Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Gateshead - International Stadium

Gateshead FC
International Stadium
Neilson Road
Gateshead
Tyne and Wear
NE10 0EF

0191 478 3883
Official Website


Matchday Number: 196
Tuesday 20th March 2012
Gateshead 1-0 Bath City
Blue Square Premier

After the previous day's game at Curzon Ashton, it was the longest journey of the 3 for me, up at Gateshead. It was not a stadium I was looking forward to going to, it having a large running track around the pitch normally makes the view poor. But I wanted to complete the Blue Square Premier league, so it had to be done, even though Gateshead are rumoured to be moving to a new stadium in the next few years. After a hearty cooked breakfast, I went back to my room for a bit, as I had time to kill.

I left the hotel at 12 and after visiting:

Newton Aycliffe - basic grround, fenced off in a nice park area
Bishop Auckland - Smart modern ground, opened last year
Crook Town - A proper ground, sadly I didn't get to see much of it as it was locked up
Tow Law Town - My favourite ground of the day - a charming ground with some very nice touches
Esh Winning - a basic ground in the middle of nowhere, again shut up so I didn't get to see much
Brandon United - Very high fences all around, so I couldn't see a thing and only got a picture of the sign

After all those, plus filling up with fuel (which took nearly 30 minutes due to it being my far the cheapest petrol station I have seen whilst away (140.9p for diesel), it was past 4 when I got to Gateshead. I opted to park up, walk to the Metro station and get a tram into Newcastle City Centre. After having a look around some shops to kill time, I made my way to a pub called The Bacchus, as I had looked on my phone for pubs that served nice cider. This certainly came up trumps, after a pint of Thistly Cross and a bottle of Apple Floris Belgian beer, I was feeling a lot more happier about having come to Gateshead for a game. After a short tram ride back to the stadium, it was time to get something to eat. I went into the local Asda as there wasn't much else around, plus the fact that I was running out of cash fast, and could use my card to pay. It may not be Gordon Ramsay's idea of a great meal, but 2 mini french sticks, cut with my car key and filled with tikka chicken went down a treat and were pretty nice. I got my stuff together and made my way to the ground.


After paying £14 to get in (double what I paid last night) I went and had a look round. There wasn't much in the concourse , a basic range of club merchandise and a tea bar. There was also a bar underneath the stand, but you had to use that before you went through the turnsile.

The view was not as bad as I had expected, maybe it was the earlier drinks putting me in a good mood that made the view seem a whole lot better than any other athletics ground I had been to. I had planned to meet Shaun Smith of the 100 Football Grounds website, and got a text from him saying he would meet me at half time. Some Gateshead fans were very happy to see me up there and we talked about old times and old games until kick off. The game was OK, nothing special, but certainly not a boring game. The only goal came through Jon Shaw, Gateshead's top scorer, after a long spell of pressure by the home side. They pretty much dominated throughout and should have had a few more. Whilst the score was still 1-0, there was always a danger that Bath could nick a goal and a point. They had a few half chances but nothing serious, but probably had the better of the final exchanges. In the end, the "Heed" fans were just happy to hear the final whistle.

I did meet Shaun in the end, at half time. We had a good chat, I had met him at Hayes just under a year ago, so I knew he was a decent fella. We watched most of the second half together too. I got away pretty quick from the ground, and made decent time home, despite a long stretch of the A1 being down to 50MPH because of road works. I got back to the hotel at around 11.20, having had another good night.

As previously mentioned the INTERNATIONAL STADIUM is not suited to football, being an athletics venue. It is quite an impressive one at that though, having an all seated capacity of 12000, with both side stands being covered. When there is a large away following, away fans are located in the opposite stand, but on this occasion, with it being a long away trip for Bath in midweek, only the main stand was open. The seating in this is quite steep, meaning that high up, the view is not as bad as it could have been, though it's still not ideal. I had previously been to the International Stadium on a weekend up in the North East to take pictures, at the time only one stand was covered, this has since been improved. They have also taken away a scoreboard behind one goal, and replaced it with a smaller, more basic one on the running track.

The other facilities a pretty basic, a small range of official merchandise and a typical tea bar for a football ground. There is also a bar underneath the stand before you go in, but I didn't try it. I'd recommend that you got a tram into Newcastle if you've time to spare, as there is a much better range of stuff to do, it is the best City in the UK in my opinion.











1 comment:

  1. Good to meet up again Russ. Glad you enjoyed your 3 day trip. Happy trails!

    ReplyDelete