Archive for April 2007
On match days the fans begin to gather early, an hour or two before the game in the pubs and clubs close to the stadium. Unlike America we don’t have acres of car parks around the stadiums where people enjoy “tailgate parties” we gather in groups around familiar landmarks conversing and reminiscing of previous good years or bad times (replica shirts, of course, are a necessity). Here it’s the Companions Club on Bridge Street, Sunderland, where I meet one of my friends before every home game, we enjoy a couple of pints and then move on to watch the game. We get anxious about the result either of our match or the other games taking place this weekend.
This weekend we get lucky, we won on Friday and our rivals lost today, so Sunderland now get promoted to play in the Premiership (see my post in my other blog.)
Do you have a favourite sporting team who you follow, do you have set routines on match days?
I guess to the football fans in South Shields (who are split 50/50 between Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United) this is a bit of a “Roy of the Rovers” tale.
Sunderland were languishing at the foot of the Coca Cola Championship before Chairman Niall Quinn invited former Manchester United, Celtic, and Eire midfielder Roy Keane to take over as manager eight months ago, and now, in true fairy tale fashion the team is only one game away from securing promotion to football’s (soccer) elite in the Carling English Premiership. As the passion has returned to the club, so have the fans, almost 45, 000 were at the Sunderland Stadium of Light yesterday evening to watch the game against Burnley. Roy Keane has instilled character and a “never say die” attitude in the team without displaying any of the histrionics that we expected, as he stands on the touchline he always looks calm and measured, yet these are anxious days!
This is the first in a short series marking Sunderland’s achievements this season, this shot was desaturated, heavily stylised with a layer mask, and blended on top of the original layer in Photoshop.
Use the map link to see an ariel view of the stadium.
Detail from one of the (newish) houses in Coble Landing, South Shields. I like the colour and design of these houses which mostly have uninterrupted views of the River Tyne.
It’s that time of year when a little bit of warmth from the sun opens up the buds on the apple trees in the West Park, South Shields. This is my attempt at presenting a half decent macro shot, not one of my best attributes!
The Giant Panda
They live in a large enclosure nestled underneath the Metro bridge in Crossgate, South Shields, a giant panda, and an elephant. Nobody knows who feeds them, but they have lived there for a number of years now, oblivious to the noise of trains, buses, lorries, and cars!
I kind of like this type of public art, don’t you?
The White Horse
This White Horse was painted on the cliff face in Marsden Craggs, South Shields in the early 1800’s, it is visible on Google Earth. There is an entry in Wikipedia about it, but there is so much myth related to the tale that perhaps we are unsure of it’s authenticity.
Peter Allan bought the Marsden Grotto with money left to him by his father, also Peter Allan. His father was the game keeper of Sir Headworth Williamson. When Williamson’s wife was swept out to sea on her horse on Marsden Bay, he gave all his horses to his ostler, who painted the White Horse on Cleadon Hills, and all of his money to Allen, his gameskeeper.
Peter extended the caves to include a ballroom and kitchen, turning Jack’s house into an inn.
In 1848 John Clay, who later became the first mayor of the County Borough of South Shields, bought The Leas and claimed that the land gave him rights to The Grotto. Allan battled with Clay in court and was forced to pay £50 costs and £10 annual rent for 20 years. Allan sunk into depression and died in 1849 leaving his wife and eight children.
After Allan’s death his family continued to run The Grotto for an additional 35 years. In this time many improvements were made, along with further excavations implemented by Allan’s children. A catastrophic cliff fall in 1865 almost destroyed the inn. Large retaining walls were built to protect the internal structure.
It’s England’s day, our national day, the day of the birth of Shakespeare the bard, it’s St. George’s Day. So, why no white and red flag? Oh, it was there, but I’ve been reading in a lot of blogs today that people are hankering after an anthem for England (God Save the Queen is our National Anthem for the whole of the U.K.) and one of the suggestions I have read is for “Rule Brittania”.
Hence this picture of Brittania, she’s part of the ornate decoration above the grand entrance to our Georgian Town Hall in South Shields, she sits majestically yet symbolically as ruler of the waves with a stricken ship in one arm, a shield in the other, and a captured naval gun at her feet.
Opposite the town hall is a pub, where perhaps they might have celebrated St. George’s Day tonight, it’s called “The Brittania”.