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Oldlady's Ground Guide - St. Helens
Posted by southstander on May 26 2005 - 16:08:08

Old Enemy
by Oldlady

Following the demise of the old ground guides, when we had the apocalyptic server crash last October, we've decided to reconstruct the Ground Guide section.

On a week-by-week basis, for all away games this year, Oldlady will give us her guide to our place of pilgrimage.

We continue this week with St Helens.

St. Helens - Knowsley Road

This is going to be some match! After all the recent events who knows what may happen at this historic old stadium.

These old grounds certainly have the edge on atmosphere compared to the new soulless stadiums, even though sometimes we are asked to put up with unacceptably shocking facilities, filthy toilets, grime and decrepit stands. Angela Powers’ ground trawling assessment mentioned on Boots ‘n’ All will be interesting but we need to bear in mind such areas as the parking issues with which old grounds cannot compete.

The first match at Knowsley Road was in 1890 and it has seen many exciting games over the years. Wayne Mc Donald’s length of the pitch try is one of the most recent memories for me, but somehow we knew it was a bit of a fluke. That is certainly a better memory that the heartbreaking defeats we have suffered there, especially that awful cup match! We have seen all sorts here over the years, including one poor old chap flat on the ground after a heart attack!

The ground is in need of a good deal of modernisation. Many plans for a new stadium have collapsed in recent years. There are terraces on three sides. Home fans are very vocal in the stands on either side of the pitch. The main stand is mixed, mostly seating with a standing paddock area at the front. The other side is covered terracing. One end behind the sticks, in front of the Social Club, is uncovered and home fans usually fill this too. The other end is covered terracing and is usually full when Leeds visit. The view is OK but the steps are shallow so don’t get a big bloke in front of you if you can help it! At least you don’t get wet. The toilets in the main stand are basic but were ‘refurbished’ in 2002 after being described as ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ by the Chief Executive of the time. There are still’ portaloos’ in use as you go into the ground though!

Apart from Headingley, Knowsley Road is the place I look forward to visiting as the atmosphere with a big crowd is great. There is always good banter and the home fans are always up for a good exchange of chants. They did not care much for the sight of hundreds of Leeds fans waving betting slips after the Long/Gleeson affair though.

There is always a queue at the chip shop (and the Chinese takeaway) just outside the ground, but it is worth the wait. We have had really good chips from there and the portions are big!

I wonder if Mr Long knows if there’s a good barbers anywhere nearby?

Home chant... something that sounds like…’Snt ‘ellins, Snt ‘ellins St ‘ellins’… or ‘When the saints come marching in’ - very boring!

Reply chant... Anything with Rhinos in it again!

(Why don’t we shout for ‘Calders’ as much as we should? He hasn’t done much wrong this season has he? Poor lad!)

Best:

Place to stand... In the stand behind the sticks.

Place to park... We have always used street parking on the other side of the ground rather than the club car park or Pay and Displays and then walked in past or via the Black Bull.

Directions...M62 junction 7 on to St Helen’s Link Road A570 to town centre. Go past the Stakis Hotel on the right and through the lights to the roundabout. Follow signs for Rainhill. Take first left ( A58) – follow road S/O. Pass Pilkington’s on the left, continue to the lights at the Bird in the Hand pub and turn right here onto Dunriding Lane Ground is on the left. For street parking go past the ground to the T junction and turn right or left and search out a spot off the main road.

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