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Stadium left a lot to be desired
FEW grounds leave me gobsmacked by their sheer existence but Gornal Athletic’s Garden Walk Stadium does just that.
Indeed, I’m not sure whether to praise it for epitomising what the FA Cup is all about in the early rounds or ridicule it for being unfit for purpose and bordering on dangerous.
Strangely, despite making St George’s Lane look like Wembley, Gornal’s home had a certain charm to it, something that only those who follow non-league football can fully appreciate.
Facilities were basic and information scarce — you can’t help but smile when a player leans over to the makeshift press box to ask what time kick-off is because nobody has announced the 15-minute delay due to crowd congestion.
But the people were friendly and did their best when confronted by an attendance at least five times what they are used to.
Yet, the ground would also provide enough material for a health and safety seminar and it beggars belief how one turnstile, which also doubles as an exit, and crumbling, weed-strewn terraces are accepted by the FA.
After all, City are being forced to maintain a century-old stadium that is going to be demolished next year.