It's Northern League Day and so I head off up the A1 to to the frozen wastes of the north east. Except it's sunny and the whole day is blessed with sunshine! The first game of the day is at The Glebe Sports Ground, home to Whickham, winners of the FA Vase in 1981. The satnav takes me to the ground with no fuss, except I miss the turn into the car park! A quick u-turn and I'm parked up. It's just a little walk from here to the turnstile.
Going into the ground you have the Social Club to your left, the only stand and other facilities to your right and the pitch's touchline length ways in front of you with the cricket pitch to the left of this. I turn to my right to take a look at the stand.
The Club name is picked out on the front of it in big bold letters. The "seats" in the stand are actually benches and they look absolutely brilliant. Highly varnished with the numbers of the seat picked out in white paint on them.
I have a quick chat to a Whitley Bay fan who is here before going on to their game later on. Just after the stand there is a hospitality building and further on is the tea hut with it's own sign.
This brings you to the corner of the ground and there is a thin strip of hard standing behind the railings with a further area of grass running to the boundary fence. The dugouts are also situated on this side of the ground.
There are four very tall floodlight pylons, one in each corner and it was one of these that I got my first view when approaching the ground.
I reach the end opposite the end I came in and when you get here you can see the slope.
From the top corner you can see the hospitality room and the cafe.
As I mentioned, this side of the ground is next to the cricket club pitch and there is only a railing running the full length of the pitch but no hard standing as this would interfere with the cricket pitch. It is also on this side of the ground that the majority of the crowd stand for the game with the sun at their backs.
The game kicks off in glorious sunshine and I'm not sure if this has an influence on the game but it is pretty dour. Whickham waste a couple of early chances with Washington on the back foot early on. A little way into the game a locals asks me if I'm with the groundhoppers and we get talking. Jim is his name and he turns out to be an absolute gentleman. We spend the half happily chatting about all things football as we watch the game.
The only goal of the half comes when a Washington bundles the ball into his own net under pressure from a Whickham forward. Half time arrives with no further score and I head off to the Corner Flag Cafe for a coffee. Jim then buys me my coffee which was very kind of him. He tells a few of his mates in there I've come up from Cleethorpes and there are also 5 hoppers from Nottingham in there too and we all have a good chat about the day.
To be honest the second half is not much better than the first but the time flies past in the company of Jim. Chances are few and far between and Whickham do not build upon their lead. To be fair, Washington do play better this half but also struggle to create too many chances.
Washington equalised when they attacked down the right and when the ball was played across the entire Whickham defence had disappeared leaving Brett Turner to turn the ball home unchallenged. The game petered out and it never looked likely that the score would change. Indeed, 1-1 was the final score. I bid farewell to Jim, a pleasure to meet you. Unlike my previous double at Northwich/Witton there is no desperate rush to get to Ryton and so I'm able to take my time leaving.
This has been a good start to the day and whilst the game may not have been the best, it's a smashing ground and the welcome as always in the Northern League, was very friendly.
More picture of the Glebe Sports Ground here.
Whickham 1-1 Washington