A BLOGGER from The Beautiful North visited the Hollingsworth Group Stadium for the Boxing Day derby between Airbus UK Broughton and gap Connah's Quay. Here's their account of the day:
WORLD famous derbies have been well covered and there are some cracking pieces on them. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to go and watch Boca vs River plate or el Classico but they all require a lot of planning. We thought we’d try something a little different and a little closer to home
Boxing Day is a huge day for football and whilst friends of ours were heading to various different football grounds across the country watching their respective teams play in their new Christmas trainers we decided to abandon our comfort zone. We were after a derby, something with a bit of bite. A quick scour of the fixtures and we’d decided. Airbus UK Broughton vs Gap Connahs Quay in the Welsh Premier League. A local derby – perfect.
I love football. I love the game itself, the culture surrounding it and the people i’ve met through it. But it’s a game that’s becoming increasingly contaminated. Ridiculous ticket prices and the draconian treatment of fans amongst other things are squeezing the life out of it, especially at the top end of the game. This, however, was football at it’s purist and I loved it.
We arrived at the “Hollingsworth group stadium” 20 minutes before kick off, had a little wander through Broughton itself and then headed in. To my surprise, there were TV cameras from the excellent Sgorio there. (Sgorio is basically the welsh Match of the Day. It’s well worth watching. Entirely in welsh apart from the odd English word like “crossbar” and John Hartson is on it – give it a watch.)
It felt like a derby, there was a damp tension in the air and steam rising from groups of people huddled together for warmth. I adore coming to games such as these, it feels like you’re at somebody else’s house for dinner. As in, you don’t know where the toilet is but they’re more than happy to show you. It’s lovely.
The stadium is beautiful in the way only a football stadium can be. It backs on to an airfield, part of the huge airbus complex, and has 3 small stands, flood lights and a burger van. We settled in a stand behind the goal for the first half with what looked like the main body of the away support (about 40 in total). Considering the conditions, the standard of football was quite impressive. 0-0 at half time, slide tackles all over the show and I’d had a cup of tea (6/10 – added rain water didn’t help).
The second half was better again, more slide tackles, massive blocks and debatable refereeing decisions. It finished 2-2 and the 237 strong crowd lapped it up. This mightn’t have been the Merseyside derby or Boca Juniors – River plate at La Bombonera but it was a real, old fashioned local derby and there was something romantic about it.
I’m the first to moan about modern football and I begrudge paying the prices I do to watch my team play. I’m not saying this will ever replace my team but it is out there and it’s well worth supporting the smaller clubs in your area. The non league day is fantastic idea aimed at promoting non league clubs and getting supporters of bigger clubs through the turnstiles. If you’ve got twitter, give them a follow and the next time you don’t fancy paying £45 quid for QPR away, have a look at the fixtures and give a smaller local club your support.