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Travels in League One

One of my passions in life, like a lot of people up and down the country, is following my football team. I support my hometown team and try to go as often as I can.

Now the actual football is not important in this article, no match reports, no scorelines, no football stuff at all other than the places I went to.

During these last 12 months, I managed quite a few trips on the road, and always tried to capture a very similar shot at each of the grounds I visited - now that the season is over, I can look back with some memories of my Travels in League One.

Hopefully, you might enjoy my images and some of the stories that go along with them.

Pre-Season - AFC Fylde - 2021 07 20

The traditional easy-paced friendly is always a good way to start the season and a 30-minute trip up the M6 is always good. Mill Farm lies close to the motorway, so very easy to get to.

The sun was shining and I was quite impressed with the standard and location of the ground, an excellent place for a non-league team to play. It was a warm sunny evening and football was back.

Mill Farm, AFC Fylde

League One - Accrington Stanley - 2021 09 18

Another local trip, again about 35 mins up the motorway and across in a Yorkshirely direction and tucked away behind the stone cottages in the foothills of the Pennines, lies the fantastically named WHAM Stadium.

Small and compact, developing all the time with a temporary open away end, with standing and barriers - friendly atmosphere, beer tents, and the sun was shining - I have grown to have quite a fondness for Accy now.

WHAM Stadium, Accrington Stanley

League One - Bolton Wanderers - 2021 10 16

The closest of all away trips, just a hop skip, and jump over to Horwich and to the Unibol Stadium for a cracker of a local derby.

The stadium is as much of a contrast to Accrington as you can imagine and we were housed in the top tier for the match.

As you can imagine the tensions were high all around for this game, and let's just say lots happened both on and off the pitch - certainly a game to remember for lots of reasons.

Unibol Stadium, Bolton Wanderers

Papa Johns Trophy - Accrington Stanley - 2021 11 30

A return to the WHAM Stadium was on the cards on the bleakest of bleak winter nights, a midweek away match in an absolute deluge.

I was pleased that the uncovered away end wasn't in use for this match, that would have been grim. Despite the rain, the sprinklers were still making sure we had a slick surface (ahem!)

WHAM Stadium, Accrington Stanley

Papa Johns Trophy - Oldham Athletic - 2022 01 04

Cold. If one word had to be used to describe Oldham it would always be cold. A trip to Boundary Park in January was always going to be cold and it didn't disappoint. It was freezing.

It was really sad to see a club that has a great recent history, to be in decline and clearly suffering so much just now. We had turnstiles not open on time, a really sad beer/food stall, and then a pitch invasion to protest against the owners of the club.

Actually, change Cold as the word. Disarray should be the one. Very sad.

Boundary Park, Oldham Athletic

League One - Morecambe - 2022 01 18

Back to the classic lower league ground this time, for another cold trip up the northwest coast to the Mazuma Stadium - three sides fairly well developed and one very strange side indeed with all sorts of architectural stuff going on.

This match is particularly remembered in our group for the lad who spent most of the game being sick on the terrace, which is not what you need.

Mazuma Stadium, Morecambe

FA Cup Fourth Round - Stoke City - 2022 02 05

The FA Cup is such a special tournament and it brings out all kinds of emotions for supporters and this match was no different.

The Bet365 Stadium is probably 80 mins or so away and is a partly enclosed and partly open stadium which always seems a bit odd - however, the facilities were great on the concourse and everyone was certainly enjoying themselves.

Bet 365 Stadium, Stoke City

League One - Sheffield Wednesday - 2022 02 08

At the start of the year, this was a trip I wanted to make, to a real football stadium with credibility and history, not all good of course, but a stadium that everyone should visit.

Hillsborough Stadium was ready for us and we arrived 7 mins before kick-off due to traffic issues all the way over on the M62 - it was a bit of a rush, but we took our seats just as the teams were coming out.

Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield Wednesday

League One - Rotherham United - 2022 02 18

This was one of my favourite stadiums out of all the ones we visited, even if the name is a bit of a mouthful - AESSEAL New York Stadium. Enclosed and fit for purpose, a great asset.

The trip over and match itself was 50/50 all day, as Storm Eunice rattled and battered the UK, but on a very windy and desolate M62, we made our way over and settled down for a battling game of football in the conditions

AESSEAL New York Stadium, Rotherham United

League One - Wycombe Wanderers - 2022 02 22

Coming just a few days after the Rotherham trip, we faced a long old midweek journey to Adams Park.

It's a funny old place located in a funny old place.

One decent large stand and three small stands with a small narrow players tunnel situated at the very end of a large industrial estate, surrounded by trees and a big hill. It just seemed very weird.

Again, we arrived pretty late in the day with around 15 mins to spare but were ready for the match to begin.

Adams Park, Wycombe Wanderers

League One - MK Dons - 2022 03 12

Now Stadium MK is quite something.

Modern with fantastic spacious facilities, this was probably the most impressive of the grounds I visited - we had a good run down on a bright sunny day and arrived in time for a few beers.

The pre-match stuff was a bit odd but other than that all very impressive - they even had a Papa John's outlet in the home end.

Stadium MK, MK Dons

League One - Lincoln City - 2022 04 09

I have watched football for many years now and Lincoln City's ground for me was always Sincil Bank, and therefore it was great to actually walk along the small passageway that is Sincil Bank. Right next to the river and behind the main stand.

The stadium is now called the LNER Stadium and again one large stand, two smaller ones and one side with three different types of construction - that side along with Morecambe were the two oddest of the year.

LNER Stadium, Lincoln City

League One - Burton Albion 2022 04 12

The tale of the closed motorway junction. But more about that later.

About 1hr 45mins away should have been an easy trip, but the travel gods conspired against us, first getting the wrong turn into Stoke and then completing several loops before disembarking at the Pirelli Stadium into the pouring rain.

But, another really nice little ground for a lower league club - modern, easy to access, and great views all around.

The return had us at the M6 only to find the junction closed for overnight work, meaning a southbound hour delayed trip down and back to end the evening.

Pirelli Stadium, Burton Albion

League One - Ipswich Town - 2022 04 19

The Epic Trip.

Midweek down to Portman Road was always going to test my abilities and sure enough the slog to my final away game did not disappoint.

The ground was full of history and football royalty, from Alf Ramsey to the Bobby Robson statue outside - in the end, it was well worth the adventure.

Getting home at 3 am was the trade-off, but yes, it was a great stadium to visit.

Portman Road, Ipswich Town

League One is a league full of contrasts, from big teams who have fallen from grace with huge cavernous stadiums, down to up-and-coming small community clubs - there is something for everyone.

We had a great year following our football club up and down the land and if you can get behind your local team, no matter what level they play at then that is the right thing to do.


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