a magic trick , only to reappear once it all lifts.

As you walked passed the changing rooms despite the rain bouncing of the windows you could hear happy celebrations from the home players . It was reminiscent of the famous incantations of a Welsh Male Voice Choir as if they just won the World Cup and 6 Nations ! It was fantastic.




Northern Premier League - Div 1 South

 A three person welcoming party greeted me warmly upon my arrival in Reception and the genuine warm welcome never faded throughout my stay. I was made King for the day given a personal tour and was asked on more than one occasion if there was anything I needed by the caring club's officials. They even informed the crowd that I was visiting the club, a classy gesture.
Just a shame that the match itself was one of the most uneventful of the season. As both teams were fighting for a playoff spot they cancelled each other out. The ground itself is fantastic and built for higher leagues. It was just a shame that they could not achieve promotion they desperately were seeking. But if promotions were awarded to Clubs based on their attitudes and 'fan care' then Rangers would be very worthy winners. A visit to Stafford Rangers comes very highly recommended.

Special Mention: Leek Town

Harrison Park and is one of my favourite non league grounds. Very friendly vibe around the club and the excellent staff could not be more friendly or helpful. It was a brilliant match in true FA Cup traditions where the 'underdog' came out on top. One of the best days out during the season. Such a big shame they were pipped for promotion but i am sure they will bounce back stronger next season especially under the guidance of manager Lee Casswell who does and brilliant job. Fantastic Visit.





Margate retain their trophy for the fourth season running. No other club came close to consideration. I have heard of a few visitors who have also experienced bad memories from their visit to 'Planet Thanet' during last season.



                      North Shields 4 Pheonix Sports 1 - FA Vase 5th
Leek Town 2 Boston Town 0 – FA Cup 3rd Q Round

Both matches were superb and very enjoyable. End to end excitement and fantastic atmospheres.


Kendal 0 Lancaster 0

Stafford Rangers 0 Spalding 0

Caenarforn Town 0 Holyhead Hotspur 0

Barnsley 0 Chester City 0

Hade Edge 0 Marsden 0

Only the Barnsley/Chester game lingers in the memory as the others were poor entertainment.




Mike interviewing one of his RL all time heroes

If you wish to find out anything about non league football, rugby league or cricket then no need to bother researching on Wikipedia , just ask Mike ! His subject knowledge seems to hold no boundries and is 'annoyingly impressive'.
Mike has written several fantastic books and his efforts in producing quality match day programmes is to be admired.
But what impresses me most about Mike is what type of person he is. He is always ready to help anybody , anytime. A fine quality by a fine man.




Warm Pork Pie with Mushy Peas & Mint Sauce

Simply delicious ! Home made by the local butcher , crisp pastry with very tasty contents complimented by delicious mushy peas and mint sauce. My visit to Railway was one of my favourite of the season. A damp late autumn afternoon , soggy pitch, two very decent teams who played great attacking football and possibly one of the best clubhouses in non league football. The Welcome by everybody was fantastic which capped off a most enjoyable visit and i will certainly return one day next season.

Total Matches and Grounds Visited - 75

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