Monday, 9 April 2012

Scunthorpe United - Glanford Park

6th April 2012

Scunthorpe United 1-0 Exeter City

I had long harboured a desire to visit Glanford Park – since first seeing it pictured in one of the early editions of the Aerofilms Football Grounds Guides, where it looked like nothing so much as a large Victory V lozenge placed incongruously in the middle of a field out in the verdant Lincolnshire countryside.  I know now, that it was actually sited just on the outskirts of Scunthorpe, and that subsequent developments around the site have brought the stadium into the body of the kirk (as we say up here), but it did look a unique and inviting place – certainly from the air.

The other thing I liked about it was the fact someone had appreciated that atmosphere just leaks out of the open corners of football grounds, so had consequently chosen to build what was, to all intents and purposes really, a single structure all the way round the pitch.  OK, so the decision not to use cantilevered roofs resulted in pillars obstructing the view from some seats, but I can live with the occasional pillar given the atmospheric benefits an enclosed arena brings.  As evidenced this afternoon, where the modest attendance of 4300 made as much din as twice that number would do in an open corner venue, such as St Mirren’s new ‘un.

Scunthorpe United's nickname provides an irresistable opportunity
for the best social club name ever. 

Rear view of the Scunthorpe Telegraph stand.

Glanford Park, Scunthorpe.

The Rainham Steel Stand exterior

As to the game itself, I regret to relate the first hour represented quite the dullest encounter I have witnessed in some time.  Exeter’s Jamie Cureton and Lauri Dalla Valle both beavered away tirelessly, without quite getting the break their industry deserved, but the home attack looked rudderless and utterly bereft of ideas.

However, around the hour mark, the Scunthorpe midfield began inexorably to take control of proceedings, and opportunities began to arise with alarming regularity in and around the Exeter penalty box.  Josh Walker hit the crossbar, Jimmy Ryan a post, and there were a couple of goalmouth scrambles where the home lot contrived to miss, when scoring looked by far the simpler option…..and as time ticked on, things began to take the appearance of a “One of those Days”, for the Iron.  Then came along one of those instances which just goes to show I know absolutely nothing about football. 

During the first-half Son & I had watched the home substitutes occasionally warming-up and had commented upon the height and (lets be honest here) girth of one of them – the bearded Jon Parkin.  Well, Parkin came on with around 15 minutes to go, and looked like the proverbial Bull in a China Shop.  He was able to chest the ball farther than some of his team-mates could safely pass it, and one of his first touches, an attempt to sweep the ball out in the direction of Ryan on the Iron left, was shanked (with a Number 9 Iron?) to such a degree that I for a moment doubted if the ball would ever come back down.  What a donkey, I thought.

And then, three minutes later (just to spite me), PARKIN bashed in the winner with his first opportunity of the match – although I doubt if Exeter ‘keeper Artur Krysiak would have stayed up late to watch his attempted save replayed on that evening’s Football League Show.

So in summary: a tedious first hour, followed by 30 minutes of exciting if slightly one-way traffic.  Although, actually, the fun did not quite halt at full-time; for whilst waiting in the traffic to leave Glanford Park, Son & I were treated to a rather entertaining vignette

A group of half-a-dozen or so teenaged home fans decided to stand at the roadside and taunt the occupants of the departing Exeter supporters’ coaches.  What they boys failed to notice was that directly behind the two coaches were two minibuses also on their way back to Devon.  And all it took was for one middle aged Exeter fan to wind down his window and snarl at the boys for them all to turn tail and flee like startled rabbits.  A passenger in the second minibus went a step further by getting out of his vehicle to have a rare old rant at the departing lads, spitting clods of semi-masticated sandwich in the process. 

Great Fun.     

Exeter defend a first-half corner.

One bored Son:  "Can we go to Old Trafford yet?"

The redoubtable Mr Parkin.

Just when you begin to think you have seen everything at a football match
...............along comes an Egg & Spoon race.

Iron miss #1
Iron miss #2

Iron miss #3

The terraced area in the Rainham Steel Stand.

Panorama of Glanford Park, Scunthorpe.


  1. Great read pal! Glad the game came good eventually for a neutral prospective!

  2. Again I'm contained in my southerly bubble and should be ironically going to Exeter in a few weeks time. Great report and I just love the photos that give the reader a true match experience without being there.