Sunday, 15 August 2010

Places I Have Been: Pride Park

Derby was the first Newcastle away game I went to without my dad. The second game of a new season, the first meeting of the two favourites for promotion, thousands of us packed into a terraced pen by the main stand corner flag. "Ooh aagh Franzie Carr" we chanted for ten full minutes, the din reverberating around the corrugated metal stand, so close we could have breathed down his neck. We only stopped to celebrate the second goal. A proper football stadium, the Baseball Ground was.

Pride Park is just a modern one. Opened in 1997, it's a ten-minute walk from the railway station, through a business park, past a Harvester pub and a Holiday Inn Express. There's an Old Orleans Bar and Restaurant on the main road, and a Starbucks Coffee concession next to the ticket office.

Greggs, Frankie & Benny's, Burger King, Subway Sandwiches - there are more big names around the ground than there are inside it. I'm not a fan of out-of-town grounds in general and Pride Park has no happy memories for me: I saw Newcastle twice here in the late '90s - both times we lost 1-0.

As for the Baseball Ground, it's now a housing estate.

No comments:

Post a Comment