Bloomfield Road, Blackpool
Attendance: 1000 (estimate)
Match Rating: 2
I had wanted to visit Blackpool and tick off Bloomfield Road for many years, but being relatively difficult and expensive to get to from the south-east coast has put me off in the past. However, bargain £20.00 return Virgin train tickets from London to Preston, combined with exceptionally cheap football match tickets – even for a friendly – meant that this was the day to finally head to the Lancashire coast.
Although Blackpool South train station is much closer to Bloomfield Road, I arrived at Blackpool North station, to enjoy visits to Blackpool Tower and two of the town’s three piers en route to the ground. From the outside, Bloomfield Road looks an impressive and smart modern stadium, unsurprising as the ground has been completely redeveloped since the turn of the Millennium, and with the club reaching the Premiership. Statues of club legends Jimmy Armfield and Stan Mortensen are located outside, behind the stands bearing their names. Inside, stands along one length and behind both goals are joined together with wrap-around corners, are of consistent height and appearance, and offer unobstructed views with plenty of leg room. Hospitality boxes are located above the single tier seating, with a hotel located towards the outer corner behind one of the goals. Whilst those three sides are very similar in appearance, the remaining length looks completely different, with a temporary look about it and with a grey metal structure, and there are plenty of floodlight pylons along the front to obstruct one’s view. The club no longer makes use of this stand, presumably until there is sufficient demand for it to be open. A 24 page programme was produced covering last Saturday’s match as well as today’s and was quite an interesting read.
On a cool July day that was overcast for the most part, the first half was quite a dull affair for the most part, with gentle passing around - not always particularly accurately – for the most part. There was little between the two teams, with Blackpool looking slightly the better team. However, it was Bury who came closest to opening the scoring right on half time, when Kelvin Etuhu struck a low shot across the keeper but the ball came back off the far post.