Saturday, 21 February 2009

Grounds Without Games: Stirling Albion

"So it was with great pride that Stirling Albion moved into their brand new stadium - one of the most modern stadiums in Scotland".
A decade and a half on, Forthbank no longer looks quite so cutting edge. One of a rash of new stadiums handily sited on the arse end of nowhere (think Bolton or Middlesbrough), it's hemmed in by retail units, miles from the town centre but just a left turn away from a Morrisons and a Pizza Hut.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Ground 107: Olympic Sports Centre, Riga

An unexpected bit of Baltic football - and free too. Coughed and spluttered on by a crowd of around fifty, Latvia's Under-19s beat their Lithuanian counterparts one-nil thanks to some comedy defending midway through the second half. There wasn't much to interest Dennis Wise: Lithuania had a couple of mildly inventive forwards while the home side were uniformally awful. If this is the best of Latvia's young talent, the chances of them repeating their Euro 2004 qualification are about as good as Newcastle winning the Champions League.

Date: February 15th 2009
Entrance: Free

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Grounds Without Games: Viktoria Plzeň

I snuck in to the Struncovy Sady Stadion in February 2007, on my way to visit the Pilsner Urquell Brewery (virtually next door and much more appealing). It's one of those awful municipal stadiums built to accommodate as many sports as possible without suiting any of them. The capacity is seven and a half thousand, with the obligatory running track spoiling the view of the pitch and three out of the four stands open to the elements.

When you're a fan of a team as bad as Plzeň, the least you could expect is a little bit of comfort.