Posted by: musinganorak | January 19, 2012

February 2011

So I wasn’t going to be able to finish the New Year Master Plan of completing the top 5 leagues in the football pyramid. I could, however, still achieve the primary aim of completing “The 92.”

The first Saturday saw me heading off for another of my missing Conference grounds – Altrincham. Unfortunately the footballing Gods had other plans and, after leaving Mum & Claire in Manchester, I found out that the Altrincham game was off whilst stood on the platform waiting for the tram to Altrincham. It was too late to try and find another game so I decided to go to Altrincham anyway for a look around. This turned out to be a good move as I found not 1, not 2 but 3 authentic Belgian beer bars in the town centre – within a couple of hundred yards of each other. Result!

The following weekend saw me take on a double header – one of the things that had sown the original idea for the NYMP. Mansfield Town had had their game against Newport County switched to the evening so that it could be shown live on some obscure satellite channel. I managed to precede this with a visit to Barnsley for their Championship encounter with Ipswich Town. Oakwell is a great old ground, and I got to see Harold “Dickie” Bird outside the ground before kick off. Unfortunately the game was a very average 1-1 draw. But it mattered not as I had now finished the Championship, and hence the top 3 levels of English football. 91 down 1 to go.

The evening’s entertainment was much better. The visitors started like a train and by the 28th minute they were 3-0 up. Amazingly a few minutes later Mansfield pulled 1 back, and 4 minutes later it was 3-2 after Todd conceded a penalty and was shown a red card. In stoppage time the home team equalised. It was one of those games when you definitely didn’t want half time to arrive. Unsurprisingly Newport defended a lot in the second half and in theend Mansfield couldn’t make the extra man count and it ended 3-3.

The following weekend saw us in Sheffield with friends for a weekend of beer drinking, but I still managed to make my way to Gainsborough for Trinity’s Conference North encounter with Stafford Rangers.

And so to the last Saturday in February – Bury v Crewe Alexandra in League 2. 9286 days after doing my first league ground I was going to complete “The 92” for the first time. Gigg Lane is a  wonderful old ground and I’m glad that I was able to reach my goal at a “proper” football ground and not one of the new builds, I’ll have enough of those as I keep re-completing “The 92” in the coming seasons.

I started by seeing Crewe lose 3-1 at home to Watford, I finished by seeing Crewe lose 3-1 away to Bury. Some things never change!

Midweek entertainment was provided during February at Ampthill Town, Mangotsfield United, Wimborne Town, Eton Manor and, best of all an evening at Kenilworth Road, Luton watching England ‘C’ v Belgium with hospitality thrown in.

Anyway, that’s the league grounds out of the way – I can concentrate on proper football now!

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