|LFW Awaydays - Scunthorpe, Glanford Park|
Monday, 7th Sep 2009 17:45
QPR picked up their first league win of the season last weekend with a 1-0 success on their second ever visit to Glanford Park, Scunthorpe.
1 – The Match
A game that kept promising to spring to life but never quite managed it. Both teams tried to play football in the preferred manner with plenty of short, passing football and balls being played out from the back rather than just lumped forward. There were occasional flashes of quality too from Taarabt and Routledge in particular. However far too often moves broke down or came to nothing. Scunthorpe were lacking in several areas – they needed a quality central midfielder to direct them around the pitch and a physical presence up front alongside Hooper who was marked out of the game by Matt Connolly. Rangers showed brief flashes, and had plenty of chances to put the game beyond Scunthorpe, but ultimately they conceded possession far too readily to be anything other than grateful for the 1-0 they eventually went home with. Bog standard Championship fair.
2 – QPR Performance
QPR were like a sports car with a dodgy gear box – you knew they could do so much more if only they could get out of third. Having scored so early through a fine Adel Taarabt goal the R’s will have been disappointed not to go on and get more and new boy Jay Simpson had two great chances in the first half to do just that. Other than that though Rangers just got up to their usual tricks far too often – after taking the lead they lost shape for long periods of time, gave the ball away far too frequently, and failed to take advantage of chances to put the game to bed. Ultimately only the paucity of the opposition and fine performances from centre halves Fitz Hall and Matt Connolly prevented another late heartbreaker.
3 – QPR Support
Between six and seven hundred QPR fans journeyed north for this which was impressive for a couple of reasons – firstly there were no trains to Scunthorpe on the day, and secondly Rangers fans have already had to travel to Exeter, Plymouth and Bristol in August and of all four scheduled away trips this one looked the least attractive by far for those picking and choosing games. Those that did make the trip were in decent voice to start with but soon became frustrated as the team bumbled through a match that was there for the taking right from the off. Only in the final five minutes did things really get going again in the away end when, bizarrely considering Chelsea had beaten Burnley 3-0 earlier in the day, a good chorus of ‘Singing the Blues’ serenaded the team through stoppage time.
4 – Atmosphere
Similar to that of an Ikea warehouse – everybody miles out of town and technically there through choice but ultimately pretty bored, fed up and keen to get home. As already said apart from the first five and last five minutes of the game the travelling support was pretty quiet and although I know from experience that sound from the terrace at the far end does not carry down the ground well the Scunthorpe fans were almost completely silent for the entire match.
5 – The Ground
Scunthorpe moved to Glanford Park in 1988, the first time for 33 years a club had moved stadiums since Southend went to Roots Hall in 1955. The stadium cost just £2.5m to build and it is not hard to see why when you look at it. Scunthorpe have shelved plans to build another tier on the stand opposite the away end while they look into the possibility of moving again, which shows you just what a cheap job this was in the first place – a point further highlighted by this being the smallest pitch in the league by some distance and only just within regulations because they put it in after the stands and realised it was too small only when it was too late. At the time of the move Scunthorpe received big incentives from Safeway who wanted the Old Showground for its town centre location – of course it is now the done thing for supermarkets to be built out on the edge and where Glanford Park once stood by itself surrounded by fields and waste ground now it finds itself sharing one small roundabout with a pub, several fast food hell holes, a hotel, a giant Tesco, a B&Q a TK Max, a Next, a garden centre and so on.
The best word I can think to describe it is ‘functional’. The ground is the same level all the way round with a terrace behind one goal. Judging by the way the seats are stuck into the away end the original plans had a terrace at that end as well only for some spare purple seats to become available late in the construction process. It’s a soulless place really, and not even very easy to get in and out of any more thanks to the brightly coloured, neon lit heaps of shit built all around it.
6 – The Journey
No trains as previously stated so it was a car trip over from Sheffield, which should have been relatively simple. Should have been. Originally the plan was to have breakfast in Sheffield and drive over to Scunthorpe at about lunch time however that reckoned without my parents (who still live near Sunny Scunny) going away for the week the day before the game and demanding that my brother be around that evening to look after their many pets – dog, cat, parrot that whistles ‘Pappa’s got a Brand New Pig Pag’ by the Perfecto All Stars, several fat fish etc. They in turn had reckoned without my brother buggering off to Ibiza that week and then while he was there jamming the swipe card to his hotel room into his mobile phone by accident and breaking it. So on Friday night when I was supposed to be on a work social I had to instead sit and watch Rugby League in my house waiting for my brother, who had no way of getting in touch with me to tell me what time his flight landed, to pitch up at my door. That eventually happened after 11pm and we then we drove to Scunthorpe in the middle of the night. I left him to clear up the mountains of dirty protest left by the animals either through boredom or just for the sheer hell of it. After drinks and takeaway post match a leisurely drive back to the Steel City was accomplished without further incident on Sunday morning.
7 – Pre-Game
The lack of trains meant hardly any of the usual crew made this journey. The farcical arrangements of the night before were rendered even more ridiculous when Paul had to drive to Doncaster to collect people coming from Sheffield who should have been given a lift by us on Saturday morning under the original plans. It was then all down to the Warren Lodge for the Chelsea v Burnley game which, following as it did the drawing of the latest instalment of them v us, was lightheartedly referred to as a ‘scouting mission’. The Warren Lodge is a horrible place really – one of those big, edge of town pubs with a play barn on one side and a kitchen containing many microwaves on the other. It does however have reasonably priced drinks being a chain and in the north and credit to them for being on the ball with the ESPN subscription at the start of the season that enabled us to watch the game. It’s a better bet than the pub next to the ground in my opinion as that gets rammed on match days – although QPR fans report a friendly welcome from everybody in there which is good to hear. After the match three car loads went back to the original Loft for Words Towers for fish and chips from Scallini’s which were quality as always – third only behind Steels in Grimsby and Salt and Vinegar in Crewe that place – alcoholic refreshment and games of pool through the Man Utd Arsenal game and long into the night.
8 – Police and Stewards
A bit jobsworth-like. They seemed to have a plan to keep all the QPR fans crammed together in the middle three blocks which, looking at the tired faces in the away end and the empty seats in the stands to our right and left, seemed a little over zealous. We were moved from one block to another before kick off by a steward who did at least apologise and admit that it was a bit ridiculous only for that block to then fill with QPR fans two minutes later as the pubs emptied out. Still, they kept themselves to themselves after that. No hint of any trouble anywhere all afternoon.
Total – 42/80
Photo: Action Images
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