Saturday 15th November 2014
Northern Counties East League
PARKGATE 4 BARTON TOWN OLD BOYS 4
Tea Hut Stuff: Tea Bag £1, Burned Bottom Sausage Roll £1
Weather: Murky mist turned to consistent steady rain, mega grim
Parking: Golf Club car park adjacent to the ground
Lots of groundhoppers have posted nice pictures of this place. Its got a good feedback record. Must be me, or perhaps the awful weather but it just didn't meet my expectations.
Driving across Yorkshire I was surprised to see that fog had set in and it wasn't for shifting. Thankfully things got a little clearer on the edge of Rotherham but it was still a grimy and murky dogs dinner of a day weather wise. As the mist eventually faded consistent steady rain took up the running and it lasted pretty much the entire game.
The ground is a bugger to find if you haven't been tipped off its on the Roundwood Golf Club complex. Its only open on 3 sides. There is a bit of a basic small stand behind the goals next to the tea hut and the turnstiles. A similar covered terrace structure resides just across the corner flag area from the seats. Further down this touchline are a few steps of open raised terracing which provide a decent view of the pitch from the halfway line (if its not pouring down). The far end has perimeter hard standing only. The out of bounds side of the ground is lined by tall bushes and acts as a partition to a lower pitch where apparently Rotherham United train.
It only cost me 5 quid in but this match was so devoid of any hint of quality or anything approaching even basic entertainment I almost thought I had been ripped off, it was that bad. Ok, incredibly, it had 8 goals but take it from me it was utter garbage and the scoreline paid little traceability to what went on. Normally the NCEL is a decent standard of football but this game never got going. Remember kick and run in the playground at morning break, well that hoof, boot and charge rubbish was streets ahead of this tripe. This turned into a mistake ridden farce where the misplaced pass and the wayward punt seemed to be the preferred currency. A lone voice from a travelling Barton fan echoed over the wet pitch as another ball disappeared into a nearby back garden "Come on Barton, we're better than this, its bloody rubbish"!
My mood hadn't improved when I had realised that some of the 54 fellow sufferers in the crowd alongside me had got in for almost half what I had paid. Parkgate had provided certain Football League Season Ticket holders a special deal of reduced admission! When one considers what these modern game football lovers are more than happy to pay to watch their heroes in the big league, it is quite ironic that stupid clubs like Parkgate then charge their own genuine core-audience and any other non league loving supporters almost twice the price? Complete madness and its jolly unfair too, sadly far too many money grabbing non league clubs are operating this crazy system. Just for the sake of snatching loose change they totally disrespect the people who watch non league football week in, week out whatever the weather or circumstances.
To rub in my annoyance at this pitiful matchday experience even more, the tea hut had already taken me for a £1 luke warm tea bag and a smallish sausage roll (the only hot food item on offer) which, as is expected in non league circles, had a burned bottom. Not really a pleasant afternoon, in fact it is my worst visit to a game this season.