Dirty Old Town
It was my good fortune I suppose that Leeds United were paired with Salford City in the 1st Round of the Carabao Cup in this 2019/2020 season. Salford were new boys to the Football League having won promotion (their 4th in 5 seasons) last May. I thus got my chance to visit the Peninsula Stadium very quickly after their promotion to boost my "92" back to 91. Just that Tottenham Hotspur new ground outstanding for me now and I'd hope to crack that one sometime this season.
It's almost unfair to judge the Peninsula Stadium on this visit by Leeds; we took more than 1,400 supporters and the little ground, that has a capacity of just 5,106, was sold out! The stadium is almost all brand new, all four stands around the ground having only been built for a couple of years and it was completed in only ten months as the 'Ammies' rose quickly through the non-league levels. Their original mission statement, back in 2014, when the former Manchester United 'Class of 92' or at least six of them, bought into the club, was to reach the Championship within 15 years. Well, they've only got two more promotions to go and they have ten years of their original timescale left. The stadium may just about manage to cope with League Two but will need more dramatic refurbishment if they ever get to the dizzy heights of League One. The two Neville Brothers, NIcky Butt, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham each own a 10% share with the remaining 40% in the hands of Singapore businessman Peter Lim.
The main problem is the location of the ground; there appears to be no parking and the no-parking restrictions placed on surrounding roads by the Police seemed to leave nothing at all for the casual fan with a car. The Leeds coaches (of which as usual there were many) were parked along the road immediately outside the away turnstiles of which their were just two! Consequently it was chaos along that road and then the queues to get in were horrendous! And then there are the toilet facilities..or at least there aren't the toilet facilities!
For the 1,400 Leeds fans on the East Stand Terracing there was but one male facility, a dark blue painted converted shipping container that in turn contained two cubicles and two urinals! That might do for the average League Two travelling support if the Ammies don't get above mid-table but it was hopelessly inadequate for this game. Thankfully there was a steel fence just next to the container that proved adequate relief for the majority of the Leeds male support! The ladies appeared to have a similar container but obviously they'd have trouble peeing through that fence!
Those two limitations aside though it was a good night. Leeds comfortably won the game with a strong team including new signings Eddie Nketiah, Ben White and Helder Costa, but the Ammies put up a good fight and I'd expect them to do well in the EFL this season. All four stands at the ground have a roof and so even in the worst weather there is plenty of cover even on the terraced sections.
The Salford players come out to the song "Dirty Old Town" and the Pogues' version of this fine old folk song got a good level of support from the locals who all seemed to know the words. The song was written by Ewan MacColl in 1949 about Salford's smoky factories and dock yard where MacColl was born and brought up.
If you get the chance or need to do it for your own 92 just remember to go early and don't drink too much!!!!!