Craig Getliff, Football, groundhopping, Hallam, northern counties east league, Oldest ground, Sandygate, soccer, Teversal, travel
Saturday 7th April 2012 ko 4.45pm
Northern Counties East Division One
HALLAM 1 (Getliff 88)
Entry & Programme Hop Ticket
150 year brochure FREE
When we put this hop together there was one ground that loomed large, Hallam’s Sandygate, as it’s the oldest football ground in the world, and the club the second oldest behind Dronfield based Sheffield FC. On the coach we were a little nervous about how long we would need to cross Sheffield, but the traffic was kind and we reached S10 in plenty of time.
The first ever challenge match at Sandygate took place against Sheffield FC, on Boxing Day 1860. This is still believed to be the first ever inter-club game. The club also holds the Youdan Cup named after a local football enthusiast Thomas Youdan. This is believed to have been the first cup competition and the oldest football trophy in the world which remains the property of the club as it was won outright by Hallam in 1871. Although lost for a number years it was bought back from a Scottish antique dealer in 1997.
The club understandably trades on its “Oldest Ground status,” but the visit of the hop was also the start of something new for the club. Having been left a sizable bequest from a fan, the club have built an impressive new clubhouse, complete with some impressive signed shirts! This game was to be its opening bow. Although this was my second visit to the ground, the thing I’d forgotten was just how steep the slope is! So steep is it that our conversation soon turned to comparisons with the infamous slope at Chard. That slope for those who haven’t been, is far more acute than here, and is frankly jaw-dropping.
I’d got the impression from NCEL officials that the club might struggle with the hop crowd. I had to sort out getting a team sheet pinned up somewhere prominent, and the club were surprised that Chris and I would do the crowd count. Both were in the notes to clubs, but were easily sorted out. I was disappointed that the club quickly ran out of badges, but the 150 years brochure was a nice touch and made up for a poor programme. All in all, the club coped reasonably well with the crowd, and our coach driver Godfrey was pleased at the excellent hospitality he received.
I spoke to the Hallam officials prior to kick off and they didn’t seem at all confident at their team’s chances. Right from kick off in became obvious why. Hallam played with absolutely no confidence, and unfortunately for the neutrals, Teversal soon became sucked into the malaise. The game was the quintessential nil-nil bore draw until, with the hoppers beginning to move towards the exit, Craig Getliff rifled in from just outside the box. A stunning strike utterly out of step with the rest of the game, but a goal’s and goal and we continue.
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